Sunday, July 21, 2024

Auburn leans on QB duo to blast UMass

Behind the quarterback duo of Payton Thorne and Robby Ashford and an opportunistic defense, Auburn began the Hugh Freeze era with a dominant 59-14 win over visiting UMass.

Thorne, a Michigan State transfer, completed 10 of 17 passes for 141 yards and a touchdown. Ashford finished with 51 rushing yards and three scores.

Running back Damari Alston started in place of Jarquez Hunter (coaching decision) and tallied 43 rushing yards and a score for the Tigers (1-0). Sean Jackson (45-yard TD run) and Jeremiah Cobb (42-yard scoring run) were also effective out of the backfield.

Cornerback Jaylin Simpson put Auburn up 38-7 early in the second half by returning an interception 50 yards for a touchdown. He also added a fumble recovery.

UMass starting quarterback Taisun Phommachanh was harassed all game and finished with just 55 passing yards. Tailback Kay’Ron Lynch-Adams (team-high 101 rushing yards) and wideout Anthony Simpson (89 receiving yards and a score) stood out for the Minutemen (1-1).

Alston’s 2-yard scoring run on the game’s opening drive put the Tigers up 7-0 less than four minutes into the game. But UMass responded with an 89-yartd scoring march in eight plays, which was capped by a Phommachanh’s 1-yard scoring run.

A 37-yard field goal by Alex McPherson gave Auburn a 10-7 lead with 2:11 to play in the opening quarter. A 56-yard punt return by Keionte Scott set up a 10-yard scoring run by Ashford, which upped the Tigers’ lead to 17-7 early in the second quarter.

A 1-yard scoring run by Ashford pushed Auburn’s lead to 24-7 just over four minutes later. A strip sack by safety Donovan Kaufman led to a fumble recovery by Simpson on the ensuing possession. Ashford pushed the Tigers’ lead to 31-7 with 4:42 to play until halftime on a 4-yard run to pay dirt.

Simpson’s pick-six and a 29-yard touchdown reception by Jay Fair gave Auburn an insurmountable 45-7 lead early in the second half.

–Field Level Media

Reportng - Field Level Media
Reportng - Field Level Media
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