by Ben Ennis
NASHVILLE, TN. – Auburn dominated Purdue in all aspects of the game as the Tigers scored the most points the Boilmakers have ever allowed against their football teams. When asked about the Tigers overall performance, Auburn Head Coach Gus Malzahn said, “It was very satisfying. Like I say, it was all about these guys executing. I mean, it was a thing of beauty to watch from the sideline, the guys make plays. When we make explosive plays, we play fast, we’re a pretty good offense. Today it all came together.” “Feel good the way our guys executed. You could call any play the way they executed today and it would work. Our quarterback just did a super job all day of leading us. We made explosive play after explosive play in the passing game. I thought we ran the football well, too.”
Auburn’s JaTarvious Whitlow led the Tigers’ assault as he had three touchdowns in the first quarter. When Whitlow was asked about his performance, Whitlow said, “It was pretty exciting. I just
wanted to come out here and help my team get a bowl win. Like Coach Malzahn said, we were looking to play our best game today. Also for me on an individual front, it was my best day.” Whitlow hauled in a 66-yard pass from quarterback Jarrett Stidham on the third play of the game for a touchdown. Next, Whitlow scored his second touchdown on a two-yard run. Then Whitlow scored on a one-yard run with PAT good to make the score 21-0. Purdue managed to get on the board after freshman sensation running back Rondale Moore scored on a seven-yard run with PAT good to make the score 21-7. The touchdown was his 13th of the season and most by a Purdue freshman football player. Even though Moore, the Paul Horning Award winner, had 11 catches for 94 yards and the touchdown, the Tigers held Moore to 9.5 yards per catch to minimize his overall impact on the game. After Moore scored, Stidham connected with Darius Slayton on a 74-yard pass completion with PAT good to make the score 28-7.
Stidham connected with Slayton again on a 52-yard pass attempt with PAT good to make the score 35-7. The defense got into the scoring bonanza when Big Kat Bryant intercepted a pass and took it 52 yards for a score with PAT good to go up 42. Malzahn said, “Defense having the two turnovers, the one for a touchdown, was big. Offense, zero turnovers. It was a very good performance overall by our team.” Next, the Tigers’ Anthony Schwartz scored on a six-yard run with kick good to go up 49-7. Auburn closed on the second quarter when Slayton caught a 34-yard pass for his third touchdown with PAT good to go up 56-7.
Stidham tossed a five-yard pass to Ryan Davis with PAT good to make the score 63-7. With 5:29 remaining Purdue finally got on the board again when David Blough ran 22 yards for a touchdown to make the score 63-14.
Photos by Ben Ennis