Holding Samford to 114 yards while forcing four turnovers, No. 16 Auburn tuned up for the Iron Bowl with a 52-0 shutout Saturday at rainy Jordan-Hare Stadium.
"Any time you shut out an opponent in college football, that's really something," Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. "I thought our offense did a good job on the ground and through the air."
In the first half, Auburn held the Bulldogs to 35 yards while recovering two fumbles and making an interception.
The takeaway parade began on the game's opening drive, when Christian Tutt recovered a fourth-down fumble and returned it 8 yards to midfield.
Auburn promptly drove 51 yards in nine plays with JaTarvious Whitlow's 1-yard touchdown run giving the Tigers a 7-0 lead.
Jeremiah Dinson intercepted Samford's next play.
Whitlow made it 14-0 Auburn early in the second quarter with a 3-yard touchdown run after a 31-yard gain.
Auburn forced a third consecutive three-and-out, setting up Nix's 10-yard touchdown pass to Harold Joiner for a 21-0 lead.
Nix's 185 completions broke Stan White's freshman season record from 1990 and his 14th touchdown pass tied White's mark. He needs 49 more passing yards to break White's freshman record of 2,242.
Nix was 15 of 23 for 150 yards and a touchdown. Auburn gained 544 yards, including 293 rushing yards.
On back-to-back plays, Zakoby McClain made a tackle for a loss and forced a fumble, which Roger McCreary returned 15 yards to Samford's 19, Auburn's third turnover of the first half.
Auburn scored quickly, needing only three plays to make it 28-0 on Shaun Shivers' 4-yard touchdown run at the 7:14 mark of the second quarter.
Anders Carlson's 29-yard field goal gave Auburn a 31-0 halftime lead.
Early in the third quarter, Tutt returned an interception, Auburn's fourth takeaway, 26 yards to Samford's 9.
Two plays later, D.J. Williams put Auburn ahead 38-0 with a 2-yard touchdown run.
Cord Sandberg relieved Nix and threw a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes to Zach Farrar covering 27 and 4 yards, respectively.
Sandberg was 5-for-7 for 84 yards and two touchdowns, adding 31 rushing yards on six carries.
"I thought he did a really good job," Malzahn said. "He managed the offense well. We were able to play a lot of different people. I think our guys played good, clean football.
"To protect the football with no turnovers, there were a lot of different people who touched the ball. That's a really good plus carrying forward."
Auburn made 13 tackles for loss, including 2.5 from Marlon Davidson, who also had a sack. Caleb Johnson had Auburn's other sack.
"The first half, the weather was miserable," Malzahn said. "I think our guys handled that well. We didn't have any turnovers. Really appreciate our crowd, especially with the weather like it was. Really appreciate our band, too. I think a lot of bands would have gone home and ours didn't. They were a big factor in the game. Really appreciate them."
The Tigers (8-3, 4-3) host Alabama next Saturday at 2:30 p.m. CT on CBS and the Auburn Sports Network.
- No. 16 Auburn shuts out Samford 52-0
- Jaden Langford signs with Samford
- Doxakis, Texas A&M shut down Auburn, 4-2 in SEC
- North Carolina shuts out Auburn 2-0 to force deciding game
- Auburn wins!
- Sexton leads Alabama's 2nd-half surge to beat No. 16 Auburn
- No. 16 Auburn drops to No. 22 Mississippi State
- Auburn blows past Kansas 89-75 to reach Sweet 16
- Auburn defeats UNC Tar Heels in Sweet 16
- Jarrett Stidham leaving Auburn