RECAP: Late Stop Gives Auburn Season-Opening Win

September 1, 2018 By Taylor Jones

Auburn’s Sal Cannella celebrates a touchdown in the first half.
Kickoff Game Washington vs Auburn on Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018 in Atlanta, GA.
Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics

A late 4th down stop by the Auburn defense moves the Tigers to 1-0 on the 2018 season, defeating Washington 21-16. The win ends a two-game losing streak inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Freshman Jatarvious “Boobee” Whitlow’s first shining moment as an Auburn Tiger could not have come at a better time.

Down by one with under seven minutes today, Whitlow scored his first career touchdown. It was a ten yard scamper than ended up being the game winner.

In a game that was defense and special teams minded, another freshman put the game on ice. Smoke Monday made a big stop on fourth and long for Washington, and allowed Auburn to coast with just over a minute to play.

The first half could not have started any better for the Tigers.

The Auburn defense forced Washington to go three-and-out on their opening possession, with Daniel Thomas setting the tone right away by halting Washington running back Myles Gaskin on the first play, not allowing Gaskin to gain a yard. After a punt, Auburn set up shop at the Husky 36-yard line.

It did not take long for the Tigers to pounce first.

Jarrett Stidham threw a pass towards a leaping Sal Canella in the left corner of the end zone for a touchdown, capping off a six-play drive. The two-point “water bucket” attempt was no good, keeping Auburn’s lead to 6-0. The touchdown catch by the senior wideout was the first of his career.

Auburn continued their streak of dominance on the next drive as Jamel Dean picked off Washington quarterback Jake Browning, setting up Auburn with a first down at their 37-yard line.

Carlson then took over scoring for Auburn. The freshman’s first-ever field goal attempt was successful from 32 yards. Carlson ended the first half making three of four field goals, with his longest being from 53 yards.

The Huskies kicked their share of field goals as well, as Peyton Henry connected on two from distances of 31 and 28 yards respectively. The lone score for the Huskies came with 0:43 seconds remaining in the second quarter. Browning connected with Quinten Pounds from 13 yards out to cut Auburn’s lead to 15-13. A big pass interference call on Auburn setup that touchdown after the Huskies completed a 42-yard pass.

The two signal callers seemed to match each other in the first half. Stidham completed 15 of 19 passes for 183 yards and a touchdown, while Browning completed 10 of 18 passes for 177 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

The Tiger defense handled Myles Gaskin and the Husky running game, allowing them to gain only 40 yards on the ground. Gaskin was held to 27 yards on 8 attempts.

Both squads an ample opportunity to score, but were shutout in the third quarter.

Auburn was forced to punt on their opening drive, and Washington seemed to have found their stride by having a successful drive passing the football. Browning threw a pass for a touchdown, but a “pick” play set them back 15 yards.

Washington and Auburn traded disappointing endings to drives. After the pass interference call, Peyton Henry missed a 40-yard field goal. Carlson missed a 54-yarder on the next possession, keeping the score at 15-13 with seven minutes to go in the third quarter.

The Auburn defense overcame adversity again but kept Washington off of the scoreboard. Third down inside the five-yard line, Browning attempted to pitch the football to Gaskin. Nick Coe swarmed and made the hit, forcing the football to hit the turf. Darrell Williams scooped up the fumble. While that defensive stop was huge, the Auburn offense was forced to punt on the ensuing drive.

Washington grabbed their first lead of the game with 14:06 remaining in the game. Auburn’s defense stopped a deep Huskies threat yet again, forcing them to kick a field goal. Henry’s 30-yard attempt was good, giving Washington a 16-15 lead.

Whitlow’s first big Auburn moment came with 6:15 to go in the game, when he rushed ten yards for Auburn’s go-ahead touchdown, the first of his career.

Auburn moves to 1-0 on the season, Washington begins the year 0-1.