AUBURN – Payton Thorne led the way for the Auburn Tigers (3-0) in their 45-13 win over the Samford Bulldogs (1-2).
The quarterback's performance was a remarkable one that Auburn fans will not soon forget.
There are a lot of things to take away from this Auburn win, but what are some of the most notable ones?
Payton Thorne has reinforced his status as Auburn's starting quarterback
Thorne had quite the night on Homecoming. He went 24-32 for 282 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for 123 yards and two touchdowns, including a 38-yard draw for a touchdown.
He did throw two interceptions, but the good surely outweighs the bad for Thorne this week.
“I thought he had a pretty good percentage of completions," Freeze said. "I thought the interception in the end zone was a great decision. It did hit our guy on the shoulder pad it looked like. I'm going to see it on film, but the next one was a poor decision. He had the shadow wide open and should have checked it down to that. But outside of that, I thought he played really solid.”
“I think it's the first time since 2013 that Auburn’s had a quarterback to rush for 100 yards and throw for over 200,” he added. “I thought he had a solid day. We got to get more confidence in us being a balanced offense, and that is the goal.”
The offensive line took a step back tonight
Auburn's offensive line only allowed one sack, but five total tackles for loss and some untimely penalties did occur.
The Tigers committed four penalties on the offensive side of the ball for a total of 30 yards, and each one came from an offensive lineman.
Gunner Britton had a false start, Izavion Miller had a false start and Dillon Wade had two holding penalties.
The offensive line has done a good job of not accumulating many penalties so far this season, but Saturday night was a different story.
“Oh yes, some of our calls we were making, we had to adjust at halftime," said offensive lineman Jeremiah Wright. "You know we had some difficulty with the backside and bringing pressure, so we just had to adjust from there.”
Auburn's secondary continued its dominance
The secondary has been one of Auburn's biggest strengths so far this season.
That trend continued on Saturday as Auburn held Samford to 144 yards and one touchdown through the air.
The Tigers forced two interceptions, one by J.D. Rhym and the other by Jaylin Simpson.
Auburn has already forced more interceptions this season than they did in the entirety of last season with seven to last season's six.
Simpson is the first Auburn player to have an interception in three-straight games in 16 years.
“We make the ball a priority," Simpson said. "We try to get our hands on the ball the most. The D-line and us have a competition to see who can get the most sacks and picks in the game. I feel like most people would agree that sacks are easier to get. We are keeping up with them right now, but we make the ball our priority."
Auburn's pass rush continued to struggle
Auburn did have two sacks and seven tackles for loss, but it seemed as though Samford quarterback Michael Hiers had plenty of time to throw.
The secondary bailed out the front seven on numerous plays throughout the game, which is a trend that cannot continue once conference play starts.
Auburn was able to move the ball on the ground
Auburn enjoyed about as dominant a night as you can hope for in the rushing game.
Thorne led the way with his 123 yards, but the running backs contributed plenty as well.
Jarquez Hunter picked up 39 yards and a touchdown off of 11 carries, and Damari Alston picked up 26 yards off of eight carries.
Being multi-dimensional puts Auburn in the best position possible to succeed this season.
Auburn will travel up to College Station, Texas next week for a contest with the Texas A&M Aggies at Kyle Field. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. CT, and the game will be televised on ESPN.
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