Kerryon Johnson: Offense has to 'hold up its end of the bargain more’
How healthy was Kamryn Pettway Saturday night in the Iron Bowl?
It depended on who was answering the question.
“Obviously he’s not 100 percent, but he wanted to play,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. “I thought he did some good things out there. He’s not 100 percent that’s just part of it.”
Pettway claimed he was at 98 percent and physically feeling “good” during the 30-12 loss, but his pedestrian performance isn’t what fans have come to expect out of the sophomore.
The running back vaulted to the top of the SEC rankings with four straight 150-plus yard performances including a 236-yard game against Ole Miss.
On Saturday, Pettway ran the ball 12 times for 17 yards. The Prattville alum’s longest run of five yards fell short of his season average (6.07).
Pettway was also tackled behind the line of scrimmage four times.
As a group, Auburn’s backfield ran the ball 26 times for 66 yards for a paltry 2.54 yards per carry. It was the backfield’s least productive outing during coach Gus Malzahn’s four-year tenure as coach.
“We just couldn’t get it together,” Pettway said.
Pettway missed Auburn’s previous two games with a quad injury he suffered on his final carry on Nov. 5 against Vanderbilt. The running back traveled to Athens the following week, but didn’t dress for the game.
The coaching staff severely limited his practice reps to aid his recovery, but Pettway didn’t look like the same running back Saturday who routinely ran over people through the first 11 weeks of the season averaging 3.7 yards per carry after contact.
Fellow running back Kerryon Johnson, who has dealt with his own share of injuries the past two seasons, didn’t measure Pettway’s success based on his production (or lack thereof).
“I thought he ran very well coming from that scary of an injury,” Johnson. “The way it looked, to run the ball like that? I thought he did very well.”