While the Auburn offense spent most of Saturday’s games looking for answers, the Tigers’ defense stood tall in the moments that mattered.
The Tigers’ defense was unrelenting against the Green Wave on Saturday, only surrendering two third-down conversions on 15 attempts. Auburn was especially disruptive in the first half, as the Green Wave was 0-of-8 on third down.
“That was part of the key of the game, really,” Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn said. “The defensive efforts we got on third down got us the ball back. There were times that we were playing on our end of the field back there, and they flipped the field for us. That really helped, too.”
At the end of the evening, Auburn’s standout defensive effort led to eight Green Wave punts and no touchdowns by Tulane, which put up 42 points in its season-opening victory over Florida International.
Auburn’s Williams leaves game with injury
Auburn sophomore wide receiver Seth Williams left Saturday’s game against Tulane with an undisclosed injury.
Williams was hurt on his first reception of the Tigers’ game against the Green Wave, a 40-yard catch that put the Tigers on the 1-yard line. Williams stayed down on the ground for several minutes after the catch, which was briefly reviewed but ultimately upheld.
“He wasn't able to return. We'll see his status tomorrow (Sunday),” Malzahn said. “Obviously, he's a playmaker. Anytime he's not out there, that's a pretty big blow. We'll see his status tomorrow.”
Williams’ catch led to the Tigers’ second touchdown, a four-yard end-around run by Eli Stove. Williams was later seen wearing a sling early in the fourth quarter of the victory.
Auburn’s Hastings makes return to end zone
For the first time since New Year’s Day 2018, Auburn wide receiver Will Hastings has found the end zone.
Hastings scored the Tigers’ first touchdown against Tulane on a 31-yard pass from Bo Nix. The touchdown – which put Auburn up 7-3 with 12:54 left before halftime – marked Hastings’ first touchdown since scoring on a 26-yard pass against UCF in the 2018 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
Hastings’ return to the end zone comes after a trying 2018 season. Hastings underwent ACL surgery during the spring, came back late in the year but ultimately did not record a single reception for the Tigers.
Hastings had five receptions for 75 yards and one touchdown, but his night ended early. Hastings left the game after a hit from Tulane's Macon Clark with 0:43 left in the third quarter. Clark was ejected from the game due to targeting on the play.
Hastings said after the game he was cleared, but the Tigers held him out for the rest of the victory.
“He said, 'I'm alright, Coach. It was a pretty good lick, but I'm alright,'” Malzahn said. “He's a tough guy. That was a really good lick, so he's a tough guy.”
Clock troubles slow game’s start
Problems with the game clock in Jordan-Hare Stadium forced officials to keep the time on the field for most of the game’s first half.
The glitches affected Auburn’s offense on the game’s first series at least. Auburn received the opening kickoff, but officials quickly stopped the action between plays to communicate upstairs in an effort to fix the issue.
Auburn ultimately went three-and-out on the drive as part of the offense’s sluggish start.
The play clock remained operational and visible for both teams at field level. The game clock was operational and used again at the 10:37 mark of the second quarter.