By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Bo Jackson rushed for 100 yards in his Auburn debut. Lionel James crossed that barrier for the first time in the same game.
"Those two," deadpanned Gus Malzahn on Thursday night, "were pretty good right there."
Good enough for, among other things, a quirky school record that stood unmatched from 1982… until the Auburn coach found two more running backs to tie that mark last Saturday night.
Kerryon Johnson and Kamryn Pettway became only the second Auburn running back tandem to have their first 100-yard rushing night in the same game in last weekend's 51-14 win over Arkansas State.
"We were very pleased with our two," Malzahn said. "I thought they did a very good job and made some very good runs."
Pettway finished with 152 yards. Johnson went for 124. Auburn will be looking for more runs in this Saturday's SEC opener against Texas A&M at 6 p.m. in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Pettway won on the stat sheet, but it was Johnson with one of the plays of the night when he caught a lateral from a falling Sean White on one sideline, raced across the field and scored running down the other sideline.
Forty-seven yards, opening up as Johnson turned up field. Told you so.
"I think I told our coaches he's gone. That was a 'wow' play. That was really something," Malzahn said on Auburn's Tiger Talk radio show.
"There were a lot of plays weren't completely in the system that our guys made. That's part of being a good offense."
Malzahn said the offense improved from the opener to the win over Arkansas State. He said he expected it would. He also said offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee and offensive line coach Herb Hand, his old friend when they were both at Tulsa, have worked well putting together a plan for the offense.
"They do a great job each week. It's been a very good team between those two. They'll continue to put the plan together," Malzahn said.
Some other notes from Tiger Talk…
• Malzahn said he was impressed with another "wow" play, the one in which freshman receiver Kyle Davis caught a pass one-handed pass in heavy traffic. Another thing Malzahn liked about the play? He said Davis quickly popped up and looked to the sidelines for the next play rather than celebrate.
• "We've had a very good week of practice," Malzahn said. "Our guys have a lot of respect for Texas A&M. Our guys are locked in. You can tell it's the first SEC game, not that our guys didn't prepare the first two weeks, but SEC games are different."
• Malzahn praised Daniel Carlson, whose 21 points last Saturday was the most for a kicker in a game in school history. He got six of those points when he ran 20 yards for a touchdown on a fake field goal.
Kicking real field goals remains his specialty.
"I think you'll see him continue to get chances 50-plus. He can really kick it. Now, you saw he can run a little bit, too. He's an athlete. That was impressive."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine