AUBURN, Ala. — Tank Bigsby and Jarquez Hunter combined for 229 rushing yards and four total touchdowns as Auburn defeated Western Kentucky 41-17 on Saturday afternoon.
After Western Kentucky generated 290 yards and 17 points in the first half, Auburn’s defense held the pass-happy Hilltoppers to 105 yards and allowed zero points after halftime.
Bigsby and Hunter both scored long rushing touchdowns, and D.J. James returned an interception 25 yards to cap 24 unanswered points for the Tigers in the second half.
Auburn (5-6, 2-5 Southeastern Conference) has now won back-to-back games under interim head coach Carnell Williams as it heads into its annual Iron Bowl matchup with rival Alabama.
Western Kentucky (7-5, 5-2 Conference USA), which has won four games against SEC opponents since 2012, was unable to carry a strong second quarter of offense into the second half. Hilltoppers quarterback Austin Reed had 290 passing yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in the loss.
Western Kentucky: The Hilltoppers, who had already clinched bowl eligibility for the fourth straight season under head coach Tyson Helton, showed why their fast-paced offense can be tough to handle. Western Kentucky will undoubtedly look back at its failure to finish several early drives, as it played Auburn evenly until the fourth quarter.
Auburn: The Tigers struggled in second halves earlier this season under Bryan Harsin, but they have now played well after halftime in all three games under Williams. While Auburn has had little to play for recently — except for an outside shot at making a bowl game — the team’s energy has been noticeably different since the coaching change.
Western Kentucky travels to Florida Atlantic on Saturday.
Auburn visits No. 8 Alabama on Saturday.