Kamryn Pettway, Auburn run past Mississippi State

Published 9:09 pm Saturday, October 8, 2016

Associated Press

STARKVILLE — Auburn’s Kamryn Pettway has big, broad shoulders and a knack for finding room to run.

So when the 6-foot, 240-pound sophomore had some early success against Mississippi State, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn made sure he got the ball again and again and again.

The end result was a career day for Pettway and an easy 38-14 victory for the Tigers over Mississippi State on Saturday. Pettway finished with career highs in rushing yards (169), touchdowns (3) and carries (39).

Auburn quarterback Sean White threw for 204 yards and a touchdown, but the most effective thing he did all day was simply turn and had the ball to Pettway, who ran over, around and through an overmatched Mississippi State defense.

“He’s a beast of a running back,” White said. “He’s just a tough runner. He’ll get the tough yards. It might not always be pretty, but he’s a really good asset for us to have.”

Pettway thrived despite the heavy workload, running for 125 yards and three touchdowns in the first half as Auburn built a 35-0 lead.

His role increased after starting running back Kerryon Johnson suffered a right ankle injury in the first quarter and didn’t return. Malzahn said he hoped Johnson’s injury wasn’t serious.

Auburn (4-2, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) has won three straight and now gets two weeks to rest before facing Arkansas on Oct. 22.

“We really like the momentum we have,” Malzahn said. “We’ve talked about getting better each week and we’ve done that. We’re in a good spot.”

Mississippi State (2-3, 1-2) actually had a little momentum in the game’s opening minutes when Kivon Coman intercepted a deflected pass to give the Bulldogs’ great field position at the Auburn 19. But five plays later, Westin Graves missed a 28-yard field goal.

It only got worse for Mississippi State.

Auburn scored touchdowns on five of its next seven drives to take control of the game. By late in the second quarter, boos could be heard from the home crowd as Mississippi State’s struggling offense took the field.