No one expected the Samford Bulldogs to put up much of a fight against Nick Marshall and the Auburn Tigers, but they certainly made the first half interesting.
Samford put the first points of the game on the board mid-way through the second quarter, and while the crisis was averted thanks to some timely second-half offense, the Tigers won't be happy with everything about this win.
It was crucial for Auburn to build some momentum heading into halftime after they went down 7-0, and they got the job done. Quan Bray evened up the score with a 23-yard run, and a field goal shortly after gave Auburn the lead. After the defense forced a three-and-out, Bray caught a 40-yard pass to set up another touchdown going into the break - from then on, it was one-way traffic for the Tigers.
Bray might not have lit up the stat sheet, but his contributions were well-timed and incredibly valuable for the Tigers. He ultimately finished with four carries for 52 yards and a TD on the ground, and three catches for 49 yards through the air.
Cameron Artis-Payne picked up 127 rushing yards and a touchdown tonight, which is fairly impressive when you realize his longest gain was just 12 yards. Artis-Payne didn't get the chance to break off any big chunks of yardage, but he kept his head down, fought hard and helped his team win the game.
Stat of the Night:
Nick Marshall aired it out plenty of times tonight, and his big-play mentality showed up in the stat sheet. Auburn gained an average of 8.52 yards per passing play, while Samford picked up just 4.48.
The one we've all been waiting for...Auburn might not have a shot at the playoff this season, but preventing that team from Tuscaloosa from making it would be almost as sweet. Auburn travels to face Alabama at Bryant-Denny Stadium next weekend, with kickoff scheduled for 7:45 PM ET.