War Eagle Extra

Sean White: ‘The defense definitely has to respect me running’

Auburn quarterback Sean White tries to avoid Arkansas St. defenders Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016 at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Auburn quarterback Sean White tries to avoid Arkansas St. defenders Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016 at Jordan-Hare Stadium. mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

Auburn quarterback Sean White put his best foot forward Saturday night in a 51-14 win over Arkansas St.

White’s success pulling the ball down on read-option plays played a “big factor” in opening the field up for the rest of the offense.

“Like we said before a quarterback needs to be a runner for us to be as good as we can be and he was a runner tonight,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said.

White put up career passing numbers — 17 of 23 for 244 yards and three touchdowns — but much of Malzahn’s praise for the sophomore came back to the 60 yards he gained on the ground.

“He did a good job with some of our read zones and gap zones,” Malzahn said. “He also did a good job when things broke down.”

Many of the same read-option play calls went to John Franklin III and Jeremy Johnson in Auburn’s opening week loss to Clemson.

White finally got the chance against Arkansas St. to show he can successfully take advantage of Malzahn’s full playbook.

“The defense definitely has to respect me running and it’s something I feel like I haven’t been able to show, you know, I showed it a little bit this game and I think that’s something I have to do all year,” White said.

White’s production Saturday nearly doubled his career total. Last year, he carried the ball 30 times for 35 yards. The quarterback didn’t run the ball well the second half of the season, but that had a lot to do with the multiple injuries (knee and foot) he suffered.

“I wouldn’t say I’m Nick Marshall, but I definitely think I can run better than I showed last year due to being young and injured,” White said when he was named the starter.

Much of White’s success on the ground Saturday night came by attacking the middle of the defense. He had two long first down runs (14-yards, 20-yards) running through large holes in the defensive line.

White fought for every extra yard taking some nasty hits in the process.

“He is a tough guy that just plays football and that’s the way he plays,” Malzahn said. “His teammates like that about him.”

On the move

A look at the 10 times Sean White carried the football in a 51-14 win over Arkansas St.

First Quarter

  • 1-10 at ASU 33 — 7-yard gain
  • 1-10 at AU 34 — 14-yard gain (First down)
  • 1-10 at ASU 43 — 9-yard gain

Second Quarter

  • 2-8 at AU 30 — 20-yard gain (First down)
  • 2-7 at ASU 21 — 1-yard gain
  • 3-6 at ASU 20 — No gain
  • 2-9 at AU 33 — Sacked loss of 2-yards

Third Quarter

  • 1-10 at AU 49 — 1-yard gain
  • 1-10 at AU 33 — 7-yard gain
  • 1-10 at ASU 20 — 2-yard gain
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