Whitlow vs. Bully

Auburn running back JaTarvious Whitlow (28) runs into the mascot for Mississippi State, Bully, after a play during the first half of Saturday's game at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

AUBURN --- JaTarvious Whitlow sped over the goal line, speeding out of control before he was knocked down into a slide down the sideline.

Jordan-Hare Stadium cheered. Whitlow slid into the Mississippi State mascot — and then rolled over, suddenly nose-to-nose with a bulldog.

That’s how Boobee met Bully.

Whitlow’s bump into the Bulldogs’ live mascot sent social media into a stir Saturday night, but only highlighted Whitlow’s eventful first half, as he scored three touchdowns in the opening two quarters in Auburn’s rout over Mississippi State on Saturday night.

Whitlow entered the game going into a head-to-head matchup with MSU’s Kylin Hill, pitting the SEC’s two leading rushers going into the weekend against one another.

Whitlow ran for 55 yards and three touchdowns on nine carries in the game’s first half.

Hill rushed for 35 yards with no scores on 10 carries in the first half.

Whitlow was rested for most of the second half after Auburn went into the halftime break up 42-9.

But Saturday’s early surge marked another big night for the Tigers’ redshirt sophomore rising star from LaFayette.

He’s now tallied seven touchdowns on the season, topping the six he scored last year in his impressive college debut year.

Whitlow entered the game with 408 yards on the season, averaging 102 yards a game, second on the SEC’s individual rushing list behind only Hill, who came in with 551 yards, averaging 137.8 on the ground per game.

Auburn’s defense put the clamps on Hill, and Whitlow shined while making a buzz-worthy moment with Mississippi State’s Bully.

Bully was facing the other way when Whitlow slid into him, his helmet and shoulder pad bumping him on the side. Bully spun around and dropped into a hunch, startled.

But Mississippi State officials posted to Twitter shortly after the run-in that the dog was feeling just fine after the bump.

Tigers take it to an SEC opponent

Auburn wasted little time in putting Mississippi State away.

The Tigers pulled away to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter Saturday, tying the school record for points in the first quarter against an SEC opponent. Auburn had scored 21 eight times previously, most recently against Arkansas in 2016 in a 56-3 victory.

Saturday’s meeting was not the first time the Tigers had accomplished the feat against the Bulldogs as Auburn scored 21 on Mississippi State in a 42-18 win in 1994.

Auburn went on to score 42 points in the game’s first half, which tied the team’s most in a half against an SEC opponent since the Tigers scored 42 en route to a 56-6 victory over Vanderbilt in 1990. The showing was the most the Tigers have scored in a half against Mississippi State, breaking the mark of 38 set in 1969 and 2003.

Five Mississippi State players suspended

Mississippi State announced prior to pre-game that five players would not be available against Auburn due to “a violation of team rules.”

Starting defensive players Lee Autry and Willie Gay Jr. were held out of the game as well as backup receiver Devonta Jason, left tackle Kwantrivous Johnson and free safety Marcus Murphy. Autry and Gay were contributors on a defense that came in allowing just under 22 points per game.

Autry is 6-foot-2, 305-pound senior defensive tackle. Through two games of action, he has three tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss.

Gay is a 6-foot-2, 240-pound junior linebacker. In just one game of play, he has two tackles and an interception, which he returned 52 yards for a touchdown against Kentucky.

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