Drive Chart
MERCER
AUBURN

No Text

No. 15 Auburn overcomes 5 turnovers to beat Mercer 24-10

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) Auburn turned in another ugly offensive performance.

This time, the No. 15 Tigers couldn't pin it on their opponent.

In an inexcusable display of sloppiness, Auburn turned the ball over five times - four fumbles and an interception - but still managed to win only because it was going against an overmatched opponent. A 24-10 victory over FCS school Mercer on Saturday provided little reason to believe that coach Gus Malzahn's team is ready to challenge Alabama's dominance in the Southeastern Conference.

Kamryn Pettway ran for 128 yards and three touchdowns , while Jason Stidham completed 32 of 37 for 364 yards.

But this is not exactly what the Tigers (2-1) were looking for after being held without a touchdown in a 14-6 loss at third-ranked Clemson the previous week.

''Obviously, it was a little sloppy,'' Malzahn said in quite an understatement. ''It kind of snowballed on us.''

Mercer, which only resumed its football program five years ago and plays a division down in the Southern Conference, gave the Tigers all they could handle, much to a chagrin of a disgruntled crowd at Jordan-Hare Stadium - many of whom didn't bother returning to their seats after a lackluster first half in which the home team led only 10-3.

Auburn's woes could be attributed largely to an inability to hold onto the ball. The Tigers lost three fumbles in the first half and another returning a punt on what should've been their first possession of the second half. Stidham was picked off when Kam Lott ripped the ball away from Nate Craig-Myers , a lackluster effort by the intended receiver that symbolized the entire afternoon.

The Bears (1-2) fell behind 17-3 on Pettway's second TD, a 9-yard run midway through the third quarter. But the private school from Macon, Georgia made things interesting with its only drive of any significance in the game. Mercer pushed 83 yards in 12 plays, capped by Kaelan Riley's 7-yard scoring pass to Marquise Irvin with just less than 14 minutes to go.

Even when the Tigers managed to keep possession of the ball, they couldn't help but shoot themselves in the foot. After Riley's TD pass, Auburn drove downfield for what should have been a decisive score. But two holding penalties and an unsportsmanlike conduct kept the Tigers from reaching the end zone, and normally dependable kicker Daniel Carlson hooked a chip-shot attempt from 26 yards to keep Mercer within range of a massive upset.

The Bears couldn't take advantage of the opportunity. Auburn finally put the game away with Pettway's third TD - a 4-yard run with 4:50 remaining.

But the Tigers were more relieved than excited when this one ended.

''A few mistakes here and there, but a tremendous effort,'' Mercer coach Bobby Lamb said. ''I can't be more proud of a football team for coming into a place like this and playing the way we did.''

THE TAKEAWAY

Mercer: The Bears left the field to a rousing ovation from those who made the short trip from Macon. With good reason. They avoided what everyone expected to be a blowout in their first game against a nationally ranked FBS or SEC team since returning to the gridiron in 2013.

Auburn: The Tigers have a lot of work to do offensively, despite piling up a 510-245 lead in total yards. All those turnovers can't be ignored, six penalties were another reason for concern, and the running game must improve as well. They were held to 146 yards on 43 carries, an average of just 3.4 yards.

CARTED OFF

There was a scary moment in the second quarter . Auburn right tackle Darius James was carted off the field on a stretcher after being injured on what appeared to be a routine, 3-yard run by Pettway.

When James went down, teammate Mike Horton landed on his back. The 324-pound senior remained sprawled out on the turf, face down and showing no movement while being treated.

James' neck was stabilized and he was flipped over gently onto a backboard before being lifted onto the stretcher.

James had feeling in his extremities when he was taken to East Alabama Medical Center for further evaluation. After the game, Malzahn said the player was doing well and would make a full recovery.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Despite the win, Auburn can expect to tumble at least a few spots in the next Associated Press poll.

There was nothing in this performance to impress the voters.

UP NEXT

Mercer: The Bears return to their usual level of play when they visit East Tennessee State for a Southern Conference game.

Auburn: The Tigers travel to Missouri for the SEC opener.

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Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 . His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/paul%20newberry

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For more AP college football coverage: www.collegefootball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-Top25

Copyright 2017 by STATS. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS is strictly prohibited.

