Here are some quick thoughts on Auburn’s 55-0 beating of Alabama A&M on Saturday.

What it means

Honestly, it doesn’t mean much more than the fact that Auburn didn’t self destruct after a heartbreaking loss to Georgia in Week 11. It was expected for Auburn to win big, with or without some key starters, so this win really just means the Tigers stayed on track and boosted morale as Bama looms. The Tigers saw some good performances in the running game that could serve to get them back on track in that regard also.

What I liked

  • On senior night, just like always, Auburn QB Jeremy Johnson was the first player out of the tunnel. But this time, it was as the starting quarterback. He was productive in his start, going 14-of-19 for 147 yards and 1 TD in the air, while he matched that with 42 yards and 2 TDs on the ground. He did everything he needed to do to make his last game in Jordan-Hare a memorable one.
  • While we’re at it, let’s point out how well the other Auburn backup QB John Franklin III did. Franklin came in for Johnson in the third quarter, and he didn’t waste any time. On his first two drives against Alabama A&M, Franklin ran the ball twice for 84 yards and a touchdown.
  • Auburn QB Sean White wasn’t the only starter out with an injury in Week 12. Tigers RB Kamryn Pettway also sat out this week as he recovers. But Kerryon Johnson did well in his place. Johnson carried the ball 18 times for 108 yards and 1 TD. However, he did bang himself up a little bit in the second quarter when he ran over a defender. But not to worry, he shook it off and walked in for a touchdown on the next play.
  • Johnson was the No. 2 before Pettway was injured, so someone had to step in to take his place when he slid into the No. 1 spot. That someone was Kam Martin. And, boy, did he step in. Martin had a whopping 21 carries for 176 yards and 2 TDs.
  • Tigers K Daniel Carlson has been in beast mode all season, making 132 consecutive extra points leading up to this game. But he took it to another level when he laid a huge hit on the Alabama A&M kick returner.
  • Auburn’s defense played exceptionally. The Tigers held Alabama A&M to 130 total yards. The Bulldogs weren’t expected to be a huge challenge, but it almost looked like they didn’t even put up a fight against this formidable defense.

What I didn’t like

  • The first quarter lasted forever. Okay, so maybe not forever, but it fell just short of an hour, and Auburn never should have let that happen. The Tigers should have kept up the tempo and moved it along. No one needed to see the Bulldogs suffer like that for so long.
  • The Tigers played tired and slow for a lot of this game. It’s somewhat understandable when you consider the schedule the Tigers have faced in the previous weeks, but this is when it counts. The boys in blue and orange stepped it up as the game went on, but it was hard to miss the lethargy early.
  • Nobody is perfect, but Carlson was pretty darn close. And after 24 attempts this season, he missed a 54-yard field goal without the interference of anyone else. It would’ve been nice to see him make that as he continues a stellar season.

Who’s the man

Tigers QB Jeremy Johnson shined tonight in his last game on The Plains. He’s had a sordid past with Auburn, and not all fans were willing to give him a chance after the disappointment he’s brought, but he kept his head in the game and played one of the best games of his career on senior night.

Key play

Auburn’s first play of the game was its most important. Jeremy Johnson completed an 18-yard pass to Tigers WR Darius Slayton on his first touch. It was just the beginning of an epic senior night.

What’s next

The Iron Bowl. Let it sink in for a minute how huge this Iron Bowl is, as well as how huge it could have been. Auburn won’t be playing for the berth in the SEC Championship Game, and they won’t be playing to knock Alabama out of it. But they will be playing for pride. These Tigers want nothing more than to dent Alabama’s confidence in Tuscaloosa before it heads to Atlanta. The biggest question: Will either White or Pettway be a part of this Iron Bowl?