Auburn's Sean White looks to pass, but most of the day was devoted to the run against San Jose State
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. ― Sean White threw two passes in the second half Saturday, and he was OK with that.
"Coach thought it was best, especially in the second half, to run the ball, and it worked. We scored touchdowns."
Auburn did indeed score touchdowns in the second half when Peyton Barber scored three of his career-best five rushing touchdowns in the final two quarters. That helped the Tigers beat San Jose State 35-21 on an overcast homecoming in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
White, in his second start, completed 6-of-10 passes for 108 yards. Those passes went along with his 20-of-28 passing in his first college game the week before.
"I'm more comfortable, the second time being out there," White said. "I'm just looking forward to keep getting more experience if that's what the coaches ask me."
White said the "story of the game" was Barber.
"I'm just concerned about the offense getting into the end zone, whether it's me passing or me running or Peyton running. It doesn't matter to me. I thought we did a pretty good job of that," White said. "Peyton scored five times, and as long as the offense is scoring, I'm happy."
The low passing total may be a bit unorthodox, but Nick Marshall went even lower when Auburn beat Tennessee 55-23 in 2013. Marshall completed three of seven passes ― for the game ― when coach Gus Malzahn stayed with the run in Knoxville.
Malzahn said don't be misled by White's totals, either, saying he's "very confident" in the passing game.
"We just didn't need to today. We ran the football, and we had short fields. If we had to throw the football, I feel as good as you can about a guy" who was making his second start.
"He competed and did some good things. We will keep taking this thing week-to-week like we have been doing it. We are starting to get good answers to the questions that we needed. There are a bunch of new guys out there, a bunch of young guys in certain situations, so we have a better idea moving forward."
Barber said White's promise is "through the roof."
"I feel like he's a great game manager. At the same time, he can also sling it."
White ran it a little bit, too, gaining 18 yards on four carries.
Malzahn said he was pleased with a White-to-Ricardo Louis pass that went for 31 yards that he called one of the biggest plays of the game.
"He made a really good play when he got the ball off to Ricardo," Malzahn said.
"They brought a zero blitz," White said, "so I thought I'd just give him a chance and he did an amazing job going up for the ball and making the play."
"We worked on that play in practice," Louis said, "and we knew that was going to be a great play. Sean delivered a great ball, and I went and made a play on the ball."
White and fellow quarterback Jeremy Johnson can sort through things during the upcoming open date. White said his plan is to improve the "timing of the passing game, building chemistry and getting better."
Then, the offense will try it again, this time against Kentucky on a Thursday night, Oct. 15, in Lexington.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine