What Gus Malzahn said after Auburn's win over Tulane
Leading just 14-6 at halftime, the Auburn Tigers held the Tulane Green Wave scoreless in the second half en route to a 24-6 win.
Redshirt sophomore Jatarvious Whitlow and junior Eli Stove scored touchdowns on the ground for the Tigers (2-0). Freshman quarterback Bo Nix completed 19-37 passes for 207 yards and a touchdown to senior Will Hastings.
“We’re happy to be 2-0,” head coach Gus Malzahn said.
“I think they (Tulane) were as good as advertised.”
Registering just two field goals, the Tulane offense struggled to move the ball all day. Senior quarterback Justin McMillan, a former LSU Tiger, completed just 10-33 passes for 103 yards and an interception.
“Defensively, just did a super job,” Malzahn summarized.
Although neither team recorded a sack in the game, the Auburn defense held Tulane to 223 yards of offense, an average of 3.5 yards per play.
While thanking the fans for braving the heat, Malzahn emphasized the importance of running the football more effectively.
Whitlow, the team’s leading-rusher, finished with 96 yards on 23 carries (4.1 YPC). Senior Kam Martin added 32 yards on 10 attempts (3.2 YPC) and redshirt freshman quarterback Joey Gatewood kept the football six times for 21 yards (3.5 YPC).
With an eye on moving to 3-0, Malzahn and Auburn draw another favorable home matchup with the Kent State Golden Flashes on September 14.
Below is everything Malzahn said:
“First things first, we’re happy to be 2-0. We played a very quality opponent like we talked about and they were as good as advertised. Our fans did a wonderful job; it was hot. I really appreciate our fans hanging in there. They got here early, they were loud, and they stayed late. I thought that was huge.
“Defensively, we did a super job against an offense that’s been averaging a lot of points and a lot of yards rushing. They were 2-of-15 on third down. It was just a great third-down plan and execution. Offensively, the big thing obviously is that we have to run the football better, specifically in the first half. We had too many passes and we have to correct those mistakes in the first half. In the second half, there was some movement. We kind of changed things up with some gap schemes and that really got us into a rhythm and led to some points. Overall, I think it’s a quality win and we took care of business. They played extremely hard and that was a quality opponent. We’re 2-0 and we’re looking forward to playing at home next week.”
Changes in the running game in the second half…
“I think the big thing was that in the first half, there were a lot of runs that resulted in one yard or less. You get behind the chains doing that. We need to do a better job of running the ball on first down regardless of scheme. When we are able to do that, we get in a rhythm. I think you saw that in the second half, and you didn’t see it in the first half. Like I said, we were able to make some adjustments and do a better job in the second half.”
On the importance of Will Hastings and Eli Stove in the passing game…
“Both of those guys are very important, and they are playmakers. They are both veteran guys and they just know how to get open. It gives the quarterback a lot of confidence when they are throwing to those two guys.”
On the offense going forward…
“We’re still a work in progress as an offense. I feel like we are going to get better and better each week. There’s a lot of things we did in the second half that I know we can build upon.”
On Bo Nix’s performance…
“He’s still learning every game. We are really proud of him. He’s competing his butt off out there. To ask him to throw it 29 times in the first half, that’s not what we’re looking for. We’ll keep getting better. We’re a team — when we can run the football, we are a good offense. So that really has to be a focus moving forward. In the last two games, we’ve been successful running the ball in the second half. We just have to get to where we can do that in the first half.”