The Auburn Tigers did something they didn’t do last football season: end the year with a victory.
Unlike last bowl season when Auburn ended the season with an embarrassing loss to UCF, which apparently made the Knights national champions, the Tigers went out and handled their business against Purdue, 63-14, and finished the season with an 8-5 overall record.
For the first time all season, Auburn actually looked like Auburn, and the team that was expected to compete for a national championship in 2018.
So what did we learn after this dominating victory? Here are the three major takeaways:
1. Jarrett Stidham Might Be NFL Ready After All
The junior quarterback finally looked like the Jarrett Stidham of old, throwing for almost 400 yards and tossing five touchdowns. After his performance, his stock surely went up in the NFL Draft. Stidham showed exactly what he is capable of doing when given the chance and turned loose by head coach Gus Malzahn. Stidham was like a surgeon carving up the Purdue secondary.
2. Auburn’s Running Game Still Needs Work
Although the Tigers didn’t really need to run the football with Stidham lighting the Boilermakers up, the Auburn running game still couldn’t seem to get going. Kam Martin lead the group with 58 yards rushing, which isn’t bad but not great either. The Tigers will need to work on the ground game this offseason if they want to compete in the SEC next year.
3. Auburn’s Defense Played a Flawless Game
One of the major concerns coming into this game was how the Auburn defense would handle the Purdue passing attack. We got our answer. The Tigers held Purdue quarterback David Blough to just 184 yards and intercepted him twice.
Auburn also held Purdue’s running game in check, holding leading rusher DJ Knox to only 15 yards rushing. This may have been the Tigers’ best defensive performance all season.
With this victory, the Tigers ended the season on a positive note. Now, they have momentum going into the spring and next season.