Here comes Roc Thomas and Auburn...
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Roc Thomas' first Auburn carry was memorable.
He scored a touchdown.
Mark it down as a 3-yard run that came in the fourth quarter in Auburn's 59-13 win over San Jose State on Saturday night in Jordan-Hare State. He finished with 51 yards on nine carries.
Ah, but that first carry? "It was great!" Thomas said. "We executed as a team and we got the ball in the end zone."
Cameron Artis-Payne led Auburn with 112 yards and three touchdowns, but there was room for Thomas to get into the action. That's something coach Gus Malzahn had talked about, even during the summer.
"It's great to have a great team behind me, and tell me to just be ready," Thomas said.
Thomas said the veterans helped. "It's great because they're right behind you, telling you what you did wrong if you don't know something and how to correct it."
Thomas' entry into college football didn't go unnoticed. Other younger players got in, too.
"We played a lot of guys," Malzahn said.
San Jose State coach Ron Caragher saw them all. He put a positive spin on the experience for his players.
"I told the players there is no need to hang your head," he said. "I thought we played hard.
"I am thankful for the opportunity to play this game. There are some encouraging things that we can learn from and go back and watch. But, all-in-all, it was a good football team, and when you play them you’ve to play flawless football, and it kind of got away there."
Other notes of interest, provided by Auburn athletics…
• Auburn's fast start includes 449 first-quarter yards in wins over Arkansas and San Jose State
• Auburn’s 104 points over the first two games is its most in the first two games of a season since scoring 122 in the first two games of 1995.
• Auburn has now had at least one 100-yard rusher in a now-school-record eight straight games.
• Auburn has scored at least one rushing touchdown in 13 straight games.
• Auburn has scored an offensive touchdown in 31 of its last 32 quarters.
• Auburn has rushed for at least 200 yards in each of its last 13 games, the longest active streak in the FBS.
• Auburn is 10-for-10 in the red zone this season (nine touchdowns, one field goal) after going 7-for-7 against San Jose State (six touchdowns).
• Auburn held San Jose State without a second-half touchdown and has not allowed a second-half touchdown this season, surrendering three second-half points.
• Cameron Artis-Payne’s 6-yard, 5-yard and 1-yard TD runs in the first half give him four TD runs this season and 10 for his career. It was his first career multiple-touchdown game.
• Roc Thomas is the first Auburn player to score a touchdown on his first career touch since Marcus Davis (18-yard receiving touchdown from Nick Marshall) vs. Arkansas State in 2013.
• Jermaine Whitehead’s interception was his second of the season (following his TD last week vs. Arkansas) and the fifth pick of his career. Jerraud Powers in 2007 vs. Georgia and Alabama was the last Auburn player to have interceptions in back-to-back games.
• Nick Marshall’s 27-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter was the 14th rushing TD of his career. He has rushed for at least one touchdown in seven consecutive games. Marshall has now thrown and rushed for a touchdown in the same game seven times in his career.
• Jeremy Johnson recorded the first rushing touchdown of his career with a 1-yard score in the fourth quarter.
• San José State had the nation’s longest active TD scoring string of 12 straight quarters snapped in the second quarter.
• It was Auburn's first sellout in a non-conference game at Jordan-Hare Stadium since the Chattanooga game in 2010.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine