Auburn's Jeremy Johnson had reason to smile in a win over Texas A&M
By Charles Goldberg
COLLEGE STATION, Texas ― Jeremy Johnson was waving his arms to get his teammates fired up between the third and fourth quarters, embraced the fans when it was over and, maybe most of all, remembered how to have a good time.
The Auburn quarterback started in place of injured Sean White and turned in a complete performance in leading the Tigers to a convincing 26-10 win over Texas A&M on Saturday night.
Johnson, who started the first three games before giving way to White, said it was fun to, well, just have fun again.
"That's the biggest thing I was missing at the beginning of the season," he said. "I was just too uptight. Keeping a smile on my face made things better."
Johnson smiled. Auburn fans, too. Johnson completed his first nine passes and finished with a solid 13-of-17 passing night for 132 yards and a touchdown. He and running back Jovon Robinson led Auburn's offense to a 14-3 lead early in the second quarter. Johnson, Robinson and the Tigers' defense kept Texas A&M at a long arm's length the rest of the way.
"That's how it was supposed to have been," Johnson said.
"My teammates believed in me whether I was sitting or starting. They've been telling me all week, and in the locker room before the game, 'I believe in you.' I just took that to heart.
"It was definitely fun. That's what I've been missing out on: Having fun."
Coach Gus Malzahn said Johnson "did a very good job."
"I'm very proud of him to come in here and get the victory on the road. He just did a phenomenal job running the offense. He really played well."
Johnson said he learned he would start on Thursday at the end of a practice week in which White didn't take a snap because of a sore knee that almost knocked him out of the game the week before against Ole Miss.
With White sidelined, and the pressure on, Malzahn said, "Jeremy had a great week of practice."
Malzahn said Johnson was always ready despite missteps early in the season.
"I think it says a lot about his character. He went through a storm early in the season, and he kept working," Malzahn said.
"To perform like he did on the road, in this environment, says a lot about him."
Malzahn wouldn't speculate who would start at quarterback next, saying he would, in the short term, spend time enjoying the win. Johnson was humble in victory. He praised White.
"I really played this game for him. He's been a great player, a great teammate," Johnson said.
He also said running backs Jovon Robinson and Peyton Barber deserve the credit, along with the offensive line.
"They were moving those guys," Johnson said. "The running backs had huge holes, Jovon and Peyton ran the ball so well. That really got the offense going. We just took off from there."
That 9-for-9 passing start didn't hurt, either.
"I knew I was going to come along as the season went on. Obviously, my number got pulled so all I could do is prepare and be a team player."
"We had been preaching all week to get a win at Texas A&M because this is a great place to play. I just cherish the moment and the team.
"It feels good to have a victory. That's all that matters."
The game story is here.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine