By Charles Goldberg
STARKVILLE, Miss. — Offense. Defense. Oh, my, everybody got into act for Auburn on Saturday.
Sean White's accurate passing, bulldozer Kamryn Pettway's 169 yards rushing on a workhorse 39 carries and a defense that dominated early led the Tigers to a complete 38-14 Southeastern Conference victory over Mississippi State at Davis Wade Stadium.
The Tigers led 35-0 at the halftime, and had a mountain of stats to prove it. "Breathing room," was how coach Gus Malzahn described it.
Certainly, the Tigers showed they were feeling right at home in their first road game of the season.
"I really like the momentum we have now," Malzahn said. "We talked about getting better each week and we have don that. I think we're in a good spot."
Auburn is on a roll, with consecutiave wins over LSU, Louisiana-Monroe and now Mississippi State heading into next week's open date.
White was sharp in the first two quarters, hitting 13-of-16 passes for 185 yards and a touchdown, a performance that set up everything else for the Tigers. He finished passing for 204 yards.
"He did a great job managing the game," Malzahn said.
Pettway stepped in for Kerryon Johnson, who suffered an early injury, and had a whopping 27 first-half carries for 125 yards, then carried it 12 more times for good measure.
"He's a beast of a running back," Whie said.
The defense added a touchdown when Carl Lawson jarred the ball loose, and fellow defensive lineman Montravius Adams raced to the end zone on a 13-yard scoop and score.
Auburn won its third straight to improve to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in the SEC Mississippi State fell to 2-3 overall and 1-2 in the league.
"We have a chance to be a good football team," Malzahn said.
How did Auburn score? Let's us count the ways.
White, who completed passes to eight different players, threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Davis for the first score. That was followed by three straight Pettway touchdowns, from 1, 3 and 2 yards, the last of those coming with 1:54 left in the second quarter for a 28-0 lead.
Nine seconds later, it was 35-0 on Adams' touchdown.
"Every week our defense does something that's a sign of a big-time defense," Malzahn said.
The stat sheet told the first-half story. Auburn hit the break with 335 yards and 17 first downs. State had just 91 yards and five first downs. The Tigers had only 23 yards of offense in the third quarter, but it hardly impacted the scoreboard.
Auburn's only score in the second half was a Daniel Carlson 25-yard field goal with 1:39 remaining after grabbing that big halftime lead.
"We were up 35-0... there ain't going to be any negative from me today," Malzahn said with a smile.
Auburn did all of that with Johnson, the SEC's third-leading rusher, watching most of the game after injuring an ankle after just three carries.
How bad was it for Mississippi State? The Bulldogs recovered an Auburn fumble in the second half — and was penalized 30 yards on the play for two dead-ball unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine