AUBURN — Maroons coach Dave Moskov knew his team was in for a tough match-up even though it was facing a winless Union-Endicott team.
After 48 minutes, he was proven correct.
Auburn football fell to Union-Endicott 55-29 Friday at Holland Stadium in a game where the Maroons had two offensive turnovers, two special teams turnovers, and the defense gave up four touchdowns of 60 yards or more.
"They started stinging us with some big plays," Auburn coach Dave Moskov said. "We gave them a quick touchdown, they got some momentum and they jumped us. We were outgunned in a couple spots and there was nothing we could do about that tonight. They took away our ground game and then started to pile on."
While the Tigers entered the game at 0-2 compared to Auburn's 1-1 record, they had proven in their last match-up they were capable of putting up points. Union-Endicott lost to Corning-Painted Post last week, but scored 41 points regardless.
Against the Maroons, the Tigers did exactly the same in the second half alone — 41 points.
"Their first game, we threw it out because they lost to a Class AA powerhouse (Newburgh Free Academy) that's No. 19 in the state," Moskov said. "Last week they were in a shootout (with Corning). We knew they were a very good team. That 0-2 record, we ignored that."
Perhaps it was a bad omen for Auburn that the opening kickoff was muffed at its own 1-yard line, resulting in a 7-0 deficit only 18 seconds into the contest. But the Maroons responded to their own blunder with two touchdowns 4:45 apart to go up 16-7 with 11:45 to go before halftime.
Auburn's first score came when Shaheed Beal caught a quick 5-yard in route from quarterback Liam Schulz, then went the distance for a 79-yard touchdown. Beal scored again 15 seconds into the second quarter when the Maroons ran play-action from the Tigers' 8-yard line and Beal caught the ball along the goal line for his fourth touchdown of the year.
Union-Endicott answered with a long touchdown on first down only 12 seconds after the Auburn score to cut the Maroons' lead to 16-14. The score remained the same through halftime.
The second half proved to be a disaster. Union-Endicott scored, then Auburn fumbled on its offensive possession, leading to another Tigers score. The Maroons' offense stalled on its next drive, setting up another long Tigers score. Then, to wrap up the quarter, Union-Endicott blocked an Auburn punt resulting in another touchdown.
In a five-minute span alone, Union-Endicott scored 27 points to take a 41-16 lead on the Maroons. The Tigers scored twice more in the fourth, though the game was bookended by a 46-yard touchdown from Auburn's Robert Morris.
"On a positive side, we were in a wicked hole and the kids kept making plays," Moskov said. "In the second half, some guys got off the bench and were making plays. You've got to be mentally and emotionally strong after a game like this in a long season."
Beal finished with two receptions and two touchdowns on 87 yards. Running back Quesharr Bowman rushed for 76 yards on 18 carries. On defense, Troy Churney came up with his second interception in as many weeks, while Owen Spearing finished with seven tackles.
Auburn (1-2) heads to East Syracuse Minoa next Friday for its second road game of the season.
"Back into league play next week," Moskov said. "No reason to panic or scream and yell. Let's work together, keep getting better and fix our mistakes."