Scoring Summary
4th Quarter
No scoring this quarter
3rd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
2nd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Field Goal 5:12
98-C.Fisher 21 yards Field Goal is Good.
5
plays
-38
yds
02:03
pos
3
7
1st Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 1:03
38-D.Carlson extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
0
7
Touchdown 1:03
36-K.Pettway runs 4 yards for a touchdown.
12
plays
32
yds
03:35
pos
0
6
Team Stats
1st Downs 5 11
Rushing 2 5
Passing 2 6
Penalty 1 0
3rd Down Conv 3-9 5-8
4th Down Conv 0-0 0-0
Total Net Yards 92 250
Total Plays 30 38
Avg Gain 3.1 6.6
Net Yards Rushing 49 83
Rush Attempts 16 21
Avg Rush Yards 3.1 4.0
Net Yards Passing 43 167
Comp. - Att. 9-14 15-17
Yards Per Pass 3.1 9.8
Sacked - Yards Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties - Yards 0-0 4-20
Touchdowns 0 1
Rushing TDs 0 1
Passing TDs 0 0
Other 0 0
Turnovers 0 3
Fumbles - Lost 0-0 3-3
Int. Thrown 0 0
Punts - Avg 5-42.8 2-36.5
Return Yards 0 22
Punts - Returns 0-0 3-22
Kickoffs - Returns 0-0 0-0
Int. - Returns 0-0 0-0
Kicking 1/1 1/1
Extra Points 0/0 1/1
Field Goals 1/1 0/0
Safeties 0 0
1234T
Mercer 1-2 030710
15 Auburn 2-1 737724
43 PASS YDS 167
49 RUSH YDS 83
92 TOTAL YDS 250
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT
K. Riley 1 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
64.3% 43 0 0 90.1
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
60.3% 416 5 4 124.2
K. Riley 9/14 43 0 0
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
C. Leggett 7 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
6 33 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
23 88 1
C. Leggett 6 33 0 14
T. Mitchell 28 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
8 13 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
28 85 0
T. Mitchell 8 13 0 6
K. Riley 1 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
2 3 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
24 71 3
K. Riley 2 3 0 2
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
S. Walker 87 TE
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
4 24 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
9 71 2
S. Walker 4 24 0 13
T. Mitchell 28 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
3 8 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
6 40 0
T. Mitchell 3 8 0 7
M. Irvin 8 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 7 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
11 65 1
M. Irvin 1 7 0 7
A. Ward 84 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 4 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
8 117 1
A. Ward 1 4 0 4
Defense T-A SACK INT
L. Bailey 16 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
L. Bailey 1-0 0.0 0
S. Houzah 3 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
S. Houzah 1-0 0.0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
C. Fisher 98 K
IN-GAME FG XP
1/1 0/0
SEASON FG XP
3/4 9/9
C. Fisher 1/1 21 0/0 3
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
G. Goupil 97 K
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
5 42.8 3
SEASON NO AVG IN20
11 39.7 3
G. Goupil 5 42.8 3 52
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT
J. Stidham 8 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
88.2% 167 0 0 170.8
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
64.6% 431 2 1 127.4
J. Stidham 15/17 167 0 0
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
K. Pettway 36 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
17 68 1
SEASON ATT YDS TD
39 142 1
K. Pettway 17 68 1 22
J. Stidham 8 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
4 15 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
31 -10 1
J. Stidham 4 15 0 6
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
W. Hastings 33 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 65 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
8 145 1
W. Hastings 2 65 0 38
N. Igbinoghene 4 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
3 24 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
4 23 0
N. Igbinoghene 3 24 0 14
R. Davis 23 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
3 19 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
13 74 1
R. Davis 3 19 0 9
E. Stove 12 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 18 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
5 40 0
E. Stove 2 18 0 12
N. Craig-Myers 3 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 18 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
2 41 0
N. Craig-Myers 1 18 0 18
D. Barrett 5 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 12 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
2 12 0
D. Barrett 2 12 0 9
K. Davis 11 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 6 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
2 13 0
K. Davis 1 6 0 6
S. Cannella 80 TE
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 5 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
2 24 0
S. Cannella 1 5 0 5
Defense T-A SACK INT
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
D. Carlson 38 K
IN-GAME FG XP
0/0 1/1
SEASON FG XP
4/6 6/6
D. Carlson 0/0 0 1/1 1
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
I. Shannon 43 K
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
2 36.5 1
SEASON NO AVG IN20
11 39.9 1
I. Shannon 2 36.5 1 45
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
S. Roberts 14 DB
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
3 7.3 9 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
5 10.6 9 0
S. Roberts 3 7.3 9 0
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
13:29 MERCER 25 1:49 3 6 Punt
9:01 MERCER 13 4:15 9 38 Punt
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
15:00 MERCER 43 2:26 5 10 Punt
10:54 MERCER 47 1:50 3 8 Punt
7:15 AUBURN 27 2:03 5 23 FG
2:23 MERCER 9 0:46 3 4 Punt
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
15:00 AUBURN 35 1:25 6 41 FUMBLE
11:25 AUBURN 26 2:15 6 10 Punt
4:38 AUBURN 15 3:35 12 85 TD
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
12:21 AUBURN 16 1:12 3 9 Punt
8:54 AUBURN 4 1:31 5 23 FUMBLE
5:09 AUBURN 25 2:43 9 58