Kerryon Johnson

Associated Press

Auburn to get Kam Pettway back from suspension for Clemson, but might not have Kerryon Johnson

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It appears that, for the second consecutive week, Auburn will be at less than full strength in its backfield.

Shortly before last Saturday’s win over Georgia Southern, it was confirmed that Kam Pettway, along with teammates Sean White and Kyle Davis, had been suspended for the opener for violating unspecified team rules.  Tuesday, Gus Malzahn confirmed that Pettway, the fourth-leading rusher in the SEC last season despite losing three games to injury, will be “fresh and ready to go” for the huge Week 2 matchup at No. 3 Clemson.

On the flip side is Kerryon Johnson, who started in place of the suspended Pettway in the opener but was injured in the second quarter of the win.  Malzahn declined to discuss the specifics of the injury, although it’s believed to be a right hamstring issue.

As for the running back’s availability for the game against the ACC’s Tigers, the head coach said the team is “hopeful” but won’t know for sure until later in the week.

Johnson, who was second on the team last season with 895 yards, ran for 136 yards on 16 carries in the opener.  That tied for the team-high with Kam Martin, who did his damage in two fewer carries.

Auburn’s QB competition this spring has one player thinking he can score on any play

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Having a quarterback who can do it all is a nice luxury to have. While much of the Auburn quarterback situation may be focusing on Jarrett Stidham and the news that John Franklin III is seeing reps at wide receiver this spring, it is Woody Barrett who is turning heads with his sense of self-confidence.

The redshirt freshman quarterback is making a good impression with his teammates with his mentality on the practice field. Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson respects the way Barrett is working hard this spring and explains the young quarterback seems to think eh can score at will.

“Woody gets out there, and, it’s funny, Woody literally believes he will score every play,” Johnson said, according to Al.com. “To a point, that’s what you got to love. That’s the same mentality I go in with every play. I love it. He’s got so much confidence that it gets scary sometimes.”

Now is a good time to have that kind of confidence in your game, especially as Auburn is in a position where it could benefit by having a solid quarterback option. Sean White is banged up this spring and Stidham is making the transition to his new program after fleeing Baylor. Franklin III is competing for playing time at quarterback as well in addition to getting some time to catch passes.

“He’s got a skill set, everybody knows he’s a great athlete,” Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn said regarding Franklin, according to Gridiron Now. “It’s kinda hard to tell. He hasn’t gotten much, but we’ll give him an opportunity and his attitude is great. He’s wanting to help the team any way he can.”

Other quarterbacks hoping to impress in the spring include Tyler Queen and Malik Willis.

No. 1 Alabama cruises to third straight Iron Bowl triumph over No. 13 Auburn

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In a game that seemed like a close matchup in ranking only, No. 1 Alabama cruised to a 30-12 victory over No. 13 Auburn, giving the Tide their third straight Iron Bowl victory and sending the club into the College Football Playoff regardless of next week’s outcome in the SEC Championship.

Two Jalen Hurts interceptions and a big punt return allowed Auburn to stay within 13-9 at the half despite trailing 14-1 in first downs, but a clean second half from the Tide’s talented freshman quarterback allowed Alabama to cruise to a comfortable victory. A 4-yard scoring dash by Hurts put Alabama up 20-9 at the 9:58 mark of the third quarter, and his 38-yard strike to ArDarius Stewart on Alabama’s next possession put the game out of reach at 27-9.

Coupled with a first half scoring strike to Damien Harris, Hurts finished the game connecting on 27-of-36 passes for 286 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions while rushing 12 times for 37 yards and a score. Bo Scarborough led all runners with 17 carries for 90 yards, and Harris added nine carries for 47 yards. Stewart hauled in 10 receptions for 127 yards and a score.

In the end, the only drama of the game proved to be whether Alabama could complete the entire month of November without allowing a touchdown. And they did. Four Daniel Carlson field goals were Auburn’s only dents on the scoreboard, and Alabama will enter next week’s SEC title game having not allowed an opponent to cross the goal line since the third quarter of the Texas A&M game back on Oct. 22.

Playing without starting quarterback Sean White, Auburn struggled to create any offense against Alabama’s suffocating front. Jeremy Johnson earned the start and completed 4-of-13 passes for 34 yards. John Franklin III finished the game and hit 2-of-4 passes for 85 yards, but even his 55-yard strike to Eli Stove did not result in a touchdown. Nominally productive running backs Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson combined to rush 20 times for 56 yards.

Overall, Alabama out-gained Auburn 501-182 and won the first downs battle 26-7.

