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Payton Thorne powers Auburn past Samford

Sep 16, 2023; Auburn, Alabama, USA; Auburn Tigers quarterback Payton Thorne (1) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown against the Samford Bulldogs during the second quarter at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Behind 405 total yards and three touchdowns from quarterback Payton Thorne, Auburn rolled to a 45-13 win over Samford on Saturday night in Auburn, Ala.

Thorne completed 24 of 32 passes for 282 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. He also added a team-high 123 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.

Jay Fair had team highs in receptions (seven) and receiving yards (93) for the Tigers (3-0). Tight end Rivaldo Fairweather added five receptions for 57 yards, while receiver Shane Hooks added three receptions for 47 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Robby Ashford added two TDs (one passing, one rushing).

Samford quarterback Michael Hiers passed for 141 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. He also had a rushing TD. Wideout Chandler Smith had three receptions for 80 yards and a score for the Bulldogs (1-2).

Auburn had a first-and-goal at Samford’s 1-yard line on its opening drive, but Thorne was intercepted in the end zone on third-and-goal after a false start backed the Tigers up to the 6-yard line.

Auburn took a 7-0 lead with 9:31 to go in the second quarter when Thorne connected with Hooks on a 32-yard touchdown pass. The play was set up by a 40-yard pass to wideout Omari Kelly.

After an interception by cornerback Jaylin Simpson set up Auburn at the Samford 22-yard line, the Tigers took a 14-0 lead on a 5-yard scoring run by Thorne with 3:04 remaining in the first half.

Auburn entered halftime with a 17-0 lead after a 22-yard field goal by Alex McPherson. The scoring drive was set up by a terrific 41-yard reception by Fairweather.

Ashford put the Tigers up 24-0 on a 1-yard rushing touchdown with 8:30 to go in the third quarter. But Samford finally got on the board on its ensuing possession when Hiers connected with Smith on a 36-yard touchdown pass with 6:35 to go in the third quarter to make it 24-7.

Hunter’s 1-yard rushing touchdown capped a five-play, 58-yard drive to put the Tigers up 31-7 with 4:29 to go in the third quarter.

–Field Level Media