Auburn's Sean White was on the go in the second half against Vanderbilt
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Sean White said the coaches kept asking him about his health. Sean White kept saying he was ready to play.
"'Coach, I can go'" is the way the Auburn quarterback remembers the conversation, and so off he went to help the Tigers beat Vanderbilt 23-16 Saturday in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
White didn't start for the first time this season because he was nursing an injury. He didn't play until after halftime. He quickly rallied Auburn from a 13-10 deficit and the Tigers held on down the stretch.
Coach Gus Malzahn said White didn't take a single snap in practice leading up to the game.
You couldn't tell.
White completed his first seven passes and finished hitting 10-of-13 for 106 yards and a touchdown. Make it the go-ahead touchdown when White found his secondary receiver in Darius Slayton in the end zone.
"I just knew I might be called upon if I was needed," White said. "My team needed me and I just wanted to come out and give them my best effort and just try to lead them and provide a spark. We ended up winning the game against a really good team."
Auburn improved to 7-2 overall and 5-1 in the Southeastern Conference, and, with Mississippi State's win over Texas A&M on Saturday, can win the SEC West if its betas Georgia and Alabama. The Tigers are in Athens next Saturday.
Coach Gus Malzahn said White was one of several Auburn players who came into the game injured, and more that left the way. But it was White who came off the bench to replace John Franklin III.
"He was banged up," Malzahn said. "He was hurt and couldn't practice, didn't take one practice snap, so we just built our game plan around John.
"Sean threw some in warmups and moved around. It was one of those deals where he thought he could go. At halftime, we just made the move. He was ready to go and obviously gave our offense a spark. It looked like our offense. I'm real proud of him. He showed a lot of toughness."
Malzahn wouldn't identify the injury, but said White "took a beating" the week before at Ole Miss. That's why Auburn had turned to Franklin, who rushed 59 yards on only seven carries in the first half, though he fumbled.
"I'm proud of John," Malzahn said. "I will say that was his first start against a really good team, and really you take away the fumble, and he managed the game pretty well. I'm proud of him and that will help him moving forward, to have some real game reps, to see what it feels like, the pressure, the way he responded.
"I thought he did a good job in the zone read, but it's kind of one of those deals at halftime where we just felt we needed a spark."
Malzahn wouldn't identify the injury, but said White "took a beating" the week before at Ole Miss.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine