Despite the turnovers, Auburn never trailed, taking the first lead in the game after a 10-play 85-yard drive concluded with a 4-yard Pettway touchdown run. A fumble on the Mercer 24-yard line by Kyle Davis stalled Auburn's opening possession of the game. Following a false start penalty, Stidham completed a pass to Will Hastings for 27 yards.
Kamryn Pettway ran for 128 yards and three touchdowns, while Jarrett Stidham completed 32 of 37 for 364 yards. The five turnovers are the most since October 6, 2012 against Arkansas. Daniel Carlson added the PAT to give Auburn a 7-0 lead with the clock winding down in the first. Mercer attempted a fake field goal on the ensuing possession, but the Auburn defense came up with another stop.
Mercer quarterback Kaelan Riley threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Marquise Irvin to cut the Auburn lead to 17-10 early in the fourth quarter. Starting from its own 44, Auburn marched the ball into Mercer territory thanks to the arm of Stidham and the legs of Pettway. Pettway scored on a 4-yard touchdown run, and Carlson kicked a 29-yard field goal for the Tigers in the first half.
"We learned an bad lot".
"In and out with the hurricane, no power here and no power there, but they were resilient". You just don't know how they are going to react in a 90,000-seat stadium for the first time against an SEC team ranked 15 in the country with an unbelievable defense.
Auburn was coming off a 14-6 loss at Clemson and was hoping to build some confidence on offense. But it didn't happen.
At the end of the day, a win is a win, but it's no secret that the Tigers will need to improve as they begin SEC play at Missouri next week.
"I feel like we have confidence", Pettway said. "We had five turnovers, but it's nothing we can't fix".
NOTES: Auburn senior OT Darius James had to be strapped down on a backboard and carted off the field after suffering an injury in the second quarter.
Auburn later announced that James had feeling in all his extremities before he was being taken to East Alabama Medical Center in nearby Opelika, Auburn, for precautionary reasons. Mercer was playing its first FBS ranked opponent since reinstating its program in 2013. With Madison native Kerryon Johnson still sidelined with a hamstring injury, Pettway was the only running back to record a carry.
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