AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn’s co-offensive coordinator on Monday want friend showed the offense the halfback passing game they planned to play against Western Kentucky on Saturday.
“It will work,” Friend told them. We have evidence because your coach did it.”
Friend then taped the 2004 Auburn-Georgia game as interim head coach Carnell Williams took the toss from Jason Campbell, ran wide and then stopped and threw it to a wide open Anthony Mix for a touchdown.
“Coach Friend told them about the game (for Saturday) how those safeties are going to come out of the Toss game and he showed me the game,” Williams recalled. “I said, ‘Wait, woah. You know who did that, right?’ He said, “Yes, Cadillac, I know. I was in Georgia in 2004 when you did Halfback Pass.”
Eighteen years later, the same piece worked again.
Midway through the second quarter, Auburn was up 10-3 and threatened to score again. It was the perfect time to unveil it. friend called. Jarquez Hunter received the throw from Robby AshfordHe took a few steps to the right and threw it up Koy Moore who was all alone in the end zone. Moore pulled it in for a touchdown.
“I saw security come down and I was like, ‘Oh my god, touchdown. I know Jarquez is going to put it on the money,'” Moore said.
Hunter, who played a small quarterback in high school, was his biggest pressure. He had to repeat the part of the game that his head coach was running at the time.
“If he did it, then so must I,” Hunter said. “I have to do mine better.”
This piece looks familiar to me 😏 pic.twitter.com/y41r2aQtZs
— Auburn Football (@AuburnFootball) November 19, 2022
MIDTIME ‘TROOPS ROLL’
After Western Kentucky produced two long touchdown drives sandwiched between a brief possession by Auburn, the Tigers’ 14-point lead vanished in a 17-17 halftime tie.
More than strategic changes, Auburn required an adjustment in attitude. In the dressing room interim head coach Carnell Williams let the players speak.
“We didn’t play Auburn football,” the senior captain said Derrick Hall, referring to the mid-term discussion. “This is the player-led opportunity he is giving us. We had to stand our ground right there, rally those troops, bring them together and play a better second half. That has obviously shown itself.”
As a matter of fact.
After allowing 290 yards in the first half, the Tigers shut out the Hilltoppers in the second half, holding WKU for 106 yards and making two interceptions, including a pick-six by DJ James.
“Just arrest yourself,” said the senior captain linebacker Owen Pappoe, who made five solo tackles and called off a pass. “Winning one-on-one matches. I give them credit, they had great receivers, they made really good plays. Tighten our backend coverage and stop giving up those chunky games.”
“A FOOTBALL DREAM”
Off to a quick start, newbie kicker Alex McPherson drilled a couple of field goals Saturday, including a career-long 51-yarder.
“It was just great,” said McPherson. “That’s a kicker’s dream. That your coach can trust you enough to go out there and hit that kick. Having Coach ‘Lac and Coach Roc sending me there for that kick gives me a lot of confidence to know they trust me this distance.
“We executed as a unit, snap, hold, kick, blocker and everyone else. It felt good to get it.”
In his first two Auburn games, McPherson is 4-5 on field goals and 6-6 on PATs.
“It’s a soccer dream.”
🗣 @AlexMc83 on his 51-yard field goal against WKU.
— Jeff Shearer (@jeff_shearer) November 20, 2022
NEXT: THE IRON BOWL
Auburn got its running game up to speed just in time for the Iron Bowl Panzer Bigsby and Jarquez Hunter each eclipsed the 100-yard mark in back-to-back plays.
Williams, an Auburn star running back from 2001-04, will lead the Tigers to Bryant-Denny Stadium, where his Auburn teams won twice in 2002 and 2004, while Auburn had six straight Iron Bowl wins from 2002-07.
“I’m on fire,” Williams said. “I have a lot of respect for the great Nick Saban. I tip my hat to the success of the university. We’re going to play Auburn football. These kids won’t blink.
“We are excited about this opportunity. We want to release these seniors. You deserve our best. We’ll put it on the line and see what happens.”
“It feels great to be sent off the field like that,” said Pappoe. “We’ve got another one next week. That would feel even better. Time to focus on her.”