The Auburn Tigers took out the frustrations of an often disappointing 2018 regular season by shredding Purdue, 63-14, in the Franklin American Music City Bowl.
They shredded all sorts of individual and team offensive performance records along the way.
“You know, everything went very well,” head coach Gus Malzahn assessed in understated fashion following the game.
“I think we scored just about every possession of the first quarter, maybe even the first half.”
The Tigers, indeed, scored touchdowns on every drive of the first half – seven of ‘em – and added a 20-yard pick-six defensive score by Big Kat Bryant to stake a 56-7 advantage.
Those 56 points are the most first-half points ever scored in any bowl game throughout the history of college football, eclipsing the 49 points that West Virginia scored against Clemson in the 2012 Orange Bowl.
The 63 final points are the most scored by any SEC team in bowl history, eclipsing the 61 points that Alabama scored against Syracuse in the 1953 Orange Bowl.
Jarrett Stidham completed 13-of-18 first-half throws, including four touchdown passes, and amassed 335 first-half passing yards. He finished his last game in an Auburn uniform with a career-high 373 yards and five TD passes.
“I’m happy, more than happy, that I came back to play this bowl game with these guys,” Stidham said of his decision not to sit out the bowl game prior to entering the NFL draft. “It’s been a tremendous honor to play with each and everyone of these guys.
“My time at Auburn has been nothing short of great. I’ve made some of my best friends here and I want nothing but the best for Auburn moving forward.”
As shocking as the score, itself, was the speed with which the Tigers dispatched their foe. While Purdue’s offense was going three-and-out much of the game, Auburn’s was going three-and-in – as into the end zone.
Two of Auburn’s four first-quarter touchdown drives lasted only seconds. The other two consumed 1:03 and 2:10, respectively.
Tigers running back Jatarvious Whitlow scored touchdowns the first three times he touched the football, including a 66-yard pass reception on the opening drive to put his team up 7-0 just 1:03 into the contest.
Purdue’s lone success of the first half was a 12-play, 78-yard drive late in the first quarter that, at the time, seemed to keep the game competitive. The series featured Boilermakers’ star receiver and first team All American Rondale Moore on six of those plays, plus a 24-yard kick return to set up the drive. Moore capped the series with a seven-yard sweep around left end to pull his team to within 21-7.
Purdue’s defense, however, was the little engine that couldn’t – stop the Auburn onslaught.
Boilermakers head coach Jeff Brohm said afterwards that the lopsided outcome highlighted several glaring deficiencies that his program must address moving forward.
“We still have a long way to go and a lot of areas to improve upon. We know where we’re deficient. [In the regular season] you try to mask it, disguise it, develop it.”
Brohm, who recently turned down the Louisville job opening to stay with Purdue, will now focus on recruiting as one means to fix some of those deficiencies unmasked by Auburn.
Ins and outs:
Alabama can be grateful
Until today, there had been only one real blowout in Music City Bowl history, that being Virginia Tech’s 38-7 shellacking of pre-Saban Alabama in the 1998 inaugural edition. Today’s 63-14 ending easily supplants that as the most lopsided Music City Bowl ever.
UTC can be grateful
Auburn’s 56 first-half points against Purdue is a program high that surpasses its previous record of 49 first-half points scored against Chattanooga in 1995.
Purdue fan support
The 59,024 fans who filled Nissan Stadium appeared evenly divided between the two schools. The vast majority of Purdue fans stayed and supported their team despite the rout. That’s worth noting.
Repeat Appearances at Music City Bowl
Auburn is one of six SEC teams to make multiple appearances in the Music City Bowl, having defeated Wisconsin 28-14 in the 2003 edition. Alabama, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Vanderbilt are the other SEC teams with multiple appearances.
More important than the game
Purdue student Tyler Trent was recognized as honorary captain for the bowl game. Trent, 20, has been battling cancer since age 15, and is an immense source of support and inspiration to the Boilermakers team. Purdue recently established the Tyler Trent Cancer Research Endowment in his honor.
Score by QTR
1 2 3 4 F
Purdue 7 0 7 0 14
Auburn 28 28 7 0 63