Auburn shuts out Samford in Bo Nix's historical day

Football vs. Samford on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, in Auburn, Ala.
Cat Wofford/Auburn Athletics
Football vs. Samford on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, in Auburn, Ala. Cat Wofford/Auburn Athletics

AUBURN, AL - Bo Nix has a historic day while the defense shuts out Samford.

Coming into the game, the weather was today's biggest concern. The wet field plus the downpour of rain in the first half, provided a challenge for both teams. 

"The first half it was miserable, the weather was" said head coach Gus Malzahn, "I think our guys handled that well."

When asked about the rain, quarterback Bo Nix praised his team.

"I thought we did a really good job of handling the weather and we scored over 50 points...that's how you like to play."

Despite the tough conditions, the fans in attendance made their presence felt to the team.

Nix commented on the fans and said, "For the atmosphere I thought it was really good for the situation."

Auburn got the game started off in the wrong direction after committing three total offside penalties and an illegal substitution during the first Samford drive. The "Steele curtain" did not flinch however, they forced a fumble on 4th and 4 and recovered. 

A surprise on offense was Kaleb Kim, the center, getting the majority of his time at right guard. Nick Brahms the sophomore, recently moved ahead of Kim in the depth chart at the center position. 

"I thought they did really good" said Nix about the changed offensive line.

Bo Nix and Gus Malzahn did not hesitate to throw the ball, especially the screen, despite the rain. Nix was 4-5 for 26 yards on his first possession of the game. Auburn eventually capitalized on the Bulldogs fumble and drove down the field and scored. Their scoring drive was capped off with a one yard JaTarvious Whitlow touchdown run.

The first play after the Auburn kick off from the scoring drive, Jeremiah Dinson recorded his fourth interception of his career to give it back to the Tigers at their own 37 yard line. 

Auburn could not make Samford pay for this turnover however. Anders Carlson's attempt at a 43 yard field goal was blocked with 4:57 left in the first quarter.

"I think it was more of a snap and a hold and it was raining like crazy," said Malzahn.

The Bulldogs would take over on their own 25, but nothing would come from it.

A quick start to the second quarter came from Whitlow as he ran the ball three straight times and scored on the final rush for a three yard touchdown. The drive was 47 yards for the Tigers. Whitlow accounted for 43 of those yards to begin the quarter.

After converting a 4th and 4, Auburn continued their march down field and scored on a 10 yard screen pass to Harold Joiner. 

With this pass Bo Nix tied Stan White for most pass touchdowns by a freshman at Auburn and passed him in completions.

"I'm just doing whatever I can to help this team win and at the end of the day, that is the goal." said Bo Nix in regards to his record.

On the ensuing Samford possession, the rain proved to be a factor as Zakoby McClain forced a fumble that was recovered by Roger McCreary. 

McClain said "I saw the quarterback running, and I got a clean shot on him. I put my shoulder on the ball, when I put my shoulder on the ball I just threw my body at him. Then my boy Roger (McCreary) got the ball."

Auburn would take over on the Bulldog 19 yard line. Three plays later, Shaun Shivers would collect his first touchdown of the game from three yards out. 28-0 Auburn with 7:14 left in the first half.

With 1:20 to go in the second quarter, Auburn drove down field and tacked on a 29 yard field goal, courtesy of Carlson. 

Auburn took a 31-0 lead into the locker room behind a balanced offensive attack and their dominant defensive performance.

The Tiger defense held Samford to only 35 total yards in the first half and only four first downs. Marlon Davidson had 2.5 TFL and one sack to take with him into the locker room. 

The bright spot for Samford was Nathan East and Brett Granger who had seven and five tackles respectively. 

In a plot twist for the Auburn offensive line, Jalil Irvin the redshirt freshman got the start at right guard to start the third quarter. After the game, he said: 

"I've just been working hard, doing what Coach Grimes has been teaching me..."

Samford's offensive struggles continued in the third quarter as Christian Tutt returned an interception for 26 yards and set Auburn up at the nine yard line. All Gus Malzahn needed was two plays to put his team up 38-0 with D.J. Williams's second career rushing touchdown.

At the 12:24 mark in the third quarter, Jamien Sherwood was ejected for a targeting call against Liam Welch. Auburn will now be without one of their bright young safeties for the first half of next week's Iron Bowl. This is huge because Alabama will be playing back up Mac Jones after Tua Tagovailoa's season-ending injury.

Malzahn commented on it, "Anytime you get a guy ejected it's tough. Especially with the game we've got next week."

Soon after this, the second stringers came into the game for both sides of the ball. 

A 50 yard field goal attempt from Mitchell Fineran would come up short for Samford at the 3:22 mark in the third quarter and preserve the Auburn shutout. 

In a season where Zach Farrar has not played very much, he extended Auburn's lead to 45-0 with a 27 yard touchdown catch on a fourth and long play. 45-0 Auburn with 13:32 left in the game. Oh, and it was from Cord Sandberg.

This duo would connect again with 9:23 left on a read option pass from four yards out. The drive took 59 yards in 5 plays and 1:59 off of the clock. 

"That was kinda just our triple option play there," said Sandberg about his second touchdown. "I was gonna run...but he was open and I kind of just shot put it in there." 

Sandberg would finish 5-7 for 84 yards and two passing touchdowns, and he also had 31 rushing yards.

Auburn would close this one out and win in a rainy battle, 52-0. 

Nix threw for 150 yards and a touchdown.

JaTarvious Whitlow scored two touchdowns with 49 rushing yards. Shaun Shivers and D.J. Williams also finished with a rushing touchdown each.

One game remains on the regular season schedule and it is a big one. The Iron Bowl.

"We ready for them boys" said Zakoby McClain. 

"I am probably as excited as anybody" said Nix.

Nick Brahms on the Iron Bowl said, "That's why you come to Auburn right? To play in the Iron Bowl to play in games like this."

In his post game address to the media, Malzahn knew he had the Crimson Tide coming to town.

"We are excited. We've got the Iron Bowl at home and that's as good as it gets."

With the win against Samford, Auburn improves to 8-3 and looks ahead to the Iron Bowl against Alabama at home.

Next Saturday's contest is set for a 2:30 kickoff on CBS. 

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