Alabama (12-0, 8-0 SEC) will now begin preparations to meet Florida in the SEC Championship while Auburn (8-4, 5-3 SEC) awaits its bowl destination.

Alabama holds slight lead in tight, sloppy Iron Bowl

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Alabama has blown out Auburn in the box score, but poor special teams and two Jalen Hurts interceptions have allowed the Tide to own only a 13-9 lead at the break in Tuscaloosa.

Hurts has been responsible for nearly all the points through one half. He’s completed 18-of-25 passes for 182 yards and a touchdown, but two interceptions have kept the Tigers in the game despite the Tide owning a 263-34 yardage edge and 14-1 advantage in first downs.

Auburn posted its first two field goals without achieving a first down either time. The first came on the Tigers’ first possession of the game, when Stephen Roberts returned a J.K. Scott punt 58 yards to stake Auburn at the Alabama 21-yard line. Three plays later, Daniel Carlson converted a 42-yard field goal.

Carlson’s second field goal came after Daniel Thomas intercepted Hurts at the Alabama 41. Auburn gained only six yards over their next three plays, and Carlson’s 52-yarder pulled the Tigers within 10-6 with 13:38 left in the half. After Thomas again intercepted Hurts, returning the ball back to the Alabama 41, Auburn mounted a drive of 19 yards to set up a 39-yard Carlson field goal with 3:30 remaining.

Alabama’s scores have come on a 29-yard Adam Griffith field goal and a 17-yard strike from Hurts to Damien Harris.

Jeremy Johnson earned the start at quarterback for Auburn with Sean White nursing a shoulder injury; he’s completed 3-of-9 passes for seven yards. Kerryon Johnson and Kamryn Pettway have combined to rush nine times for 30 yards.

Harris leads all runners with seven carries for 39 yards, while Hurts has added eight rushes for 23 yards. ArDarius Stewart has caught eight passes for 83 yards.

Auburn will receive to open the second half.

Kirby Smart sends Alabama to SEC title game as Georgia upsets No. 9 Auburn

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Kirby Smart no longer coaches for Alabama, just as Maurice Smith no longer plays for them. But a former Tide coach and player did a major favor for their former team as Georgia upended No. 9 Auburn 13-7 in Athens. The loss dropped Auburn to 5-2 in SEC play, thereby clinching the SEC West championship for the undefeated Tide.

Of far more importance, of course, for Smart is what this means for his new team. The win sends Georgia (6-4, 4-4 SEC) to a bowl game, extending the program’s streak to 20 consecutive seasons. It’s Smart’s first win over a top-10 team, and the program’s first since beating a similarly-ranked No. 9 Auburn team in 2014. And it provides an image of what this program wants to become under Smart, an image for the new staff to point players, fans and recruits to and say “this is where we’re going, now hop aboard.”

It didn’t look that way through one half, though. Georgia’s offense was stuck in mud and the defense played well but still permitted 109 rushing yards and the game’s only score, a 3-yard Kerryon Johnson rush with 28 seconds left in the first quarter.

But Smart’s defense completely smothered Auburn in the second half.

The half started when, after two incomplete passes, Auburn quarterback Sean White fired an interception directly into Smith’s gut, who returned the ball 34 yards for a game-tying touchdown.

Every other Auburn possession ended after just three plays except the final one. And that one only lasted four because the Tigers ran out of time to punt. When accounting for Smith’s 34-yard return and the seven points it produced, Auburn’s second half produced a net of minus-2 yards and minus-7 points.

That’s not to say the Georgia offense found success against its Auburn counterparts, however. The Bulldogs never found the end zone, but two Rodrigo Blankenship field goals — a 45-yarder at the 13:44 mark of the fourth quarter and a 21-yard chip shot with 2:25 to play — on the heels of 13- and 14-play drives provided enough offense.

And, unlike Auburn, Georgia’s offense avoided the crucial mistake. Freshman Jacob Eason completed 2o-of-31 passes for 208 yards (and narrowly missed catching a reverse pass from Terry Godwin that would’ve provided a clinching touchdown before Blankenship’s final field goal) while Nick Chubb carried 23 times for 101 yards and Sony Michel added 55 yards on 10 attempts.

The Tigers’ offensive numbers finished as ugly as their drive chart. White completed 6-of-20 passes for 27 yards and that pick six, while six Auburn rushers managed only 14 rushing yards in the second half.

With a closing kick of Louisiana-Lafayette and Georgia Tech before the bowl game, Georgia can now reasonably point toward a possible 5-game winning streak to send Smart’s first season out with a bang.

Auburn, meanwhile, must regroup after this dud and use next week’s working vacation against Alabama A&M to prepare for Alabama without a possible SEC championship on the line.