big rally coming just before Mississippi State

STARKVILLE, Mississippi – For Jarquez Hunter’s second running back, his team’s 39-33 loss in overtime in the US state of Mississippi was a highly emotional game.

With his position coach Cadillac Williams appointed interim head coach, the Tigers narrowly missed out on an upset on Saturday night.

“I think we just had to believe and work hard and I think we came out in the second half and did what we had to do.

“We started slow but in the second half we came out and hit in the mouth and started pushing the ball,” Hunter said. “We came out with more energy.”

The running back scored a go-ahead touchdown for the Tigers with 1:08 left to put Auburn ahead 31-30. Robby Ashford then scored a scramble for the two-point conversion, but the Bulldogs drove to a field goal in the closing seconds and won the game with a touchdown in overtime.

“I’m from Mississippi, so it’s always great to score and make games here,” said Hunter, who noted it was hard to lose in overtime after the Tigers moved from a 17-point deficit in had recovered in the first half.

“The offensive line coach (Will Friend) called the plays, so we decided to let the ball run,” said Hunter, who finished with 54 rushing yards on a dozen carries.

* First-time starters for Auburn included safety Caleb Wooden, cornerback JD Rhym and wide receiver Camden Brown.

* This is Auburn’s second overtime game of the season (also Missouri, won, 17-14) and the first overtime game in the Auburn-Mississippi State series that dates back to 1895.

* Robby Ashford is the first Auburn quarterback to rush for 100 yards in a game since Nick Marshall (100) in Mississippi State in 2014. Ashford finished the game with 118 yards and 18 carries against the Bulldogs.

* John Samuel Shenker is starting in his 59th career game, tying TD Moultry’s Auburn record (59 games from 2017-21).

* Shenker is the Auburn career leader in tight end receptions (68). Shenker is now second in tight end career gaining yards (779). The career ladder is Cooper Wallace (829 from 2002-05).

* Tank Bigsby now has 2,614 career rushing yards and ranks 10th all-time at Auburn, passing Onterio McCalebb (2,586 from 2009-12). Next is Ronnie Brown (2,707 from 2000-04), Bigsby had 13 carries for 94 yards against Mississippi State.

* Bigsby had his eighth rushing TD of the season against the Bulldogs and his 23rd of his career.

* Hunter notched his sixth rushing touchdown of the season and ninth of his career.

Jarquez Hunter is congratulated after his touchdown run in the fourth quarter. (Photo: Greg McWilliams, Inside the Auburn Tigers, 247Sports)

* Ashford scored his 4th and 5th rushing touchdown of the season. His 20-yard rush was his longest TD streak this year. This is his second game with multiple rushing scores (against Ole Miss).

* Ashford ranks third among all-time Auburn rookies with 1,369 passing yards. Second is Stan White (2,242 in 1990).

* Ashford is fourth in freshman passing attempts (195). Next are Gabe Gross (197 in 1998), Stan White (338 in 1990). Ashford is 3rd in pass completions (98). Next is Stan White (180 in 1990).

* Ashford ranks 11th among Auburn freshman rushers with 485 yards, passing Ben Tate (392 in 2006) and DJ Williams (400 in 2019), Rusty Williams (439 in 1996), Mario Fannin (448 in 2007), Tre Smith (454 in 2002), James Brooks (467 in 1977), Stacy Danley (468 in 1987), Chester O’Neal (480 in 1981) and Michael Burks (483 in 1998). Next is Onterio McCalebb (547 in 2009).

* Jaylin Simpson recorded his first interception of the year and second of his career.

* Dylan Brooks recorded his first fumble recovery and Jeffrey M’Ba had his first forced fumble and career sack.

* Colby Wooden recorded his second fumble recovery of the season and third of his career. Wooden has 5.0 sacks and 10 tackles for loss (TFL) for the season and 14.0 sacks and 28.5 TFL in his career.

* Derick Hall recorded his second forced fumble of the season and fifth of his career. Hall now has 7.0 sacks and 11.0 tackles this season and 19.5 sacks and 28.5 tackles for his career.

* Lideatrick Griffin’s 92-yard kickoff return result was the first kick return TD against the Tigers since Alabama’s Jaylen Waddle in 2019.

* Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers had 59 pass attempts with 42 completions with three touchdowns and 357 yards. He has passed nine touchdowns against the Tigers over the past two seasons.

* Auburn’s 10 penalties for 115 yards against the Bulldogs were season highs. Past highs were 10 penalties against Georgia and 85 yards against San Jose State.

* Offense stuttered for Auburn and the Bulldogs in the first half. After gaining just 29 yards on offense in the opening quarter, Auburn passed Mississippi State 79 by just 34 yards in the second quarter. The Bulldogs rallied for 153 yards in the first quarter when they scored on their first three possessions. Total offense in the first half was 297 yards for Mississippi State and 108 yards for the Tigers. The night was over, Auburn had 320 yards to 357 for Mississippi on all-out offense.

* Ashford joined permanent captains Hall, Pappoe and Shenker as captain against Mississippi State.

*Oscar Chapman has had 10 punts from 50 yards or longer this season.


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