Head coach Gus Malzahn likes what he sees on both sides of ball during Auburn A-Day

Head coach Gus Malzahn likes what he sees on both sides of ball during Auburn A-Day
Nate Craig-Myers (3) makes a move during Auburn's A-Day game. (Dakota Sumpter/Auburn Athletics)

After going head to head in Auburn‘s first two scrimmages, the Tigers’ first-team offense and defense joined forces Saturday, leading the Blue team to a 37-13 A-Day victory over the White team.

“What stood out to me was our No. 1 defense when our starters were out there. I thought they had an excellent day,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. “Our No. 1 offense I thought had a very good day, too.”

Jarrett Stidham earned offensive MVP honors, completing 16-of-20 passes for 267 yards, adding a 1-yard rushing touchdown after recovering a fumble.

“The goal this spring was to have an understanding of the base offense,” Stidham said. “Throughout the spring, I wanted to get more comfortable with it. Today we ran what we thought we were good at and moved the ball well. I feel really comfortable with it so far.”

Stidham hit Nate Craig-Myers on a 50-yard pass on the Blue team’s first possession, setting up Kerryon Johnson’s 4-yard touchdown run.

“With the first deep ball we caught, I felt like that fed off to us having a great day,” said Craig-Myers, who caught five passes for 154 yards. “And then we kept making plays, so that was big. It felt good to get out there today at 100 percent, to be back in the groove.”

Will Hastings had seven catches for 75 yards. Darius Slayton made three receptions for 65 yards, including a 46-yarder from Stidham.

Lineman Paul James III was the defensive MVP after making four tackles, three behind the line of scrimmage, including a sack.

“Every day, I’m looking to put a stamp on,” James said. “I’ve got Jeff Holland in front of me. He’s pushing me and I’m pushing him. It’s a work in progress.”

Nick Ruffin made 11 tackles for the White team. Deshaun Davis and Marlon Davidson had sacks for Blue.

Daniel Carlson was named special teams MVP, hitting all five of his field goal attempts, including a 55-yarder.

“Daniel Carlson is once again showing why he’s the best kicker in college football,” Malzahn said.

Carlson also handled punting duties, with Ian Shannon attending the funeral of a family member.

“A whole lot of fun for us to be out there,” Carlson said. “To have the fans out there cheering for us. All of that work builds up to this point. Coach Malzahn said it before, It’s a big treat for us.”

A crowd of 46,311 filled the lower bowl of Jordan-Hare Stadium on a pristine spring afternoon, with Auburn honoring its 75 first-team All-Americans at halftime.

Kerryon Johnson gained 47 yards on seven carries before leaving with an ankle injury. With Kamryn Pettway sitting out as a precaution, Malik Miller gained 32 yards on three carries, including a 15-yard touchdown. C.J. Tolbert added a 9-yard touchdown.

“I have a great vibe about this team,” Pettway said. “The offense looks good, the defense is good. I feel really good about this season coming up.”

(Jeff Shearer is a senior writer at AuburnTigers.com)

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