Despite a slow start on offense Saturday in Starkville, Mississippi, Auburn found a way to win its regular-season finale 24-10.
On Auburn's second possession of the game, Bo Nix and company were able to find points against the Bulldogs' defense after gaining 40 yards and setting Anders Carlson up for a 27-yard field goal to give themselves a 3-0 lead.
That score held through the end of the first quarter.
Malzahn believes that his squad’s inability to establish momentum or find a rhythm stemmed from self-inflicted penalties that disrupted the game.
“We had the big holding call going in that set us back,” Malzahn said. “Then we had another holding penalty, we threw it to Eli and Seth and got a holding penalty. Both those were tough.”
The Mississippi State offense capitalized on the Tigers’ blunders, piecing together a five-minute drive of its own, setting junior kicker Brandon Ruiz up for a 41-yard field goal and evening the score at 3-3.
Auburn drove down the field, settling for a 37-yard field goal off the leg of Carlson as the first-half clock expired.
Sign up for our newsletter
Get The Plainsman straight to your inbox.
Malzahn commended Carlson for answering the call every time he was called upon.
“There was a lot of swings,” Malzahn said. “Carlson kept us in the game.”
While Carlson's leg was relied on in the first half, Auburn running back Tank Bigsby was crucial in getting the Tigers into field goal range. The freshman ran for 84 yards on 10 attempts through the first two quarters.
“We did think that the longer the game went on, we’d be able to lean on (Bigsby) a little more,” Malzahn said. “We were able to do that in the second half.”
In the second half, Bigsby rushed 16 times for 109 yards finishing the day with 192 rushing yards on 26 attempts.
“Tank’s, he’s done that all year,” Malzahn said. “...he runs violently, he breaks tackles and he’s very explosive.”
As Bigsby ran all over the Bulldogs defense in the second half, it opened things up for the rest of the offense to find a groove and the endzone.
In the fourth quarter, Nix connected with Seth Williams on a 32-yard touchdown strike for Auburn's first touchdown of the day, and Nix later scrambled for six himself to put the game out of reach.
Do you like this story? The Plainsman doesn't accept money from tuition or student fees, and we don't charge a subscription fee. But you can donate to support The Plainsman.Support The Plainsman