NASHVILLE, TN (WSFA) - If this is what a Gus Malzahn led offense looks like, defenses need to be put on notice in 2019. Auburn scored on its first seven possessions on offense, and even had an interception returned for a touchdown in the middle of that, and ran straight through the Purdue Boilermakers 63-14 to win the 2018 Music City Bowl.
The Tigers (8-5) were averaging roughly 28 points and around 373 yards per game entering the match up but shattered both of those numbers in the first half alone. Auburn would score 28 points in the first quarter, tied for its most ever points in a first quarter. The Tigers' 56 points at the half was the most ever scored by a team in a half in a bowl game.
Quarterback Jarrett Stidham made sure his final game in the orange and blue was one to remember. Stidham got the Tigers on the board early with a 66-yard touchdown pass to JaTarvious Whitlow just 63 seconds into the game. Whitlow would score the first three Tiger touchdowns.
The Boilermakers would get on the board late in the first quarter to cut Auburn’s lead to 21-7, but two plays into the Tigers' next drive, Stidham would connect with Darius Slayton for a 74-yard Tiger score to push the Tiger lead back up to 21. Slayton and Stidham would hook up two more times in the second quarter on scores of 52 and 34 yards.
The Tiger defense made sure its presence was felt, as well. The Boilermakers (6-7) who average around 450 yards per game were held to just 263 against the Tiger defense.
This is the Tigers' first bowl win since the 2015 Birmingham Bowl when they defeated Memphis 31-10.