Heading into the SEC season opener, Kentucky was a popular upset pick as the Wildcats hoped to carry over the momentum the program had to close 2019 into 2020 but Auburn put a stop to that talk in the second half on Saturday.

With the score 8-7 at halftime, a controversial call just before the break prevented Kentucky from having the lead going into the second half but not even an extra touchdown would have helped the Wildcats on Saturday.

The Tigers dominated the second half, outscoring Kentucky 21-6 to open the season with a 29-13 win.

In his postgame comments to the SEC Network, Malzahn noted the adjustments Auburn’s defense made in the second half being a key to the team’s win.

“They’re a good football team, they lead the league in rushing last year, with four returning starters (on the offensive line). Third downs were the name of the game,” Malzahn said. “They were 8 for 10 third downs, we corrected it, our guys fought hard, tackled well, too.”

Malzahn also discussed Bo Nix’s performance in his first game in Chad Morris’ offensive system.

“I thought he performed very well, he made some great throws under duress,” Malzahn said of Nix. “I think our offense has great potential. A little bit rusty at times, but I think there’s great potential with that group.”

Malzahn also made note to honor Pat Dye and play in a fashion that honored the Auburn legend.

“Excited, you know, we talked about playing 60 minutes, we’re honored coach Dye this year. Our guys played  60 minutes, they fought,” he continued. “We had some adversity, a lot ups and downs, but our guys made the plays to win the game. That’s a good football team we beat.”