Auburn holds off big underdog San Jose State, 24-16

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AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — TJ Finley, Jarquez Hunter and Tank Bigsby rushed for touchdowns and Auburn held on to beat San Jose State 24-16 on Saturday night.

The Tigers (2-0) scored three times in the second half after the Spartans (1-1) took a 10-7 halftime lead. Auburn struggled to hold off the more than three touchdown underdogs, who added a late field goal to stay alive.

The kick in play went out of bounds intact to end the threat, although it wasn’t pretty.

“Coach (Bryan) Harsin just talked about it,” said Finley, who started at quarterback again. “We could easily have lost this game.

“Going out there and finding a way to get the job done is all that matters. It doesn’t matter how much we won.

The Tigers couldn’t get comfortable at all until Finley rushed in for a 4-yard touchdown and a 24-13 lead early in the fourth. He set it up with a 24-yard pass to Ja’Varrius Johnson.

But Auburn’s squad of quarterbacks Finley and Ashford continued to produce inconsistent results — and one interception apiece.

Finley completed 13 of 20 passes for 167 yards. Ashford’s three attempts scored just a 1-yard completion, but he ran for a gain of 30 yards and 61 yards.

Auburn has won two in a row after finishing last season on a five-game slip.

“Just to finish and play well enough in the second half to win. We didn’t do that sometimes in last year‘s squad,” Harsin said. emphasized starting in January and we emphasized that throughout fall camp.”

San Jose State’s Chevan Cordeiro passed 24 of 40 for 275 yards and scored a field goal in the final minutes. Charles Ross caught five passes for 89 yards.

Auburn’s first two touchdowns were kept alive by fourth-down conversions, including one where Finley recovered a sloppy snap. He dropped the ball, picked it up and hit Bigsby in the flat for an 11 yard.

Bigsby then dove into the end zone for a 1-yard score early in the third quarter.

Spartans coach Brent Brennan was trying to provoke another upset from the SEC. San Jose State beat Arkansas 31-24 in 2019 in its only other attempt.

“It was great to see how they reacted to the ups and downs,” Brennan said. a football match. »

San Jose State entered the locker room with a halftime lead thanks to Kairee Robinson’s 1-yard touchdown in the final minute.

Hunter had scored on a 7-yarder for Auburn. Finley made a half-time promise to his teammates.

“I was like, ‘Guys, I got you all. I won’t make any more mistakes and we’re going to win this game,'” said Finley, who completed 12 of 15 passes after his interception. from the bottom of the heart.”

TAKE AWAY

San Jose State: Had a few chances to bolster their upset bid, missing a field goal and having to settle for three after the first and 1-goal thanks to back-to-back false start penalties.

Auburn: Didn’t seem to resolve the quarterback situation with much tougher opponents looming, with Ashford serving primarily as a runner and Finley as a setter. But the defense held off San Jose State until the offense came in the second half.

CARLSON MONTE

Auburn kicker Anders Carlson passed Wes Byrum for second in Auburn’s scoring standings with 364. His older brother, Daniel, holds the record with 480.

NEXT

San Jose State hosts West Michigan on September 24 after an open date.

Auburn hosts Penn State next Saturday in its first major Test.

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