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Fast start: Things clicking for Sean White, Auburn's offense
Sean White with the call: Auburn scores again against Mississippi State
Oct. 8, 2016

By Charles Goldberg

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- One of Sean White's first passes bounced off Tony Stevens' hands and was intercepted.

No problem. The Auburn quarterback did what quarterbacks are supposed to do Saturday. He praised his receiver and kept on passing.

"Tony said, 'That was on me. I'll get you back.' And he did," White said. "I have all the confidence in Tony. I knew he'd bounce back, and we'd bounce back as an offense."

Auburn, White and Stevens certainly did Saturday. The Tigers beat Mississippi State 38-14 after streaking to a crushing 35-0 halftime lead.

"We're starting to click as an offense," White said. "Today helps that even more."

Auburn has won three straight after starting the year losing to two Top 10 teams in the first three weeks.

"It feels a lot better, for sure," White said. "We feel really good. We feel like we have the ball rolling."

All that was more of the same for White, who has shined the last three-or-so weeks in Auburn's controlled passing game. White hit 14-of-18 passes for 204 yards and a touchdown Saturday, though Auburn threw only two passes in the second half. He's hit 77 percent of his passes over the last three games, all wins, and while Auburn has outscored the opposition 120-44.

"That just means we're throwing and catching it well, and coaches are putting us in good spots," White said.

Auburn struggled to score in the red zone when the season began. Not now. Auburn has scored on 14 of its last 16 trips into the red zone the last three weeks, including 5-for-5 against State.

Most of all of this has come since Gus Malzahn handed the play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee. Malzahn says the Tigers have been more balanced since.

White completed passes to eight different players, including Stevens. "Tony is one of our go-to guys," Malzahn said. And Stevens showed it with a team-high three catches for a team-high 64 yards.

Malzahn said White "did a great job managing the game again. We're a run/play-action team. When we're able to run the ball, it opens up the pass. I think Sean was very efficient throwing the football, and made some timely throws."

Handing it off to Kamryn Pettway was a good idea, too. He was an integral part of the offense as well, gaining 169 yards on a workmanlike 39 carries.

"He's a beast of a running back. He's a tough runner," White said. "He's going to get the tough yards, even though it may not look pretty sometimes."

It was pretty to Malzahn.

"We talked about needing to run the ball downhill against these guys," he said. " I thought that was going to be the key to the game. Our offensive line really did a great job getting a push."

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:

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