GMAC BOWL VS BALL STATS:
Total Yards – 612
Rushing – 419
Passing – 193
Plays run – 89
First Downs -29
Turnovers – 0 Amazing with all that rain
HIGH SCHOOL RECRUITS: PAY ATTENTION
Auburn scored 93 points in eight SEC games last season. That’s an average of 11.6 points per game.AU’s offensive coordinator-in-waiting, guided Tulsa’s offense to 45 points in Tuesday night’s GMAC Bowl win. In 14 games this season, Tulsa averaged 47.2 points, which ranks second in the country.
You get the picture. Tulsa’s offense is good. Auburn’s old offense was bad.
But that’s about to change. Malzahn was hired by AU head coach Gene Chizik Dec. 28 and will assume his full-time duties with the Tigers Wednesday after splitting time between Tulsa and Auburn the last 10 days.
“It’s very exciting to get a chance to coach at Auburn and get started,” Malzahn said shortly after the game. “I’m heading to Auburn right now. I’m fixing to take a shower and head that way.”
Tulsa’s offense was on full display in Mobile and on national T.V. Tuesday night, giving potential recruits and AU’s current players a glimpse of what’s to come under Malzahn.
What they saw was a fast-paced, no-huddle attack that featured a bonanza of different formations, shifts, motions, fakes and misdirections. The plays were called from the sideline but instead of the funky hand signals of AU’s previous offense, Tulsa used a wheeled cart with flip numbers for each call.
The Golden Hurricane offense piled up 634 total yards on the night, 365 of those coming in a rain-drenched second half. The totals included 441 rushing yards, backing up Malzahn’s promise of a physical, run-first attack that utilizes a lot of play-action passes.
“The old perception that we throw it a lot, obviously, you can see that we’re a run, play-action team,” Malzahn said. “It’s the same offense we’ll run at Auburn. We’ll be playing fast and getting after it.”
Tulsa senior running back Tarrion Adams rushed for 209 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries. Wide receiver Damaris Johnson caught six passes for 135 yards and one touchdown and rushed for 76 yards on three carries.
“I love this offense, honestly,” Adams said. “It’s because you spread everybody out and the defense, they have to spread out to honor the guys who are spread out. That opens up running lanes and then they try to pack up the box and everybody is still spread out so you can throw the ball over the top. It’s a huge advantage, I think everyone should run the offense.”
Adams said Auburn’s running backs and skill players will thrive under Malzahn.
“There’s different style of running backs that can be successful in this offense, whether you’re a power runner or a speed runner. It’s an offense that showcases your abilities,” he said. “Coach Malzahn, he knows how to put the ball in the air. He’s a mastermind. He has a lot of, I don’t want to call them trick plays, but special plays and they always work.”
Quarterback David Johnson completed 15-of-25 passes for 193 yards and three touchdowns, and rushed for 53 yards on 12 carries.
Malzahn also believes in the quick strike. Of Tulsa’s seven scoring drives, four were for less than two minutes. The longest was 3:20 on a drive that covered 87 yards on eight plays.
Also of note, Tulsa didn’t commit a turnover and was called for just one penalty the entire game.