AUBURN — Kam Martin is listed at the top of the depth chart, and Shaun Shivers got the start Saturday, but there should no longer be any doubt that JaTarvious Whitlow is Auburn’s No. 1 running back.
The redshirt freshman known as “Boobee” carried 22 times for 104 yards and a 7-yard touchdown that gave the home team its first points of the game in No. 7 Auburn’s 22-21 loss to No. 12 LSU.
Shivers was the most explosive back behind Whitlow, carrying seven times for 25 yards and a 7-yard score. Martin carried only twice for 4 yards, dropped a pass and did not see the field in the second half.
After the game, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said it hasn't been decided who is the first-team running back.
Whitlow entered Saturday’s game as Auburn’s leading rusher with 150 yards on 22 carries, and that remains true after his performance against LSU.
Malzahn’s Tigers finished the game with 130 rushing yards on 38 carries, an average of 3.4 per attempt.
Senior middle linebacker Deshaun Davis was everywhere Saturday, including LSU quarterback Joe Burrow’s head. He finished the afternoon with career-high 13 tackles, four tackles for loss, a pass breakup and a quarterback hurry.
But Auburn’s defense couldn’t hold on late.
LSU capitalized on a Jarrett Stidham interception on the second play of the game by covering nine plays on 34 yards for a Clyde Edwards-Helaire rushing touchdown that gave the visitors an early touchdown advantage, but their next 10 drives ended in three field goal tries (one missed), six punts and a turnover on downs.
Ed Orgeron’s Tigers didn’t reach the end zone again until midway through the fourth quarter, when Burrow hit Derrick Dillon for a 71-yard touchdown. They failed to convert the two-point try that would have tied the game at 21, but that got them close enough that they had a chance to win the game with a field goal late.
Tipoff at Toomer's
Auburn men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl interrupted Saturday’s football game with a little news of his own: On Thursday night, Oct. 11, the Tigers will host a midnight madness-style tipoff event at Toomer’s Corner.
“We’re going to put a basketball court right here,” Pearl said on a video played on the Jordan-Hare Stadium jumbotron. “Let’s tip this season off right.”
Auburn is coming off its most successful season in at least 15 years, as it won the SEC regular-season championship for the first time since 1999 and made the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003.
The Tigers will open the 2018-19 season against South Alabama on Nov. 6 inside Auburn Arena.