Florida Atlantic overpowered by Auburn, 45-10
A slow start ruined Florida Atlantic’s hopes of an upset against
Now the Owls have to hope for a strong finish to preserve their
slim bowl hopes.
Florida Atlantic was overwhelmed early as No. 11 Auburn scored
the first 38 points and rolled to a 45-10 win over the Owls on
”We came out slower than we usually come out,” said cornerback
Cre’von LeBlanc. ”We didn’t come out fast enough, and they came
out ready to play.”
The Owls (2-6), who play Tulane next week, must win their last
four regular-season games to become bowl-eligible.
Even after the lopsided loss to Auburn, Florida Atlanta coach
Carl Pelini said a bowl bid remains a viable goal.
”We are capable of doing it,” Pelini said. ”I have been
saying that all year. We are very capable of doing that as a
football team, and that is what our goal is.”
Jeremy Johnson replaced injured Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall
early in the second quarter and threw two long touchdown passes to
Sammie Coates, including one on his first snap.
Johnson, a freshman, took advantage of Coates’ speed on scoring
passes of 36 and 67 yards. He threw the 36-yarder to Coates on his
first play after replacing Marshall, who was taken to the locker
room with a shoulder injury early in the second quarter.
”Sammie is a speed guy,” Johnson said. ”He had one-on-one
coverage, so I just gave him a chance, and he went and got
Marshall returned to the Auburn sideline, but not the game, as
Johnson added another touchdown pass to Coates later in the
Auburn (7-1) avoided a letdown one week after a 45-41 win over
then-No. 7 Texas A&M. The Tigers had 628 total yards, including
440 in a lopsided first half.
Florida Atlantic trailed 38-0 before quarterback Jaquez Johnson
scored on a 29-yard run with less than 1 minute remaining in the
first half. Mitch Anderson added a 31-yard field goal in the third
Auburn, which leads the SEC and ranks No. 8 in the nation in
rushing offense, had 422 yards rushing. Cameron Artis-Payne led the
Tigers with 93 yards rushing, including a 1-yard scoring run in the
”They have a great running game,” Pelini said. ”We were not
surprised at all. We knew they had a great game. They are strong
and are very good up front. They have good speed on the outside.
They beat you with their speed. You have to spread it out. They
beat you inside. They are a good football team.”
Jaquez Johnson completed 9 of 20 passes for 133 yards as the
Owls were held to 247 total yards. He led Florida Atlantic with 58
Florida Atlantic linebacker Freedom Whitfield was taken to a
hospital after he was injured on a collision in the first quarter.
Whitfield was back at the stadium by the end of the game. He wore a
neck brace as he walked around the locker room following the
”It was great to see him walking back in that locker room, that
is for sure,” Pelini said.
Whitfield led with his helmet on a big hit against Davis.
Whitfield’s helmet appeared to hit Davis high on his chest. Part of
Whitfield’s helmet may have hit the lower facemask of Davis.
Whitfield left the field on a cart, strapped to a stretcher.
”It shocked a lot of us because Freedom is like a brother to
this whole organization,” LeBlanc said. ”To see one of our
brothers go down like that, it could be anybody.”
Jeremy Johnson completed 10 of 16 passes for 192 yards with two
touchdowns and one interception. He threw four touchdown passes in
his first start, leading Auburn to a 62-3 win over Western Carolina
on Oct. 12.
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn provided no update on Marshall’s injury
after the game.
Coates had three catches for 113 yards and two touchdowns.
”I think it was pretty big tonight for me to go out there and
catch the ball and show everyone I can still bring a lot to the
team,” Coates said. ”Being a go-to guy, I think that we have a
lot of guys who can make plays.”
Big plays on offense, defense and special teams helped Auburn
build a big early lead.
Marshall had a 46-yard run to set up Tre Mason’s 8-yard
touchdown run on Auburn’s first possession.
On the Owls’ fourth play, running back Jonathan Wallace’s fumble
was recovered by Jermaine Whitehead. The turnover, forced by
defensive end Dee Ford, set up Corey Grant’s 43-yard touchdown run
one play later to give Auburn a 14-0 lead less than 4 minutes into
Auburn’s special teams added a big play in the first quarter.
Chris Davis returned a punt from near the Auburn goal line 70 yards
to the Florida Atlantic 28. Marshall scored on a 10-yard run four
Marshall hurt his shoulder when sacked by defensive end Eugene
Robinson on the second play of the second quarter. Auburn reported
Marshall was held out for precautionary reasons.