Postgame analysis of Auburn's 63-9 win over Alabama State:
THREE THINGS WORTH TALKING ABOUT
Whitlow now No. 1
Kam Martin is good. He’s quick, but few figured the 190-pounder would hold up to becoming the bruising top running back in Auburn’s attack.
Martin is not made to withstand carrying the ball 20 or more times a game. Step in JaTarvious Whitlow. He’s appears ready for the job.
The 216-pound redshirt freshman showed his ability on a game-winning, 7-yard touchdown run against Washington. He took it to the next level in the Tigers’ decisive victory over Alabama State.
Whitlow, despite fumbling in Alabama State territory in the first quarter, carried the ball 14 times for 122 yards. Martin carried the ball seven times for 40 yards and a touchdown.
It appears the backfield rotation is intact. The Tigers will need both at their best when No. 11 LSU heads to Auburn on Saturday.
Freshman Anthony Schwartz was kept under wraps in the season-opening win over Washington. Those were taken off Saturday.
Schwartz had the opportunity to show Auburn fans what they have wanted to see since the world-class sprinter committed to the Tigers.
Schwartz, who set the world youth record for the 100-meter dash at 10.15 seconds, blew through and around Alabama State Saturday.
He caught two passes for 64 yards including a 57-yard touchdown pass from Jarrett Stidham. He also carried the ball three times for 50 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown run. He’s no longer a secret weapon.
Did you ever wonder why 23-year-old minor league baseball player Cord Sandberg came to Auburn? It’s becoming clearer now. Auburn’s back-up quarterback situation behind Jarrett Stidham is not as buttoned up as the Tigers hoped.
Malik Willis came in Saturday against an overwhelmed opponent in Alabama State and did nothing to ease fears if Stidham gets hurt this season.
On his first play, he made a poor read on an option and it resulted in Alabama State’s first points – a safety on a tackle by Ricky Haley. Willis, who didn’t appear to be real comfortable in the offense, completed one of two passes for three yards and ran three times for two yards. Nothing for Auburn fans to get excited about.
Sandberg, who is expected to compete for the starting job if Stidham goes to the NFL after this season as expected, may play a role sooner than that.
Rushing offense — A: JaTarvious Whitlow fumbled once but appears to have won the job as top back in coach Gus Malzahn’s offense because of his hard-nosed play.
Rushing defense — A: Alabama State hovered around the one-yard per carry mark for most of the game.
Passing offense — A: Freshman speedster Anthony Schwartz finally was unleashed deep on 57-yarder scoring strike from Jarrett Stidham.
Passing defense — A: Daniel Thomas intercepted two passes including a 29-yarder returned for a touchdown.
Special teams — A: A penalty kept the Tigers from allowing kick-off return for touchdown and Auburn fumbled a punt, but the Tigers did block a punt for a touchdown.
Coaching — A: The Tigers appeared to gain more semblance of their offense which was thrown off track in win over No. 6 Washington last week.
Overall — A: Auburn enjoyed a breather before big-time No. 2 in a stout 2018 schedule with No. 11 LSU coming to Jordan-Hare next week.