Auburn did not allow a touchdown in the No. 10 Tigers’ 24-6 home-opening win Saturday over Tulane.
“Defensively, we did a super job against an offense that’s been averaging a lot of points and a lot of yards rushing,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. “They were 2 of 15 on third down. It was just a great third-down plan and execution.”
Jeremiah Dinson’s interception led to a touchdown as the Tigers shut out the Green Wave in the second half.
“The defensive line got a good push,” Dinson said. “The quarterback tried to hit the tight end and the ball was in the air for a long time. I was the middle field safety, just ran it down and made a play.”
After Dinson picked off Tulane at Auburn’s 18-yard line, the Tigers drove 82 yards in 11 plays with JaTarvious Whitlow rushing for a 14-yard touchdown and a 21-6 Auburn lead with 1:51 left in the third quarter.
Whitlow led Auburn with 96 yards on 23 carries.
Anders Carlson kicked a 22-yard field goal with 12:36 left in the game for the final score.
Bo Nix completed 19 of 37 passes for 207 yards and a touchdown.
“The offense played well in the second half and the defense played lights out the entire game,” said Nix, who made his Jordan-Hare Stadium debut. “In college football, any win is great.”
Dinson, Daniel Thomas and Marlon Davidson paced Auburn’s defense with six tackles each. Davidson made two of Auburn’s five tackles for loss.
The Tigers gained 152 of their 172 rushing yards in the second half, outgaining Tulane 379-223 for the game.
“Second half, we changed it up a little bit and we got our groove,” offensive lineman Jack Driscoll said. “In big-time games coming up, we’ve got to be able to establish the run in the first half.”
Trailing 3-0 after the first quarter, Nix hit Will Hastings for a 31-yard touchdown pass to give Auburn a 7-3 lead with 12:54 left in the half. Hastings gained 75 yards on five receptions.
“It felt really, really good,” said Hastings, who rehabilitated from two knee surgeries in the past 18 months. “It was awesome getting in the end zone and celebrating with my teammates.”
After Auburn’s defense forced a three-and-out, Nix connected with Seth Williams for a 40-yard gain to Tulane’s 1.
Eli Stove capped the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run to increase Auburn’s lead to 14-3. Tulane kicked a 32-yard field goal with 40 seconds left in the second quarter to make it 14-6 at the half.
A crowd of 85,317 attended the Tigers’ home opener. Auburn (2-0) remains at home next week, hosting Kent State at 6 p.m. for homecoming.
“I think it’s a quality win and we took care of business,” Malzahn said. “They played extremely hard and that was a quality opponent. We’re 2-0 and we’re looking forward to playing at home next week.”