Eli Stove

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No. 16 Auburn scores 21 straight to surge past No. 11 Oregon


You had to know Oregon would regret its two trips inside Auburn’s 10-yard line that ended in no points, because you knew Auburn was going to rally.

Auburn rallied, and now the Ducks are flying home with an absolutely devastating loss, both for themselves and their entire conference.

Behind an inspired defensive effort and a clutch performance from their true freshman quarterback, No. 16 Auburn scored 21 straight to rally past No. 11 Oregon, 27-21 in Dallas.

Making his first career start, Bo Nix overcame two early interceptions to save Auburn’s comeback effort, first with a 3-and-one-inch scramble on a 4th-and-3, and then a game-winning 26-yard touchdown pass to Seth Williams with nine seconds left in the game.

But, before it could fall apart on Oregon, first it had to come together.

The Ducks (0-1) accepted the ball to open the game and promptly moved 74 yards in 11 plays to take an immediate 7-0 lead. The Ducks initially scored on a 3rd-and-goal Justin Herbert keeper, but replay ruled his knee down at the 1. No matter, Mario Cristobal kept his offense on the field and pounded the ball in through CJ Verdell.

The Ducks forced a three-and-out on Auburn’s first chance, then drove right back to Auburn’s doorstep. That’s where, if this game turns in the second half, Oregon will carry regret with the back to Eugene: a third-down drop in the back of the end zone by Bryan Addison, and then a missed 20-yard field goal by Camden Lewis.

Auburn (1-0) rode the chance to swing momentum for the first time, using a 38-yard completion from Nix to Will Hastings and then a 19-yard Nix run to set up a 40-yard Anders Carlson field goal, pulling the Tigers within 7-3 at the 3:17 mark of the first quarter.

Oregon immediately answered, needing only three plays to move 75 yards and push their lead to 14-3 with 2:11 left in the first.

The Ducks once again moved in position to take complete control of the game when Jevon Holland returned a punt 81 yards to the Auburn 9, but Oregon then gave it right back with another red zone disaster. This one was a fumbled exchange by Herbert, scooped up by Big Kat Bryant and returned 83 yards to Oregon’s 3.

Auburn again did not fully capitalize on this mistake, settling for a 25-yard Carlson field goal.

A third critical mistake set up Auburn’s third scoring chance, this one a 53-yard punt that was returned 41 yards by Auburn’s Christian Tutt, who was given an extra 15 when Oregon punter Blake Maimone roughed him. Given the ball at Oregon’s 26, Auburn again failed to cash in. This time, Carlson was wide right from 42 yards with eight seconds left before the break.

After forcing a three-and-out to open the second half, Oregon moved 53 yards in nine snaps to score on Darrian Felix‘s 6-yard run.

Auburn pulled back within eight thanks to two big plays by Eli Stove, a 36-yard run and an 11-yard touchdown grab on consecutive snaps and, after teetering on blowout territory for much of the first half, the Tigers were within one when backup quarterback Joey Gatewood soared over the top for a 1-yard score at the 9:48 mark of the fourth quarter.

Oregon’s next chance covered 33 yards and killed nearly half the remaining clock, but Verdell’s 4th-and-1 run, successful on the opening drive of the game, was stuffed at Auburn’s 41.

Now faced with their first deficit of the game, Oregon’s defense forced a three-and-out; however, the Ducks’ offense could not mount anything, so Auburn again took over with a chance to take the lead at its own 40 with 2:05 to play. That possession immediately found itself in a do-or-die 4th-and-3, which Nix converted by the nose of the football on a scramble, keeping Auburn’s chances alive.

Nix, who threw for 177 yards and rushed for 42, then ended the game with the already-legendary toss to Williams to complete the rally.

