Sunday, September 14, 2008

Auburn vs. Mississippi State Wrap Up

My son, who went to bed at 10:00 last night, asked me this morning what the score was.

"3-2," I said.

"Dad, that was the score of the Braves-Mets game yesterday. What was the Auburn score?"

Like my son this morning, I’m not sure what to think at this moment.

One, I love our defense, but I’m only expressing the view of every Auburn fan in the country. I’ve never seen such a dominating performance in my life. Our defense did not allow MSU a third down conversion. (Granted, we only made three third down conversions ourselves.) They also shut them down on three 4th down conversions.

Two, I can’t stand MSU’s punter. I think our punter, Durst, is good. However, MSU’s punter, Blake McAdams, has changed field position on us in the 4th quarter both this year and last year. He’s average over half the time. But, as I watched us trade punts with MSU, I knew he’d pin us deep eventually. Croom apparently told him he’d lose his job if he kicked it to Robert Dunn, which may have hampered some of his ability last night. Hard to say.

The offense. I haven’t seen anything this inept since the days of Hugh Nall. We looked pathetic. The irony? We had over 300 yards of offense. When I saw that total, I was in shock. How? We had two missed field goals and I lost count on the fumbles. Then, I realized we had close to 100 yards in penalties (meaning we really had about a net 200 yards.) More galling, we have to put the ball in the end zone when we’re in the red zone. Where was Kodi? Is he hurt more than we think he is? Also, what to think of the offensive line? Todd has had all day to throw in the last two games. Is the offensive line facing defenses that don’t know how to generate a pass rush?

Is there anything positive to take forward about Auburn’s chances, given the display we just witnessed?

-> We had less turnovers than last year’s game vs. Mississippi State.
-> I’ve see us have bad games before. Our offense has a habit (2004 being the exception) of looking anemic against Arkansas, only to come out gangbusters the following weekend.
-> If there was a way to lull LSU in to complacency, we found it.

Still, I wouldn’t throw in the towel yet. The game against MSU was an aberration (and an embarrassment.) Winning ugly is still a win. And we can’t get any worse (though we will likely drop in the polls).

And I still firmly believe we’ll beat LSU.

In other news:

South Carolina was an end zone fumble away from tying Georgia. It was a good game.

Should we be worried about our October trip to Nashville to face Vanderbilt? The Commodores look good at the moment. (Just what everyone needed, another tough SEC game.)

Kentucky avoided a sequel to the Bluegrass Miracle, tackling a Middle Tennessee state receiver on the 1-yard line and winning 20-14.

Given what BYU did to UCLA, do you think Tennessee is glad they didn’t schedule BYU.


Jason said...

Walt, nice post. Vandy alumnus and fan here.

AUB's trip to Nashville is interesting, insofar as Vandy's D has proven in 2 games against o-lines that are big and try to wear defenses down (Miami of OH and SC) that they can stop the run.

Also, Michigan and Auburn are demonstrating that the spread offense can a difficult adjustment for teams used to power football dominated by the ground game.

That being said, the game's 3 weekends away and that's an eternity, VU has a tough date in Oxford: This Snead kid that Ole Miss has at QB seems to be a good pocket passer, something UM has lacked since Eli.

Looking forward to AUB at least taking some of the starch out of LSU.

Walt Mussell said...

Jason, thanks for your comments. Glad you liked it and hope you visit again soon. Vandy grads are always welcome. Vandy can give Auburn fits. During Auburn's undefeated 2004 season, it was a goal line stand against Vandy that was one of the biggest serieses in the season.

Yes, Snead is good. Houston Nutt is getting a lot out of what Orgeron left him, probably more than what Orgeron could.

I think we will take LSU down. However, as I imply in another post, I hope the whole world believes we're about to get slaughtered.

Jason said...

Right, the world outside knowledgeable SEC fans might think so conference games are always a battle...throw LSU's ranking out of the window.