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Auburn football: Freshman RB Roc Thomas gets first career start

Roc Thomas (9) ran for a touchdown in the fourth quarter of Auburn's victory over San Jose State on Sept. 6.
Roc Thomas (9) ran for a touchdown in the fourth quarter of Auburn's victory over San Jose State on Sept. 6. Auburn Athletics

ATHENS, Ga. — A new face graced Auburn's offensive lineup Saturday night: Roc Thomas.

The highly-touted true freshman got his first career start and wasted no time getting his hands on the ball, as the first play from scrimmage was a 4-yard pass from Nick Marshall to Thomas. He added one more catch on the Tigers' opening drive for five yards and reeled in his final catch on the final possession of the game.

Though three receptions for 14 yards may not dazzle observers, both were personal-bests for the Oxford, Ala., native.

His newfound emergence in the passing game offset his near-absence running the ball. Until Auburn's final drive Saturday, Thomas had no carries. Instead, Marshall and senior running back Cameron Artis-Payne divvied up the carries among themselves. Artis-Payne had 20 rushes while Marshall ran it nine times.

But with the Tigers' trailing 34-7 and with less than five minutes remaining, the visitors decided to change things up. Jeremy Johnson came in at quarterback and Thomas got his chance to contribute on the ground. Thomas finished with two carries for 13 yards.

For the year, Thomas has 37 rushes for 197 yards and a touchdown.

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