A touchdown on the Auburn’s first offensive play set the tone Saturday in the Tigers’ 56-23 dismantling of Mississippi State at sold-out Jordan-Hare Stadium.
“I’m really excited about the win tonight,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. “The way the game started, our fans were electric and really got into the game and helped us. Our defense and special teams gave the offense some short fields, and they capitalized with touchdowns. It really gave us some momentum.
Auburn quarterback Bo Nix completed 16 of 21 passes for 335 yards and two touchdowns, adding 56 rushing yards and a third touchdown.
Auburn (5-0) scored six touchdowns in the first half and led 42-9 at intermission.
JaTarvious Whitlow scored three touchdowns in the first half, including a 30-yarder on Auburn’s first play.
The Tigers forced three-and-outs on State’s first two possessions, after which the Bulldogs’ rushing yardage was minus-19.
Nix scored on a 9-yard touchdown run to give Auburn a 14-0 lead with 9:46 left in the first quarter.
After Jordyn Peters recovered a fumble at State’s 18-yard line, Malik Miller’s block paved the way for Anthony Schwartz on a 13-yard TD sweep to make it 21-0 just six minutes into the game.
After a Mississippi State touchdown, Whitlow scored his second touchdown from three yards out to put Auburn ahead 28-6 with 13:18 left in the second quarter.
Nix’s 39-yard touchdown pass to Seth Williams gave Auburn a 35-9 lead at the 5:33 mark.
Jeremiah Dinson recovered a fumble late in the half. Nix connected with Schwartz for a 48-yard pass, the game’s longest play. With 12 seconds left in the half, Whitlow scored his third touchdown.
Auburn kept the pressure on in the second half, scoring on the opening drive on Nix’s 32-yard pass to Williams. Nix and Williams teamed up eight times for 161 yards and two touchdowns.
Nix went over the 300-yard mark for the first time in his Auburn career on a 31-yard pass to Sal Cannella.
Kam Martin scored Auburn’s final touchdown on a 7-yard run with 14:16 left in the fourth quarter. The Tigers gained 578 yards.
Auburn forced two turnovers and limited State’s Kylin Hill, the SEC’s leading rusher, to 45 yards on 17 carries, a 2.6 per carry average, less than half of his 6.1 average.
Daniel Thomas led Auburn with six tackles. K.J. Britt added five, including two of the Tigers’ five tackles for loss.
“Overall, I’m proud of our team,” Malzahn said. “We had a big, emotional win last week on the road, and it could have been easy to let up or look forward to the next game. Our guys didn’t do that. We played our best football game as a team to date tonight.”
Auburn will seek to improve to 3-0 in the SEC when the Tigers play at Florida next Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in a battle of unbeaten.