Auburn notebook: Double your pleasure with double move
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Same play, same route, same result.
Will Hastings struck again Saturday afternoon with a 49-yard touchdown catch off the same double move that found him wide open against Mississippi State two weeks ago.
In its 27-23 loss at LSU, the program’s ninth in a row in Tiger Stadium, Auburn (6-2, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) jumped out to a 17-0 lead thanks to a pitch and catch from Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham to the former walk-on kicker.
Hastings beat single coverage with an LSU safety with no help behind him for his third touchdown of the season, which ties him for the team lead among wide receivers, just two plays after the first turnover of the day. Hastings, a 5-foot-10, 167-pound receiver ended the day with 65 yards on three catches and the touchdown.
Following a long pass by LSU quarterback Danny Etling to DJ Chark, the receiver who caught the touchdown pass that didn’t count at the end of last year’s game at Auburn, a fumble recovered by Auburn occurred near midfield. It took just two plays and 36 seconds for Stidham and Hastings to nearly silence the capacity crowd at Tiger Stadium.
Add LSU’s offensive line to the list of teams that have failed to figure out how to block Jeff Holland.
Holland, who acknowledged two weeks ago that his nickname is “Sensai Mud” because of his summer martial arts training, finished Saturday afternoon with two sacks and two tackles for loss against a makeshift LSU offensive line.
Holland was facing a freshman left tackle in Saahdiq Charles and Holland abused the freshman constantly in the first half. Holland currently leads Auburn with 6.5 sacks after having just three in the previous two seasons combined.
LSU’s TD return
Last season, D.J. Chark caught the touchdown pass at the end of the game that didn’t count. He made sure his presence counted Saturday afternoon.
To begin the fourth quarter, the junior wide receiver took a punt back for a 75-yard touchdown. Chark became the first opposing player to return a punt for a score against Auburn since Isaiah McKenzie returned a 53-yarder for a score in the Tigers’ loss to Georgia at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Nov. 14, 2015. Chark finished the game as LSU’s leading receiver with five catches for 150 yards.
After Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said he wouldn’t play Kamryn Pettway until he was completely healthy, the 240-pound tailback got four carries for seven yards in another injury-plagued struggle.
Pettway was the second running back on the field Saturday after Kerryon Johnson. Johnson finished with 31 carries for 156 yards and a touchdown.
Pettway continues to nurse a plantar fasciitis issue that looks to affect his entire right leg.
“We held Kam Pettway out because we’re going to try to get him healthy,” Malzahn said after a 44-23 victory over Ole Miss last Saturday. “What we’ve been doing isn’t working, letting him play a little bit, so we’re going to try to get him healthy.”
The victory over Ole Miss was the third game this season Pettway has been held out of action and the former Prattville star and leading rusher for Auburn in 2016 has had only nine carries for 13 yards in the last three SEC games.