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Auburn running back Jovon Robinson steps in for injured Peyton Barber in loss to Ole Miss

Michael Niziolek

mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

Auburn running back Jovon Robinson (29) runs the ball against Ole Miss on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015. (Zach Bland/Auburn Athletics)
Auburn running back Jovon Robinson (29) runs the ball against Ole Miss on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015. (Zach Bland/Auburn Athletics)

Auburn running back Peyton Barber had less than 20 carries for only the second time this season due to a previously undisclosed injury.

Barber came into the game averaging 110 yards per game, with 11 touchdowns in his previous three starts.

His final line in a 27-19 loss to Ole Miss was eight carries, for a season-low 17 yards.

“Peyton was banged up,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. “He didn’t practice earlier in the week. He was able to do a few things late. But he is banged up, so we felt Jovon (Robinson), it was his opportunity, and he is back to getting healthy.”

Robinson had a season-high 18 carries for 91 yards in his first extended action of the season.

“He did a good job for us,” Malzahn said. “He protected the football, he ran hard and I thought he had some good runs.”

An ankle injury limited Robinson early in the year, but was healthy scratch in recent weeks. Prior to Saturday, Robinson’s last time touching the ball came in a week three loss to LSU.

He almost had as many carries in the first half Saturday, three, as he did through the first seven weeks of the season, four.

When asked about the junior college transfer’s status during the week, offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said all four running backs could be a factor, and that proved true in Robinson’s case.

He made a significant impact late in the third quarter with a pair of double-digit runs to set up a Daniel Carlson field goal that tied the game 13-13.

Robinson’s 22-yard run bowling through defenders earned rave reviews from the crowd at Jordan-Hare Stadium who got louder with every tackler he made miss.

Auburn did feel Barber’s absence in the offense’s red zone packages. The Tigers came up empty in three trips inside the 25-yard line.

Coming into the game, Auburn had scored touchdowns on 13 of its previous 16 trips to the red zone, but went 0 for 3 against the Rebels. Barber was a key part of that as he handled almost 100 percent of the carries inside the 10-yard line.  

Malzahn wasn’t ready to discuss what Barber’s status would be for next week’s game against Texas A&M, or how the team would split up carries.

“What we will do tomorrow is evaluate the health of everybody and we will get a good plan for next week,” he said. “We will probably know a little bit more tomorrow or Monday.”

Michael Niziolek covers Auburn football for the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. Email him at mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com or follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+

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