Auburn's rushing attack was non-existent during the first half against Tulane, tallying just 20 yards on the ground heading to the locker room.
The Tigers needed the receivers to step up and make plays, even more so when No. 1 target Seth Williams went down with a shoulder injury, and the duo of Will Hastings and Eli Stove did just that.
The pair both currently lead the team in two different categories this season. Hastings leads the team in yards with 113 receiving yards, while Stove leads the team in receptions with 10. The two receivers both were forced to miss last season with knee injuries.
Saturday night, Hastings and Stove were thrust into prominent roles with the offense looking for answers after another slow start.
Hastings was targeted 12 times and finished with five receptions for 75 yards and a touchdown. Stove followed behind with 10 targets, adding seven receptions for 27 yards.
Both Stove and Hastings suffered ACL injuries in the spring of 2018 and spent time together rehabbing last year. Stove rejoined the team against LSU but saw limited snaps and only appeared in three games. Hastings required an additional knee surgery in October of 2018 and missed the entire season.
Rehabbing together, facing similar obstacles on the road to recovery strengthened the two receivers bond.
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"Eli's my brother. He'll be my brother until I die," Hastings said. "Us going through that together was probably the hardest time in both our lives. I talked to him, and that dude — I love him to death. That put us through a time in our lives that we never experienced.
"He'd never really been hurt; I'd never really been hurt. It just made us bond together so close and be brothers. He's like my real brother now. Anything that happens to him, I get super worried about; any time he does great, I get so excited for him. It's just awesome being able to see both of us out there playing the game we love."
Now, Auburn and its true freshman quarterback Bo Nix will continue to lean on Stove and Hastings for stability and consistent production down the stretch.
"It's very rewarding. It's just great to be out there, really," Stove said. "Missing the whole year and sitting on the sidelines kinda like hurts after every loss. It just feels good to be out there."
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