continued When they did get underway, Liverpool struck first, as an Edwards' 34-yard punt return set up a 29-yard pitch-and-catch from Capoto to Taylor in the right corner of the end zone.
But Auburn quickly ran out to a 26-7 lead showcasing its effective three-back offense. Mike Foltz (nine carries, 67 yards), Joe Schillace (nine carries, 63 yards) and Julius Mizro (five carries, 38 yards) combined to torch the Liverpool defense throughout the first half.
After the Warriors stopped the Maroons on their opening possession of the game, sophomore quarterback Justin Valentino led the Auburn offense on four straight touchdown drives. A 41-yard cutback run from Foltz set up a one-yard Schillace scoring plunge.
Then Foltz pounded in another score with 4:21 left in the first quarter before dashing in from nine yards out on the next drive. Auburn increased its advantage to 20-7 as Valentino found Malik Alim for the two-point conversion.
After a third consecutive Liverpool three-and-out, Valentino hit junior wide receiver Tyler Carroll on a gutsy fourth-and-five play-action call. Carroll discarded Capoto at the five-yard line before scoring.
“We were definitely backed up against the wall, our momentum was down, 'Mancuso said. "But all of a sudden we picked it up and we stayed in it.” Mancuso said.
Capoto hit Taylor for a 45-yard scoring pass up the right sideline as the junior wideout got behind Alim for the second time in the game.
Then it was Edwards’ turn. Following an Auburn three-and-out, the shifty sophomore took a screen pass for what appeared to be a 55-yard TD play. A block in the back on Taylor put the Warriors offense back on the field, but one play later Edwards replicated the result, dashing up the left sideline for 38 yards.
“The good thing is we were in it at halftime, and then we came out and we scored again,” Mancuso said. “That was huge.”