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Auburn football: Thorne becoming a leader for bowl-bound Tigers

Glenn Sattell | 22 hours ago

5–6 minutes

Hugh Freeze is building something special on The Plains. The Auburn Tigers became bowl eligible again on Saturday, flattening Arkansas, 48-10, on the road for their 6th win of the season. Auburn improved to 6-4 (3-4 SEC) with 2 games remaining, and it will return to the postseason after breaking a streak of 9 bowl appearances last year.

Call it an easy stretch in the schedule, continued development of the program or, more realistically, a little of both. But Auburn is looking like a formidable team. And it hasn’t always been that way this season.

Auburn’s mashing of Arkansas was its 3rd consecutive victory, all in SEC play. Wins over Mississippi State, Vanderbilt and Arkansas were a positive response to the Tigers’ 4-game skid that included losses to Texas A&M, Georgia, LSU and Ole Miss.

But the schedule has eased up a bit, and the Tigers are taking advantage. Included in the win streak are back-to-back SEC road victories (at Vanderbilt and Arkansas). That’s an accomplishment regardless of the opposition.

It’s no coincidence that Auburn’s recent streak has run parallel with the maturity of quarterback Payton Thorne in the system. Since being given the keys to the offense, Thorne has been a different player — a more confident player, a more free-wheeling player who has allowed his natural athletic ability to shine.

No longer looking over his shoulder or in a platoon with now-backup QB Robby Ashford, Thorne has taken command of an offense that rolled up 517 total yards vs. the Hogs. The passing quarterback — who threw for 3,232 yards at Michigan State in 2021 before transferring to Auburn prior to this season — has turned into a dual-threat QB, using his legs to add another dimension to his game.

The combination of run and pass has worked well for the mobile QB. In those 3 straight victories, Thorne threw for a combined 587 yards and 8 TDs with just 2 picks. He completed 49 of 73 passes. In addition, Thorne rushed for 166 yards and 1 TD on 32 carries.

It’s a welcome infusion to an offense that had struggled mightily to that point. Saturday marked Auburn’s first 500-yard conference game since 2020, when the Tigers totaled 506 yards in a 48-11 victory over LSU.

Now that the Tigers have punched their ticket for the postseason, they can turn their attention to the final 2 games of the regular season. Both will be at Jordan-Hare. The Tigers welcome in C-USA foe New Mexico State on Saturday, then play the Iron Bowl.

Auburn will be a healthy favorite for Saturday, and a 7-win season is likely. The Tigers haven’t recorded more than 6 wins in a season since 2019, when a Gus Malzahn-coached team posted a 9-4 record.

Don’t look now, but if the Tigers win out — knock off New Mexico State on Saturday and upset the Tide in the Iron Bowl — they would equal that 9-4 mark by adding a bowl victory to an already successful season.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Enjoy the big win over Arkansas and get ready to take out the non-conference foe. Then go into the Iron Bowl with a possible 4-game winning streak and a 7-4 record overall.

That would be pretty impressive, especially considering that the Tigers are coming off back-to-back losing seasons. The work Freeze has done through the portal in rebuilding the roster, as well as his hands-on work with the offense, have paid dividends.

And it’s just the beginning. Give Freeze some time to really put his stamp on the program, and the sky is the limit to what he can do at Auburn. The future looks bright.


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Auburn lands commitment from 2025 Top247 TE Ryan Ghea

Christian Clemente

2–3 minutes

Ghea is the sixth addition to Auburn's 2025 class.

While Ryan Ghea recently said that he planned to wait to make a decision until February, the Top247 tight end in the 2025 class didn’t need to wait any longer.

Ghea, ranked as the No. 234 player and No. 12 tight end, announced his commitment to Auburn on Sunday. From Milton (Ga.), Ghea is ranked as the No. 29 player from Georgia in his recruiting class.

"It’s definitely their tight end usage, their education, they’re closest to home and how I feel once I get on campus," Ghea said after his most recent visit to campus.

The Milton product is commitment No. 6 for Auburn early in the 2025 cycle, pushing the Tigers up to the No. 5 class in the 247Sports team recruiting rankings. Ghea is joined on offense by offensive tackle Spencer Dowland, with defensive lineman Jourdin Crawford and Malik Autry, edge rusher Jakaleb Faulk and safety Kendarius Reddick the rest of the class.