For Oregon, though, this is simply a catastrophic loss for themselves and a Pac-12 conference that desperately needed a marquee non-conference win. Mario Cristobal and company were close to exorcising demons of both its 2010 BCS National Championship loss to Auburn and two previous losses inside AT&T Stadium, one the 2015 CFP National Championship, but now goes to bed with those demons even larger than before.

Second Auburn receiver dealing with injury issue

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Bubble wrap might be in order when it comes to Auburn’s receiving corps, just in case.

We had previously noted that speedy AU wide receiver Anthony Schwartz was set to undergo surgery to repair at least one broken bone in his hand, leaving his availability for the opener against Oregon up in the air.  Not long after, al.com reported that fellow AU receiver Eli Stove suffered a knee injury during practice earlier in the day.

The good news, especially considering Stove’s recent injury history, is that the latest issue is considered to be minor in nature. “The redshirt junior may be held out of practice some for precautionary reasons,” the website wrote.

Stove suffered a torn ACL in March of last year, limiting him to a pair of appearances this past season.  In that limited action, the Florida native caught three passes for 17 yards.

The year before, Stove totaled 265 yards on 29 receptions after posting 23 catches for 224 yards as a true freshman in 2016.  Stove has actually done as much or more damage in the running game, accounting for 446 yards and three touchdowns on 41 carries the two years prior to his ACL injury.

Auburn expects midseason return for Will Hastings

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One of the top returning members of Auburn’s receiving corps should be primed to give that group a midseason boost, Gus Malzahn stated Thursday.

In late March, Will Hastings underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL he sustained earlier in spring practice.  At his SEC Media Days appearance, Malzahn revealed that the Tigers expect the junior wide receiver to return at some point around the middle portion of the upcoming season.

“He’s off to a very good start,” said the head coach by way of ESPN.com. “His rehab is going excellent. We’re hoping we get him back by the middle of the season.”

Last season, Hastings was third on the Tigers in receiving yards with 525 and receiving touchdowns with four, with his 26 receptions good for fourth on the team.

Auburn will be without another receiver to begin the year as well as Eli Stove is rehabbing his own torn ACL.  Malzahn gave no indication as to even a general timetable for Stove’s return.

As a sophomore in 2017, Stove caught 29 passes for 265 yards, the former total which tied him for second on the team.

Gus Malzahn expects Auburn WR who tore ACL in spring to play this year

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What could’ve been significantly bad news now has a brighter side to it.

Last week, wide receiver Eli Stove underwent surgery for a torn ACL that he suffered during Auburn’s first practice of the spring.  While it was thought the injury and subsequent rehab could very well knock the receiver out for the entire season, Gus Malzahn stated that he expects Stove to play at some point in 2018 — perhaps even early in the season.

“We’ll see how everything goes,” the head coach said by way of al.com. “He’s in good shape and the surgery went well.”

Six months out from the surgery, a general timeline for ACL rehab, would be mid-September, so it’s not far from the realm of possibility that Stove could see the field the first month of the season.

As a sophomore in 2017, Stove caught 29 passes for 265 yards, the former total which tied him for second on the team  He also ran the ball 30 times for 315 yards and two touchdowns, which made him the Tigers’ third-leading rusher yardage-wise.

Report: Auburn WR Eli Stove undergoes surgery for torn ACL

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A significant development has gone under the radar at Auburn, until now. Junior wide receiver Eli Stove tore his ACL during Auburn’s first spring practice and underwent surgery last Tuesday, according to Brandon Marcello of Auburn Undercover.

As a sophomore in 2017, Stove caught 29 passes for 265 yards and rushed 30 times for 315 yards and two touchdowns, which made him the Tigers’ third-leading rusher.

Stove was expected to increase his portfolio heading into 2018, but now he’ll spend the foreseeable future working simply to get back on the field. No timetable has been set for Stove’s return.

Though Stove is one of Auburn’s most talented pass-catchers, the Tigers aren’t hurting for depth even in his absence. Nine wideouts caught a pass for Auburn last season, and not one of them was a senior.