Auburn's Cameron Artis-Payne is on the run against Arkansas
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn running back Cameron Artis-Payne just wants the football. He didn't get it much in the second half of last season when Tre Mason was running wild, but he got it a career-high 26 times Saturday night against Arkansas and ran up 177 yards and a touchdown.
He helped Auburn to a 45-21 win, thanks in part to his 122 yards rushing in the second half.
Dare we say, lightning?
"I read everything that everybody puts out about how they don’t know about how the running game is going to be. We made it through and we’re going to be all right," Artis-Payne said.
Much of the game revolved around the quarterbacks, first with Jeremy Johnson's passing in the first half, then with Nick Marshall running a more familiar offense in the second. All the while, Artis-Payne was piling up the yards behind a revamped offensive line that found pleasure in leading with the running game in the second half.
"They know you're running it, and to do what we did, I think that will be a big booster. I think it will help this offensive line grow," said center Reese Dismukes.
They helped Marshall break free on an 18-yard touchdown run. Dismukes' analysis of that play?
"Nick probably just being Nick," he said. "Nick can run with the best of them.
That's what Nick brings to the table."
Here are some more notes from the game from Auburn athletics…
• Auburn observed a moment of silence for Philip Lutzenkirchen and David Langner before the game. Each passed away since Auburn's traditional moment of silence before the spring A-Day Game.
• Auburn’s 595 total yards (302 rushing, 293 passing) are the sixth-most for Auburn against an SEC opponent. It was also the third-most for Auburn in a season-opener and the most since 608 total yards (367 rushing, 241 passing) against Arkansas State in the 2010 season-opener.
• With 154 yards receiving, Duke Williams produced the 12th best receiving day ever in an Auburn uniform. It was the best receiving total since Darvin Adams had 217 yards in the 2010 SEC championship game. It’s the most receiving yards ever by an Auburn player in his first game.
• With nine receptions, Williams ranks tied for ninth in most receptions in a game. It was the most catches by an Auburn player since Emory Blake had 10 against Arkansas in 2012.
• Melvin Ray’s first-quarter 49-yard touchdown reception from Jeremy Johnson was his second career TD catch. His first was a 50-yard TD in the BCS national title game.
• Cameron Artis-Payne’s first-quarter touchdown carry was the seventh of his career. He finished with a career-high 177 yards on 26 attempts. It was his third career 100-yard rushing game. It was Auburn’s seventh consecutive game with a 100-yard rusher.
• Artis-Payne’s 177 yards rushing and Williams 154 yards receiving marked the first time Auburn has had a 150-yard rusher and a 150-yard receiver in the same game since Carnell Williams (177 yards rushing) and Tim Carter (156 yards receiving) did it against Arkansas in 2001.
• Daniel Carlson’s 62-yard punt in the second quarter was the longest Auburn punt since a 71-yarder by Kody Bliss against Tulane in 2006.
• Jeremy Johnson (243 yards in first half) is the first Auburn quarterback to throw for more than 200 yards in a half since Cam Newton in 2010 against South Carolina in the SEC championship game (281 yards in first half).
• Nick Marshall’s 19-yard touchdown run in the third quarter was the 13th rushing TD of his career. He has rushed for a touchdown in six consecutive games.
• Jermaine Whitehead’s 32-yard interception return for a touchdown is the second touchdown interception of his career. The first was against Florida Atlantic in 2011. It was Whitehead’s fourth career interception.
• First-time starters for Auburn were defensive end Montravius Adams, safety Johnathan Ford, offensive tackle Shon Coleman, wide receiver Duke Williams and running back Cameron Artis-Payne.Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine