AUBURN, Ala. -- Auburn set a school record with 712 yards of offense Saturday as they trounced Western Carolina, 62-3, on Homecoming. Now let’s hand out some helmet stickers from the Tigers’ dominant performance.
QB Jeremy Johnson: The big storyline of the day was Johnson who received his first start in place of the injured Nick Marshall at quarterback. In fact, it was Johnson’s first ever appearance at Auburn. The freshman had yet to take a snap for the Tigers, but the coaches opted to do away with his redshirt and give the former ESPN 300 signal caller a chance. Johnson took advantage of the opportunity. He went 17 of 21 for 201 yards. He threw four touchdowns and just one interception. His fourth touchdown pass came on the opening drive of the second half before he gave way to backup quarterback Jonathan Wallace.
The offensive line: When a team rushes for 511 yards, it’s hard to single out just one guy. At some point, you have to give credit to the hogs up front. Auburn’s offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage and paved the way for whomever was coming out of the backfield. The unit also provided plenty of time for Johnson to throw, which was key in his first start. The only significant change to the starting lineup was Avery Young, who got his first start at right tackle Saturday. As a group, the offensive line has quietly been one of the strengths for this Auburn football team. The Tigers are among the SEC leaders in rushing yards and fewest sacks allowed.
CB Johnathan Ford: In high school, Ford made his mark playing running back. When he arrived at Auburn, they moved him over to defensive back because of depth concerns. On Saturday, he did a little bit of everything. The freshman athlete played cornerback for most of the day, but with the game already in hand, coach Gus Malzahn tried him out on offense. He rushed twice for 45 yards, including a 38-yard touchdown run. The all-around performance earned high praise from Malzahn, and although he might not play as much in meaningful games, the future certainly looks bright for Ford.
Honorable mention: RB Cameron Artis-Payne