Jaquez Hunter rushes for 183 and two scores, Auburn takes down Vanderbilt on the road
Thorne throws for 194 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 40 yards
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSFA) - The Auburn Tigers traveled to the Music City on Saturday for an SEC showdown with Vanderbilt. Jarquez Hunter had a career day against the Commodores, rushing for 183 yards and two touchdowns on the way to a dominating 31-15 Auburn victory.
The Tigers wasted no time finding the endzone when the offense hit the field in the first quarter. Jarquez Hunter exploded for a 67-yard touchdown run to put the game’s first points. This came after a failed Vanderbilt field goal attempt on the game’s opening drive.
A short while later, Hunter struck again. This time, he broke loose for 56 yards as he rumbled into the endzone for his and the team’s second touchdown of the game.
The Auburn defense continued to dominate throughout the first half. They didn’t allow a single point and forced the Commodore’s offense to five three and outs. However, the Vanderbilt defense was able to put points on the board when Payton Thorne threw an interception to Bryce Cowan on the Auburn five-yard line. Cowan walked into the endzone, making it a 7-point game.
Auburn added a field goal before the end of the first half, and the score was 17-7 when the teams headed into the locker room.
When the second half got rolling, the Auburn offense picked up where they left off. This time, Payton Thorne connected with wide receiver Rivaldo Fairweather for a 53-yard touchdown, and the lead was now 17 points.
The Tiger defense continued to smother the Commodores, forcing another quick three and out. When the offense came back out, Thorne went back to the air. He hit a 39-yard pass on 3rd and 5 to Ja’Varrius Johnson to keep the drive alive. A few plays later, he found Jeremiah Cobb in the endzone, and the Tigers took a commanding 31-7 lead.
Late in the third quarter, Vanderbilt finally found success on offense. Quarterback Ken Seals took advantage of the excellent protection the line gave him and found a wide-open Junior Sherrill for a 30-yard touchdown, giving the Commodores their first offensive touchdown of the evening. The Commodores converted a two-point conversion attempt and cut the lead down to 16 points with a lot of time left in the game.
Vanderbilt put together another big drive late in the fourth quarter and threatened to score again. On first and goal from the 10-yard line, the Auburn defense came up big again when Marcus Harris and Cam Riley got to Seals, sacking him for a huge 11-yard loss. The Commodores never recovered and went on to turn the ball over on downs.
In the final two minutes of the game, the Auburn defense came up with a big turnover when the Commodores were driving down the field, attempting a late-game comeback. On 4th and 13, the Commodores were forced to go for it, and Seals went to the air. Nehemiah Pritchett jumped the pass, bobbled it for a split second, and came down with the interception, essentially ending the game with 1:50 left of the clock.
Auburn left Music City with their second SEC win in a row after dropping their previous four straight conference games. The Tigers now will look ahead to another tough SEC road game next weekend when they head to Fayetteville to take on an Arkansas Razorback team fresh off a 39-36 overtime victory over Florida.
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