Ghea is listed at 6-foot-5 and over 231 pounds, as he quickly became a top priority for Ben Aigamaua, Freeze and the Auburn staff in the next cycle.

“It means a lot to me. It means once again that I am a priority to them and they think that I can be a part of their program and make an impact,” Ghea said. “I think he’s (Freeze) a great coach, great guy, great family man and he’s turning this program back to where it should be."

Miami, Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan and Wisconsin were Ghea’s other finalists.

The message from the Auburn staff over the past couple of months has been clear.

"They’ve been telling me how much that could be me out there playing and making all those plays and getting Jordan-Hare loud on Saturdays," Ghea said. "They keep pushing me and getting me here at Auburn."

And now, the message is welcome aboard.

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Auburn offensive line running game hit their stride

Jason Caldwell
6–7 minutes

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Auburn dominated Arkansas on the ground in Saturday's win.

FAYETTEVILLE, Arkansas—When Hugh Freeze was hired at Auburn, one of the things that had to be addressed first was the offensive line. Going back to the 2020 signing class, the only offensive linemen still on Auburn’s roster are Tate Johnson, Jeremiah Wright and Eston Harris. That’s it.

With a veteran like Kameron Stutts still holding things down at the guard position, the Tigers had a whole lot of work to do in a short time. Beginning in December, Freeze and coach Jake Thornton began to chip away up front, adding transfers Dillon Wade and Gunner Britton in December along with junior college tackle Izavion Miller before finishing it off with Avery Jones. They also flipped Connor Lew from Miami in the early signing period a year ago. All of those players have become starters in just that short time and have made a difference, as has summer transfer Jaden Muskrat.

The results are a much-improved offensive line and a running attack that somehow finds itself 10th in the country (207.2 yards per game) following a dominant performance in Saturday’s win over Arkansas. Miller said it may have been their best game of the season.

“Well, it felt good,” he said. “Worked all week on it in practice. To come out here and dominate like you know you're supposed to — like you did in practice — it feels good. And you did it at an away game.”

Freeze didn’t even have to think about it when asked if it was their best game. Piling up 354 yards rushing and averaging 6.4 yards per carry in the process, the Tigers dominated the game at the line of scrimmage.

“No question,” Freeze said when asked if it was the best game up front. “Even when we started milking it halfway through the third quarter and everyone knew we were running it, I mean our O-line was physical, our backs ran physical. That was really, really good to see.”

12101313.jpg?fit=bounds&crop=620:320,offset-y0.50&width=620&height=320 Auburn's offensive line and tight ends clear a huge hole in the third quarter for Damari Alston. (Photo: Jason Caldwell, 247Sports)

Miller has been a big part of that change on the offensive line. A junior college transfer that’s just scratching the surface of what he can be at tackle, he said the key for the offensive line has just been work and continuing to pay attention to the details.

We've been really good with our communicating,” he said. “It's been a big emphasis at practice. I think we're doing well at it.”

It doesn’t hurt that running back Jarquez Hunter is hitting his stride and Damari Alston is healthy once again. That 1-2 punch along with Brian Battie and Jeremiah Cobb gives Auburn a strong group of backs to go along with Payton Thorne, who is making very good decisions in the run game.

Add it all up and you have an offensive line and a running game that is beginning to get some mojo going.

“Everybody's just getting yards, and we're moving people,” Miller said. “It's good to see. Everybody's doing great.”

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Why a meeting with Hugh Freeze led Auburn to play its best offense of the year

Updated: Nov. 12, 2023, 1:08 p.m.|Published: Nov. 12, 2023, 8:48 a.m.
6–7 minutes

Hugh Freeze had had enough.

This is his offense, but it had been awful. He’d tried to stay away. But after an October loss to Ole Miss — Auburn’s fourth in a row — and an offense that had gained more than 300 yards against a Power 5 opponent just once all season, staying away was just no longer an option.

Freeze hasn’t seemed comfortable with the role he’s had for the majority of the season. He’s talked about how hard it has been for him to pass off play-calling duties — the first time he’s done that as a head coach. After Auburn’s loss to LSU, Freeze questioned why Auburn isn’t running the up-tempo offense more — the type of play that is so central to his style.

But he still tried to stay away. To let offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery be in control and let himself focus more on recruiting.

Until he couldn’t take it anymore.

