Auburn quarterback Sean White’s injured left knee clearly bothered him Saturday afternoon in a 27-19 loss to Ole Miss at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
White played with a brace around his knee, and the previously undisclosed injury impacted his throws, limited his mobility and altered the offensive coaching staff’s play calling.
The redshirt freshman didn’t offer any of that as an excuse for why the offense struggled in the season’s latest setback.
“I wouldn’t say it was the brace, just the injury in general, sometimes I couldn’t step into it as hard as I want to, but I was ready to go,” White said. “There’s no excuses, I had to make a couple more throws.”
Auburn revealed White was questionable in a surprise announcement two hours before kickoff.
The coaching staff didn’t mention any players were banged up in the four overtime loss to Arkansas during the week, and White didn’t show any signs of an injury when he spoke to the media Tuesday.
“I just got banged up in the Arkansas game in the fourth quarter,” White said. “It swelled up a lot afterwards, just been rehabbing it all week.”
The injury worsened after a limited practice Tuesday night.
“He didn’t practice any of the rest of the week,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. “We didn’t know if he was going to be good to go until pre-game, but he is a champion. He’s not 100 percent, but he stayed in there and fought.”
Malzahn stuck to his plan to rotate White with backup Jeremy Johnson throughout the game. Johnson was used primarily as a runner, and didn’t attempt a pass until the fourth quarter.
White was sacked three times, and was hit in the pocket a number of times. His toughness making it through the game wasn’t lost on his teammates.
“I appreciate him fighting, because I knew he was hurt,” Louis said. “All throughout practice, him struggling, he came out today and really stood up for us and put us in a position to win. We just couldn’t finish.”
When White was announced as Auburn’s starter, he drew almost as big of an ovation as Carl Lawson from the Tigers’ student section.
He finished the game with 258 yards on 12 of 28 passing with a touchdown and interception. White’s interception on Auburn’s second possession was his first in 95 attempts.
The first-year starter bounced back with his first-career touchdown in the second quarter on a 47-yard throw to Louis. It gave the Tigers a 10-3 lead with 14:11 left in the first half.