AUBURN — Auburn place-kicker Anders Carlson had his troubles Saturday in the Tigers' 20-14 win over Ole Miss, and could it have been the long snapper?
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn suggested as much when he mentioned that the Tigers made a change at the position. Junior Clarke Smith served as long snapper Saturday after sophomore Bill Taylor handled the responsibility in previous games.
"We have a good kicker," Malzahn said. "Had a new snapper out there. Don't know if that was the reason. … Had some snap issues in the last game. Went with another guy.
Carlson missed from 42, 49 and 49 yards. He also made kicks from 20 and 38 yards. He entered having made 10 of 12 this season. He made 14 of 25 last year.
Not many points
The Tigers rolled up 507 yards, which was their third-best total this season.
Auburn gained 633 in a 55-16 win over Kent State and 578 in a 56-23 win over Mississippi State. This time, the Tigers managed only 20 points — two touchdowns and two field goals.
Asked how he assessed Auburn getting that many yards and that few points, Malzahn said, "Well, we won. That's how you assess it."
Malzahn said it was a matter of missed opportunities.
"Offensively, we got off to a slow start," he said. "We had some opportunities. Lot of opportunities. Couldn't take advantage of them."
He added, "500 yards of offense and 20 points, they don't equal up."
This was Auburn's first game since quarterback Joey Gatewood transferred. He had played in seven of Auburn's eight games before leaving and presumably would've played against Ole Miss.
The news that Gatewood was transferring didn't break until Wednesday, and Malzahn has not fielded questions about him from reporters until Saturday.
Asked whether he wishes he had handled Gatewood's playing time differently, Malzahn cut off the discussion: "You know, he's not with us. We wish him nothing but the best."
Auburn's defense allowed only 266 yards to Ole Miss, and only two other AU opponents have done worse. Tulane picked up 233, and Arkansas had 234.
The Tigers did it without two of its most experienced defensive players. Defensive back Jeremiah Dinson was ill, and defensive end Marlon Davidson's back tightened up on him. He tried to warm up but never could get it loosened, and neither was in uniform Saturday.
"I was happy with the defense all game, that quarterback (J.R. Plumlee) is a dynamic runner and he is explosive. They've got some good running backs too."