AUBURN — Only one game into the 2022 season, and Auburn has another quarterback controversy.

"We're always evaluating our guys. He [Finley] won the starting job, and that's the focus going into this week. Beyond this game, and not to create any controversy or any issues, but it's football. You never know, right?" said Auburn head coach Bryan Harsin in his press conference on Monday.

Harsin did not intend to create a controversy, but controversy followed after T.J. Finley struggled after his hot start, going 1-5 with two picks after starting 8-9 with 100 yards and one touchdown. Harsin and offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau turned to Robby Ashford, giving him the keys to the offense for the remainder of the game.

Finley, who was in a similar position last year with Bo Nix, remained supportive of Ashford despite the change.

"I just told him to go out there and operate like normal," Finley said.

Ashford had already been used pretty regularly and effectively during the game in a read-option offense, similarly to how Auburn used John Franklin III in 2016, but he attempted his first pass early in the third quarter.

His first pass was incomplete, but he followed it with a nice first down completion to Shedrick Jackson and then hit Ja'Varrius Johnson in stride for a 56-yard strike, kick-starting the offense and setting up the Tigers' fifth touchdown of the game.

Ashford was comfortable in the offense, but after the rain delay, the momentum seemed to stall, and the Tigers only found the endzone one more time. The transfer quarterback from Oregon finished the night with four completions on seven attempts for an even 100 yards and no touchdowns, but he added six carries for 68 yards on the ground.

Ashford echoed the sentiment shared by Finley and shed some light on how the two quarterbacks have worked together throughout camp.

"We push each other every day, and the competition only makes you better," Ashford said. "We know we come out every day to compete and just get each other better because that brings out the best in both of us. We know we have three quarterbacks that can go anytime."

As for the perceived quarterback controversy, Auburn head coach Bryan Harsin silenced the rumors for now.

"TJ is our starter. All right, he came into the game as our starter, and Robby got a chance to play and did well," Harsin said. "TJ had a couple turnovers, not ideal, not exactly what you want. But we're not making any decisions right now."

Auburn is set to take on San Jose State in one week, and Harsin did mention that the team will practice on Sunday, so it remains to be seen if any updates could come in the next few days.

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