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NCAAF News: Auburn running game, defense subdue Western Kentucky

Auburn pulled away from visiting Western Kentucky 41-17 on Saturday behind four total touchdowns by Tank Bigsby and Jarquez Hunter, and a strong defensive effort

Bigsby had a team-high 110 yards rushing and two touchdowns, including a 35-yard scoring burst in the second half.

Hunter had 13 carries for 109 yards and a touchdown in addition to his second-quarter touchdown pass to Koy Moore for the Tigers (5-6).

Moore caught his first touchdown pass of the season. Robby Ashford passed for 102 yards and added 37 yards on the ground.

Western Kentucky quarterback Austin Reed threw for 290 yards, including 222 yards and two touchdown passes to Joshua Simon in the first half. Auburn’s defense limited him to just 68 yards through the air in the second half and forced two interceptions.

Malachi Corley led the Hilltoppers (7-5) with a team-high 12 catches for 99 yards. Jaylen Hall added eight catches for 84 yards. Simon had 49 yards receiving.

Auburn held a 10-0 advantage after a quarter behind a 1-yard scoring run by Bigsby and a 51-yard field goal by Alex McPherson.

The Hilltoppers trimmed the Tigers’ lead to 10-3 less than five minutes into the second quarter when Brayden Narveson nailed a 27-yard field goal. Narveson missed a 50-yarder on the game’s opening drive.

Auburn pushed the lead to 17-3 with an impressive seven-play, 66-yard drive, which was capped by a halfback-toss-and-pass from Hunter to Moore with 7:21 left until halftime.

Western Kentucky cut the lead to seven when Reed connected with Simon for a 22-yard scoring strike with 4:35 to go in the half.

The Hilltoppers tied the game at 17 all when Reed connected with Simon on a well-executed screen pass with six seconds to go until halftime.

McPherson added a 28-yard field goal halfway through the third quarter to put the Tigers up 20-17. Bigsby’s 35-yard run increased Auburn’s lead to 27-17 late in the third quarter.

A Hunter 40-yard scoring run and a 27-yard pick-six by D.J. James in the fourth quarter increased Auburn’s lead to 41-17 and ended any chances of a Western Kentucky comeback.

–Field Level Media

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