“I went in after the Ole Miss game and I said, ‘This is it, this is what we’re doing,’'” Freeze said. “‘And don’t anybody ask me anything else, becuase this is what we’re doing.’”

That moment of Freeze putting his foot down will be the key moment in a turnaround that seemed highly unlikely for an offense that had played so poorly over the first seven games. Freeze expanded his role in game planning in addition to play calling. After beating Arkasnas 48-10 for a third win in a row, Freeze said play calling is now a mixture of himself, Montgomery and even offensive line coach Jake Thornton.

In a response to a question about defensive coordinator Ron Roberts on Monday before the Arkansas game, Freeze had said he likes to hire people and get out of their way “until they prove they can or can’t.”

He tried to stay out of Montogmery’s way. But he’s stepped in now. After struggling to grapple with his own choice to give up some offensive responsibility, he made his change.

It’s worked.

The offense now with Freeze’s fingerprints on it has run more of the up-tempo, run-pass-option scheme Freeze knows best. Auburn has had its three best games of the season since he became more involved.

“Look, the responsibility lies with me if we play well or we don’t,” Freeze said. “We had a dang chance to win a few other games, and I wish I had put my foot down earlier and said, ‘This is the only thing I feel comfortable being able to help. If we operate like this, I can help.’ And that’s probably the turning point.”

Auburn’s players see the difference as an offense that finally found confidence.

During the losing streak, Freeze had said he worked with quarterback Payton Thorne to improve his pocket presence. Thorne was consistently holding onto the ball too long and making wrong reads on RPO plays. Freeze, too, had said throughout the season Auburn’s performances at practices were not translating to games.

But Auburn is seeing that translation now, and jack linebacker Elijah McAllister has seen an “elevated” confidence from the offense he faces each day in practice. That elevation has led to a group of 11 on the field that no longer lives with doubt it can produce. But how exactly does a team improve its confidence on the heels of a four-game losing streak?

“Just belief that the score can lie to you sometimes,” McAllister said. “Belief in what you see on the tape and the plays that can show up on Saturdays. The ball can roll either way. Just practice really hard. We’ve got a pretty good defense practicing against us, making plays against us helps too.”

The emergence has seen Auburn produce more than 400 yards of offense in each of the three straight wins including 517 against Arkansas. Thorne has played his best football without quarterback rotation with Robby Ashford and running back Jarquez Hunter has rushed for more than 100 yards in three straight games.

“Coach Freeze, his track record speaks for itself,” Thorne said. “To be honest, I don’t really know how much he is calling, I’m not on the headset. I don’t have the NFL earpiece. So I don’t know exactly how much he’s calling, but I know he’s calling some plays. He’s calling some good ones. He’s dialing up the defense right now and it’s fun to play.”

Thorne helped lead Auburn’s dominant performance Saturday. Thorne played 10 drives before he was pulled from the game due to the margin Auburn led by. Auburn scored on seven of those drives.

The success, Thorne believes, is because he feels as confident in this new offense as he has all season. Thorne said he recently has had meetings with Freeze to discuss not just Auburn’s gameplan for a given week, but why Auburn is running certain schemes or designs in certain situations. It’s helped Thorne gain a greater understanding of his job.

Gaining confidence and comfort in this new offense has taken time for Thorne after his transfer from Michigan State. Freeze has said part of his stepping into the offense meant accepting that Thorne had the best knowledge of the RPO schemes compared to other quarterbacks and thus greatly diminishing Ashford’s role to not playing at all except in mop-up duty.

Part of the issues the offense faced was a group of new players taking time to learn a new scheme. But the sudden upward trend of this offense after Freeze stepped in would make Montgomery’s role with the team not quite clear.

That question will play itself out in the offseason. It will provide more clarity on how responsibility has been broken down this season after Freeze added his footprint.

This offense isn’t going to go without Freeze’s mark again this season.

Matt Cohen covers Auburn sports for AL.com. You can follow him on X at @Matt_Cohen_ or email him at mcohen@al.com

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Hugh Freeze and Auburn’s recruiting tear continues with commitment of 2025 4-star tight end

Published: Nov. 12, 2023, 2:32 p.m.

2–3 minutes

Auburn head coach Hugh Freeze reacts after a score against Mississippi State during the second half an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)AP

Hugh Freeze and the Auburn Tigers are winning more than just football games.

On a three-game win streak, Freeze and the Tigers have set the recruiting trail ablaze in the past three days.

