- FOOTBALL: Auburn's Hopper Runs Rough Shot Over Warriors
By Jeff Motz
Auburn quarterback Skyler Hopper used balance on offense, while racking up 264 total yards of offense, 140 of those on the ground and scoring four touchdowns.
It was just enough for the Bulldogs to hold off Lincoln Lutheran 51-34 Friday night at Abel Stadium.
Hopper shook off early miscues and rallied Auburn in the first half. After fullback Justin Gren scored late in the first quarter, the Bulldogs took control when Hopper scored on a 30-yard run with two minutes to play in the half that put them ahead 13-12.
Then Trevor Unruh intercepted a pass from Lutheran freshman quarterback Zach Clausen and returned it to the Warrior 30-yard line. Several plays later, Hopper scored on a quarterback keeper to give Auburn a 19-12 halftime lead.
Hopper scored his third touchdown just two plays into the second half, when he sprinted for a 66-yard run, finishing a quick 75-yard drive that saw Auburn's lead go to 25-12.
Lutheran (0-2) countered with a 33-yard reception by Logan Kreizel to the Auburn one-yard line, setting up Luke Hamann's short scoring run. Fourteen seconds later, Dallas Yates returned the ensuing kick 81-yards that extended the lead for Auburn at 31-18.
Freshman Zach Clausen, who finished with 265 yards passing, used a swing pass to find Hamann for a 15-yard touchdown, with Lutheran chipping away at 31-26.
Hopper countered with a late third quarter touchdown run from 24-yards out, giving Auburn a 37-26 lead with Lutheran mounting another drive.
Clausen found Jake Killham on a 35-yard touchdown pass and followed it up with a two-point conversion to trim the deficit to 37-34 with 11:41 remaining in the fourth quarter.
While Lutheran's defense heating up and forcing a 4th and 16 situation at the Warrior 26-yard line, Hopper took to the air and found Yates for a touchdown pass and an 11 point cushion. After the Warriors failed to convert on a fourth down deep in Auburn territory, Bulldog running back Bailey Darnell iced the game with 1:47 left with an 82-yard touchdown run.
Clausen also finished with one touchdown on the night, a 35-yard run of the 62-yard opening drive in the game.