Auburn puts up over 500 yards of offense, routs Liberty 53-0
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — It was Senior Day inside Jordan-Hare Stadium, but it wasn’t just the graduating Tigers dominating in Auburn’s home finale.
Seth Williams caught five passes for 109 yards and a touchdown, Kam Martin ran for 116 yards and Auburn’s defense pitched a shutout in a 53-0 victory over Liberty on Saturday.
Auburn (7-4) held a pass-happy Liberty (4-6) offense in check, recording its first FBS shutout in 10 years (34-0 win over Louisiana Monroe in 2008).
“That was the goal that coach (Kevin) Steele and the defense had been talking about all week,” said Auburn coach Gus Malzahn of the shutout. “They did it. That was impressive.”
Williams, a true freshman, recorded his first career 100-yard game, and Martin passed the century mark for the first time this season. The Tigers offense racked up 531 yards of offense, their highest output against an FBS foe this year. It was also the most points scored since beating Arkansas 56-3 in 2016.
Auburn’s defense and special teams set the tone early. Jordyn Peters blocked a punt that resulted in a safety and senior linebacker Darrell Williams had a pick-6. Anders Carlson kicked a 53- and 20-yard field goal and the Tigers led 15-0 at end of the first quarter.
Carlson entered the game just 3 of 11 on field goal attempts of over 40 yards.
“I thought all three (phases) did a solid job tonight,” Malzahn said. ”(Liberty) played some good football earlier in the year.”
Jarrett Stidham was 12-of-18 passing for 178 yards with two touchdowns, and he ran for another score.
After that upstart opening quarter, Stidham ran in from the 1 and threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Sal Cannella that stretched Auburn’s lead to 32-0 at the break. Thirty-two points would have been Auburn’s third-highest output of the year.
Liberty quarterback Stephen Calvert threw 11 straight incompletions in the second quarter, then hit a 1 of 19 stretch in the third. The junior completed just 9 of 28 passes (32 percent) for 79 yards with two interceptions.
With a sizeable second-half lead, Auburn was able to rotate in backups and seniors. Malzahn said every senior that was able to play checked in at some point.
Stidham added a 45-yard touchdown strike to Seth Williams early in the third quarter.
Malik Willis came in relief of Stidham in the third, completing 2 of 3 passes for 13 yards and rushing for a 16-yard score. Freshman running back Shaun Shivers added a 25-yard touchdown run before the Tigers were held scoreless in the final quarter.
Liberty: The Flames’ 134 total yards of offense are their lowest this season by more than 200 yards. As a first-year FBS team, the Flames can become bowl eligible with wins in their final two games.
Auburn: The shutout was Auburn’s largest against an FBS team since 1996 (62-0, Fresno State).
Liberty: X-rays on sophomore offensive lineman Damian Bounds right leg came back negative, according to coach Turner Gill. Bounds suffered the leg injury in the third quarter and was down for about 15 minutes before being carted off the field.
Auburn: Starting right guard Mike Horton hobbled to the locker room before halftime and did not return. Freshman Austin Troxell replaced him in the second half. Malzahn did not provide an update on Horton’s injury.
Liberty: The Flames are home on Saturday and play New Mexico State for the second time this season.
Auburn: The Tigers travel to face No. 1 Alabama for the Iron Bowl on Saturday.
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