First Auburn was the choice destination of the No. 1 safety out of the junior college ranks as Laquan Robinson committed to the Tigers on Friday. Then Auburn flipped 4-star edge rusher Jamonta Waller away from the Florida Gators after Saturday’s dominating win at Arkansas.

And the ball kept rolling into Sunday afternoon as Ryan Ghea, a 4-star tight end out of Alpharetta, Ga., announced his commitment to Freeze and the Tigers.

Ghea, who ranks as the 12th-best tight end in the country according to 247Sports, hauled in 41 offers before pledging to Auburn Sunday. Some of those offers came from some of the top programs in the country like Florida State, Michigan and Ohio State.

But it was Auburn that impressed Ghea the most.

Ghea first visited The Plains in late January of this year as he participated in Auburn’s Junior Day. And he’s since returned three — twice in the spring and most recently on Nov. 7, when Ghea dropped by during Auburn’s practice.

With Ghea’s commitment, the Tigers have secured their first tight end commit under Freeze. Ghea also becomes Auburn’s sixth commit in Freeze’s early-developing 2025 recruiting class, which ranked as the sixth-best class in the country prior to Ghea’s announcement on Sunday.

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'Throw the first punch:' Auburn's early haymakers silence antsy Arkansas crowd

Nathan King
7–9 minutes

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“We're taking whoever gets to go out on the field first — offensively or defensively — and set the tone."

FAYETTEVILLE, Arkansas — It’s not often a home team is being booed less than halfway through the opening quarter.

But Auburn’s tail-kicking in its road finale certainly warranted it.

Arkansas fans were making their opinions heard early and often, as the Tigers yet again jumped out to a double-digit lead early in a game — this time a 21-0 advantage with 6:28 left in the first quarter en route to a stunning route of the Hogs in DWR Razorback Stadium, 48-10 on Saturday evening.

The Razorbacks were in do-or-die mode, and Auburn knew it. Their overtime win at Florida last weekend kept them alive for a bowl berth — and their final three games of the season were all at home. They were a narrow favorite in Saturday’s SEC West matchup.

The pressure was there before kickoff, and Auburn added to it in a flash.

“You know, I was telling the guys in the locker room — we had talked all week this was going to be a fight,” quarterback Payton Thorne said. “They got a team, their back was up against the wall. I want us to throw the first punch. I want to go out there and start fast. Then the punt return was awesome to see. From there, I think that set us up for the rest of the game.”

Thorne orchestrated an efficient opening-drive touchdown — the third straight for Auburn during its three-game winning streak — as he hit Caleb Burton III for a 45-yard reception on the second play from scrimmage. He had 28 yards on the ground, too, including a bulldozing touchdown run.

Auburn’s defense played its part, forcing a three-and-out, and Keionte Scott rocketed through his blocks for a 74-yard punt return — a 14-0 deficit for the home team before some fans were even in their seats.

The boo birds that ensued on essentially every Arkansas drive that followed — as the Razorbacks went down 21-0 after another Auburn touchdown drive and didn’t pick up a first down until their fifth possession — were some of the loudest moments of the night for the home crowd.

“They weren’t making much noise in the second quarter and on,” Thorne said.

Lots of Arkansas fans headed home. Auburn goes up 34-3 in Fayetteville. pic.twitter.com/6SlAvx1fAW

— Nathan King (@NathanKing247) November 11, 2023

Hot starts have been a massive key for Auburn as it’s strung together what’s now a three-game winning streak in the SEC for the first time since 2020. Between the matchups against Mississippi State, Vanderbilt and Arkansas, Auburn has outscored those opponents 49-6 in the first quarter — as compared to a 37-17 combined first-quarter deficit during the four straight losses right before.

“Fast starts have been good to us,” Hugh Freeze said postgame. “I think we do a decent job of managing the game if we get out to a lead. Fast starts are always big, and usually it’s Jarquez (Hunter) getting them. I don’t know what the rushing yards were on that first drive. … It really doesn’t matter to me. You know, play within system and just run what they give us on a given play. So a fast start was vital for us.”

Freeze’s plan was to get the opening kickoff if he could, but it wouldn’t have mattered if the defense was on the field first. Scott said the team — at least the players — has had discussions of late about executing early to “set the tone” for the rest of the game. Obviously, they’ve been highly successful at that recently.

