Auburn coach Gus Malzahn wanted to send out his first recruiting class a winner in their final game at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
The group got off to a good start Saturday night on Senior Day taking a 24-0 first half lead over Alabama A&M with members of the 2013 recruiting class grabbing the early spotlight.
Auburn kept adding to the lead as it emptied out its bench early in the third quarter to close out a 55-0 win.
The Tigers had more than 500 yards of offense (598) for the fourth time this season. It was also the fourth time the offense finished with more than 400 rushing yards.
True freshman Kam Martin had more rushing yards in the second half, 176, than he had in the first 10 weeks of the season. Martin also rushed for a pair of touchdowns (18- and 17-yards).
It was Auburn’s first shutout since 2008. Alabama A&M’s longest drive of the game lastest seven plays. The Bulldogs punted 12 times, turned it over twice and had a field goal blocked.
Back in the saddle
It was a long 356 days for Auburn quarterback Jeremy Johnson. The embattled senior started his first game since last year’s Iron Bowl, in both cases subbing for an injured Sean White.
White was in street clothes Saturday night cheering on the quarterback he knocked from the top of the depth chart.
Johnson put Auburn up 7-0 on the game’s opening possession going 2 for 2 for 40 yards. The Montgomery native hit Darius Slayton for a 10-yard touchdown to make it 7-0 with 11:22 left in the first quarter.
There would be plenty more highlights for Johnson — 14-yard throw in the back corner of the end zone to Kyle Davis, a pair of rushing touchdowns and breaking two tackles on a 31-yard run with the offense backed up deep in its own territory — as Auburn jumped out to a big lead.
Johnson, who could be called into action next week against Alabama with White still nursing an injured throwing shoulder, finished 14 of 19 for 147 yards and six carries for 42 yards with three total touchdowns (one passing).
John Franklin III played most of the second half with Auburn scoring on its first four drives coming out of halftime.
One-man wrecking crew
Montravius Adams batted a ball at the line of scrimmage on Alabama A&M’s first possession.
Quarterback De’Angelo Ballard tried to dump off a pass to his left, but Adams knocked it up in the air. The nimble big man stayed under it for his second career interception.
Auburn’s defense mobbed Adams before he could even get to his feet. The turnover gave the offense possession of the ball at Alabama A&M’s 15-yard line. Three plays later the Tigers jumped out to a 14-0 lead.
Adams also had two quarterback hurries in the first half.
Auburn safety Rudy Ford played both ways Saturday night. The former running back was needed at his old position for the first time since 2013 when he carried the ball a handful of times as a freshman.
Ford helped give Auburn some depth in the backfield with injuries to Kamryn Pettway, Stanton Truitt and Chandler Cox.
The senior fumbled away his first opportunity on what would have been an 11-yard loss in the first quarter if officials hadn’t reviewed the play and ruled it an incomplete shovel pass.
Auburn went back to the play late in the second quarter with Ford gaining 25 yards around the right side of the line. Ford also had two carries for six yards on the drive to help set up a 41-yard field goal from Daniel Carlson.
Ford also had three tackles.