AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn’s four quarterbacks each impressed in Saturday’s A-Day game, teaming up to complete 29 of 36 passes for 367 yards and five touchdowns in a high-powered first half.
“All four quarterbacks made some explosive plays,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. “I thought that was good. We had a couple of touchdowns to go with it. All of them did some good things. Next week we’ll be able to assess the 15 days of practice as a whole and we’ll look at it from there and hopefully we’ll get some kind of order with our quarterbacks after spring.”
Sophomore Seth Williams earned offensive MVP honors with four receptions for 103 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Orange team, comprised of first teamers, to a 28-10 victory.
“It’s not really me, it’s the O-line, the quarterback. The quarterback gave me a good ball,” Williams said. “Without them blocking, I wouldn’t have gotten a chance to get the ball.”
Joey Gatewood and Eli Stove set the tone for an aerial circus, teaming up for a 28-yard gain on the scrimmage’s first play. The offenses combined for 479 passing yards and 186 rushing yards.
The Blue team took an early 7-0 lead when Malik Willis connected with Matthew Hill for a 41-yard touchdown pass.
Freshman quarterback Bo Nix found Williams for a 38-yard gain on third-and-12. Then on third-and-goal from the 11, Nix rolled right and hit Eli Stove in the end zone to tie the score at 7-7.
Freshman D.J. Williams, a mid-year enrollee, delivered the game’s longest run, a 29-yarder, to set up Anders Carlson’s 46-yard field goal for a 10-7 Blue lead after the first quarter. Williams led the running backs with 56 yards on 10 carries.
Gatewood hit Williams for an 11-yard touchdown on the opening play of the second quarter to give the Orange a 14-10 lead.
Gatewood and Williams teamed up again for a 29-yard touchdown with Williams outjumping two defenders in the end zone to make it 21-10.
With 37 seconds left in the first half, Nix fired 49 yards down the middle to Hill for the day’s final score and a 28-10 lead.
Logging stats for both squads, Hill made five catches for 128 yards and two touchdowns.
“Today meant mean a lot to me because all of my work is now showing off,” Hill said. “All spring, I’ve been showing the coaches what I’ve learned since last year, but it was also a confidence thing. Now that I’ve learned it, I’m confident there’s just much more to come.”
Auburn’s defense forced two turnovers in the second half, a Sam Sherrod forced fumble that Devan Barrett recovered, and an interception by Michael Harris.
“I thought the defense had a very good spring. I thought the offense did, too,” Malzahn said. “We talked about trying to get some depth and trying to get some of those younger guys to step up and I really feel like we accomplished those goals.”
Derrick Brown made four tackles and had two sacks, earning defensive MVP honors. Jamien Sherwood made a game-high seven tackles for the Blue team.
“It’s a blessing. I appreciate it,” Brown said. “Going forward, I’m going to try to work harder this summer to make the actual season count.”
Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: @jeff_shearer