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Auburn’s offense soars in lopsided win over coach Gus Malzahn’s former team Arkansas St.

Auburn quarterback Sean White carries the ball Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016 against Arkansas St.
Auburn quarterback Sean White carries the ball Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016 against Arkansas St. mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

Auburn quarterback Sean White had no one open down field.

He momentarily thought about pulling it down and running it, but with an Arkansas St. defender barreling down on him that wasn’t an option.

White made a last ditch effort to rid of the ball to Kerryon Johnson in the backfield. The quarterback managed to get the underhanded basket toss away a split second before his knee touched the ground.

Johnson somehow managed to cut back all the way to the opposite sideline where he raced 47-yards to the end zone to kickoff the scoring in a 51-14 blowout win.

The sophomore running back hurdled a defender at the goal line for good measure.

“I was just trying to get it to him and maybe he could scoot up the sideline for a first down,” White said. “I felt confident my arms were free and it wouldn’t be a fumble. He just made one hell of a play. It was just awesome him cutting back up field.”

Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee was the first person to greet White on the sideline after the touchdown.

“We’ll take it how we can get it,” Lashlee said with a fist bump.

The Auburn offense in the midst of a prolonged slump took Lashlee’s words to heart as a few wild plays helped the team put together a convincing victory.

Freshman wide receiver Kyle Davis made a spectacular 42-yard one-handed grab late in the first quarter to set up Auburn’s second touchdown.

Late in the first half, Auburn placekicker Daniel Carlson scored his first career touchdown on a fake field goal from 20-yards.

Tyler Stovall just flipped the ball up to Carlson, who plucked it out of the air and ran untouched up the visiting sidelines for his first career touchdown.

It was that kind of day for an Auburn offense that finished just shy of a school record with 706 total yards (record is the 712 yards it had against Western Carolina in 2013).

Sean White had a career day going 17 of 23 for 244 yards with three touchdowns. He also ran the ball 10 times for 60 yards. He managed to get much of Auburn’s receiving corps involved with 10 different players catching at least one pass.

White threw a pair of touchdown passes to Tony Stevens and another to Will Hastings for the quarterback’s first multi-score game of his career.

Auburn was just as effective running the ball finishing the game with 462 rushing yards, the fourth highest total in program history. Kerryon Johnson and Kamryn Pettway both eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the first time in their careers.

“We came out and looked like an Auburn offense for the first time,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. “When we can run the football, it opens everything else up. We had a lot of different guys carry the football and I think our offensive line got better. If you have an inexperienced offensive group, week one to week two is usually where you see your biggest improvement. Without looking at the film, I can tell that they definitely improved.”

Pettway, who started at fullback last year, led the team with 152 yards on 15 carries.

He went from getting the first carry of his career in the first quarter to almost finding the end zone on a 64-yard run at the end of the half.

Backup quarterback John Franklin III even got in on the action coming in the game late in the fourth quarter for White. The first time the junior college transfer touched the ball he took it 41-yards across midfield.

“I think we did a good job with gaining some confidence and ryhthm for SEC conference next weekend,” White said.

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