“A mindset change, for sure,” Scott said. “We're taking whoever gets to go out on the field first — offensively or defensively — and set the tone. Offense was able to get that call. The main message to them was to set the tone for the game. They did that, and we carried it. That's just how we play complementary football — offensive, defensive and special teams.”

Back-to-back touchdown passes from Thorne to Ja'Varrius Johnson, then Rivaldo Fairweather early in the third quarter — creating an eye-popping 41-3 score — emptied the stadium by the thousands. It’s something the Tigers haven’t experienced much in recent seasons — and they’re not getting tired of relishing it.

“You feel like a menace,” said pass-rusher Jalen McLeod, who had a career-high three sacks. “You feel like a bad man.”

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Winners and losers from Auburn's win over Arkansas

Taylor Jones
4–5 minutes

The Plains are buzzing following Auburn’s 48-10 thrashing of the Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday.

Auburn outgained Arkansas, 517-255, and recorded eight tackles for loss in the game.

Another exciting takeaway from the game is that Auburn is now eligible for a bowl game in year one under Hugh Freeze. Freeze said after the game that his team is now starting to piece everything together at the right time.

“They remember what you do in November. I think Frank Broyles said that. I want our kids to compete and they have. Now we find ourself bowl eligible, which I think is a step that was important to me and for our team and our program in our rebuild. I think we’re getting better and looking forward to the next two games.”

There were plenty of good and even several bad, things that happened during Saturday’s game. Here is the best and worst of Auburn’s victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks.


Zach Bland/Auburn Tigers

The biggest gripe from Auburn fans over the last three weeks has been Auburn’s ability to dominate early, and coast through the second half. That did not happen on Saturday as the Tigers complimented their first-half efforts by coming out of the locker room following halftime to post 21 3rd quarter points. Things are beginning to come together offensively, which will help Auburn in the long run.


Zach Bland/Auburn Tigers

Is anyone recovering from whiplash after watching Saturday’s game? If so, you are an honorary “winner” this week. There were several plays where SEC Network’s cameramen were faked out, which made it hard to follow sometimes. Thankfully, they were able to regroup and we were able to watch the game without feeling like we just stepped off the Scream Machine at Six Flags.


Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Here’s to you, Keionte Scott! Scott returned an Arkansas punt 74 yards for a touchdown in the 1st quarter to put Auburn ahead, 14-0. According to Auburn Athletics communications, the punt was the first returned for a touchdown (that was not blocked) since 2014 when Quan Bray returned a punt for a 76-yard score against Louisiana Tech in 2014.


Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

Rarely would we mention an opposing player as a loser, but Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson is an exception. Jefferson accounted for 166 of Arkansas’ 255 total yards during Saturday’s game. In the first half, he had 103 of Arkansas’ 110 total yards. If it weren’t for his efforts, the Razorbacks could have had a worse day than the one they endured.


Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Hunter extended his triple-digit yard streak to three games on Saturday by rushing for 109 yards on 19 carries. He now has 745 rushing yards on the season, which is a career-high. Now that Auburn has earned bowl eligibility, has a realistic chance to reach the 1,000-yard mark.


Zach Bland/Auburn Tigers

An American football field is quite long. That fact now resonates with Auburn defensive back Caleb Wooden following his fumble recovery in the 3rd quarter of Saturday’s game. He described his return to Auburn Sports Network’s Ronnie Brown following the play.

Caleb Wooden told Ronnie Brown after that recovered fumble and *really slow* run back, "the field gets a lot longer with the ball in your hand. I didn't know it was that far."

— Justin Hokanson (@_JHokanson) November 11, 2023


Alex Slitz/Getty Images

For the first time in two weeks, Auburn quarterback Robby Ashford saw live action. In his lone drive, he rushed for 32 yards on two carries but threw an interception on his only pass attempt. The quarterback rotation appears to be in the rearview mirror, but Ashford’s chances of getting significant playing time for the rest of the season appear to be diminishing.


Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

You did not think we would end this list without mentioning those who bet against the Tigers, did you? Auburn entered the game as a 2.5-point underdog and would go on to treat those who took that bet to a surprise by earning a 38-point victory. Auburn also made things difficult for those who chose the under of 48.5 points, as the game ended with a total of 58 points.

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How Hugh Freeze, Auburn players reacted to gaining bowl eligibility

Published: Nov. 11, 2023, 8:26 p.m.

