Former Baylor Quarterback Stidham Passes Auburn Past Texas A&M And Challenges Alabama In SEC Football
Jarret Stidham Saves Auburn Offense In 2017
Transfer Superstar Jarrett Stidham Leads Auburn Past Texas A&M, 42-27
Super transfer quarterback Jarrett Stidham threw for 268 yards and three touchdowns as Auburn defeated a strong Texas A&M team Saturday, 42-27 and remained a serious challenger to Alabama for the SEC championship this year. Stidham was ranked the No. 1 dual threat quarterback when he graduated from Stephenvile High School in Texas.
Highly-recruited by colleges across the land, it was to be expected he would be the subject of a major recruiting war. He was definitely that as he originally signed with Coach Klif Kingsbury of Texas Tech.
However, before national signing day arrived, he changed his mind and signed with Coach Art Briles of Baylor. At the time, Briles had the Bears on the path toward being ranked as high as No. 4 in the nation.
When the NCAA unleashed its wrath on Baylor and Coach Briles, an interim head coach was named at the Baptist school nicknamed Jerusalem-On-The Brazos. That interim coach refused to name Stidham as the starter for the 2016season.
That decision by that interim coach at Baylor would have incredible ramifications for Baylor and Auburn. Stidham transferred to Auburn where Coach Gus Malzahn recognized his obvious skills and named him the starting quarterback for the Tigers in 2017.
Baylor's Loss Was Auburn's Gain At Quarterback
No decision by a coach has had a bigger impact on two separate colleges. Without Stidham, Baylor plunged to a 1-8 record in 2017. With Stidham, Auburn has compiled an impressive 7-2 record in the rugged SEC so far this year. With a 5-1 record in the SEC West, Auburn now is poised to knock off defending national champion Alabama.
Texas A&M Can't Stop Throwing Of Jarrett Stidham
Stidham bombed the Aggie secondary early and often with deep throws which were on target to speedy receivers who raced to the end zone with three touchdown passes. Stidham has the kind of talent which makes NFL scouts excited as they evaluate his strong arm and accurate passing. He will clearly be playing on Sunday afternoons once he finishes his college career.
The game was virtually won in the second half when Stidham found receiver Darius Slayton for a long 46-yard pass play which led to a touchdown. Running back Kerryon Johnson toted the ball the final two yards into the end zone for the score which extended the Auburn lead to 35-13 late in the game.
Malzahn said of his superstar quarterback, "He's a special player and the special players they feel it when the game's on the line."
Auburn Victory Keeps Tigers In Thick Of Title Chase
When Stidham connected with Ryan Davis on a four yard touchdown play in the third quarter, the Tigers were firmly in control with a 28-13 lead. The triumph leaves Auburn in a strong position in the SEC title chase. A showdown with No. 1 Georgia looms on the horizon next Saturday. Later this month, the Tigers will face Alabama in the annual Iron Bowl.
Stidham's Arm Makes Auburn SEC Contender
Perhaps the most impressive play was Stidham's towering pass to receiver Carlson for 53 yards and a crucial touchdown late in the third quarter with 1:36 left in the third quarter. Stidham's statistics included an impressive 20 completions out of 27 throws with no interceptions. Making his outing even more impressive was the fact Stidham is not afraid to throw the ball deep. Stidham's talents had Auburn ranked as the No. 16 team in the nation Saturday. They are sure to move up in the national rankings following this victory.
Jarrett Stidham Slings The Ball Deep Against Texas A&M
Stidham Excited About Return To Texas, His Home State
Stidham told reporters he was excited to be returning to his home state Saturday. According to the The Auburn Plainsman newspaper, he said, "It was great. Obviously, I've had this one circled for a while. Any time I get to come back home, being so far away, it's exciting for me, and my family and friends. It was great. Ultimately, we got the win and that's the most important thing."
Could Stidham Cost Kevin Sumlin His Job?
Could the fact Stidham signed with Auburn and not Texas A&M cost the embattled Aggie coach his job? If the Aggies had signed the gifted Stidham, Texas A&M might very well have prevailed Saturday with the Texan throwing for them, rather than against them. The pressure will no doubt increase on Sumlin after this loss. The Aggies slip to 5-4 and 3-3 in the SEC.
Sumlin said of the quarterback that got away, "There are a lot of things that go into the recruiting process. Ultimately, eh's at Auburn, and he's having a great career and he's going to continue to have a great career."
Stidham has completed 65.8 percent of his passes for 1, 728 yards and eight touchdowns with only three interceptions for the season. Sumlin declined to comment further about the recruiting battle for Stidham recently.
Kirk Herbstreit On Stidham
In August of 2017, ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit gave an interview about Stidham. He said he anticipated Stidham would have a big year in Gus Malzahn's offense. Herbstreit said, "The Auburn offense is different than the one Stidham ran at Baylor. "
The former Buckeye went on to say that with the big running backs Auburn has, and with Stidham's running abilities, he thought there was a good chance Auburn would have a strong offense this year. His prophecy has been accurate as he bombed the Aggies into submission at Kyle Field.
Stidham Could've Been An Aggie
It is the story of Stidham's travels, which make yesterday's game even more dramatic. Following his decision to transfer from Baylor, he received offers from Texas A&M, Florida and Auburn. When the Aggies interest appeared to wane, he chose Auburn.
Dennis Sayles, a beat writer for Texas A&M, said Stidham had strong interest in A&M. He said, "From the outside looking in, I know he definitely had major interest in the program, primarily because he wanted to stay close to home at the time."
At the time, the Aggies already had one high profile quarterback committed in its 2017 recruiting class. Former San Antonio Reagan quarterback Kellen Mond was set to join A&M and compete for the starting job immediately.
Stidham and Mond were both 4-star recruits. Mond was also committed to Baylor when Stidham was enrolled there. Both sought other opportunities after Briles was fired in Waco.
Jarrett Stidham Outstanding In Spring Game For Auburn
Auburn Climbs To No. 10 Sunday In Polls
Thanks to Stidham's heroics Saturday at College Station, Auburn climbed all the way up to No. 10 in the nation. If Stidham has another big day against Georgia next week, they will undoubtedly climb even higher and into definite contention for the SEC championship. Is a national championship still possible with two losses?
A discussion on ESPN by analysts resulted in the conclusion a two-loss team could make it into the College Playoffs this season. Auburn was mentioned as one of those teams who could accomplish that with a sweep of Georgia and Alabama in the homestretch of this season.
The Baylor Years
Stidham entered his freshman season at Baylor in 2015 as the backup to Seth Russell. He appeared in the first seven games, completing 24 of 28 passes, according to Wikipedia. After Russell suffered a season-ending injury during the seventh game, Stidham took over as the starter. He started his first game against powerful Kansas State and excelled by completing 23 of 43 passes for 419 jobs. He connected on three passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown in leading the Bears to victory.
He injured his back the next week in a 44-34 loss to Oklahoma. Despite the injury he completed 16 of 27 passes for 257 yards. In his third start against Oklahoma State, he was injured again in the form of a chipped bone in the back of his ankle.