5–7 minutes

As his team celebrated around him after achieving its biggest milestone of the season, Auburn first-year head coach Hugh Freeze was pulled aside for his postgame interview with the SEC Network and recalled a quote from a former Arkansas coach for which the field he stood on was named.

“They remember what you do in November,” legendary Arkansas head coach Frank Broyles liked to say.

As Freeze’s team beat Arkansas 48-10 on Saturday in Fayetteville, it will certainly remember what it has done in November. Auburn has won twice this month as part of a three-game winning streak and more importantly with six wins now, Auburn is bowl-eligible after missing a postseason game last season.

“I think it’s huge,” Freeze said in his postgame press conference. “Truthfully this is a big selfish to say probably, but the staff and I, everywhere we’ve been we’ve been able to do that in year one. I would like to keep that streak alive, and we have. More importantly for our seniors, for them to get to experience going out and experiencing the bowl and representing Auburn. Then for the extra practices for our young kids. I thought it was huge. It was an important step in us rebuilding.”

Last week when Auburn beat Vanderbilt, Freeze said he had erased all the themes for the year of his whiteboard and replaced it with one priority: get to a bowl game. At the time he made that change, Auburn was recovering from a four-game losing streak and played poorly enough in that stretch that it led to questions if Auburn could muster up enough offense to take advantage of an easy part of its schedule.

Leading into the Arkansas game, Freeze and his players acknowledged what was sitting just in front of them. Getting to a bowl game would be a tangible sign of growth in year one of Freeze. It would mean more practice this team needs for development.

But when that sixth win went final, there wasn’t any different celebration for Auburn on the field in Arkansas. The players ran over to the Auburn fans who traveled as they have after each of their three road wins this season. They high-fived the crowd along the wall and ran back to the locker room. The music didn’t blare out of the locker room. They packed up, changed clothes and got back on the busses to the airport.

They’re looking toward a seventh win now.

“You know how a snowball goes down a mountain, it just keeps growing,” Jack linebacker Jalen McLeod said. “And that’s what we’re going to keep doing. First to New Mexico, then to Bama.”

Yet while the postgame reaction may not have been anything unique, the win was meaningful to players across Auburn’s roster.

“It means everything, more so to this program because of what they’ve been through the last couple of years,” Jack linebacker Elijah McAllister said. “I’m just super excited to be a part of this Year 1, setting this foundation for Coach Freeze. And honestly, where the trajectory of this program can go by this foundation in Year 1. It’s big.”

McAllister said it’s especially important to him coming to Auburn this year from Vanderbilt, a program where bowl games don’t come by often. He’s been to one bowl game — the 2018 Texas Bowl against Baylor — and lost. To him, going to a bowl game this year just ensures he’ll get to play one more college football game.

McAllister said his leadership as a team captain in his first year at Auburn is his X-factor. He compared it to the football video game Madden. Each player in the game has a designated X-factor. McAllister said safety Jaylin Simpson’s might be interceptions, or McLeod’s his pass rushing. His is within the locker room, he said, which played a key role in Auburn bouncing back from the four-game losing streak with a three-game winning streak.

There are others, like defensive back Caleb Wooden, who have never been to a bowl game at all

“It’s definitely a big thing for me,” Wooden said of bowl eligibility. “I’m just so proud of the guys and the way we came out tonight. We handled business.”

It’s also, as Wooden noted, quite poignant for Auburn to get its bowl eligibility against this opponent. Auburn lost 41-27 at home to Arkansas last season and fired then-head coach Bryan Harsin two days later.

At that bottom point — and going on to miss a bowl game — to getting its sixth win and doing so by 38 points is an easy-to-mark point of growth for Auburn.

“This game also meant a lot,” cornerback Keionte Scott said. “I felt like last year, we didn’t like the result of that game and what happened after that. This game was just big. Coach Freeze preached all week that this team stands in front of something that we’re trying to accomplish. Being able to get this win is very big for us, where we want to go and where we’re going this season to finish strong.”

After the lights turned off above Frank Broyles Field, the scoreboard no longer displaying the day of Auburn dominance, the athletic department’s new streaming service tweeted a video of Freeze in the locker room talking to his players.

“We’re going bowling,” Freeze yelled.

Matt Cohen covers Auburn sports for AL.com. You can follow him on X at @Matt_Cohen_ or email him at mcohen@al.com

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you folks have a great day.

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