Thursday, September 4, 2008

September 6: Auburn vs. Southern Miss

Southern Miss has to be wondering if scheduling Auburn was a good idea. The following week, the Golden Eagles face Arkansas State, a suddenly tough customer who last week opened the season with a 16-14 win over Texas A&M. Forgive Southern Miss if they spend this week game planning against Arkansas State. After all, the only thing Auburn can do is run the football.

Yes, I’m being facetious.

Southern Miss started its year with a new head coach, Larry Fedora. While Auburn was beating ULM 34-0, Coach Fedora, an offensive specialist, was leading his team to a 51-21 pasting of University of Louisiana – Lafayette (ULL). (Lafayette, along the lower portion of Louisiana, was hit by Gustav. Prayers for the entire region go out.) So, both Auburn and Southern Miss come in to this contest 1-0.

Auburn‘s record against Southern Miss is 16-5. We first played them in 1946, during the days of Travis Tidwell, and won that game 13-12. At that time, Southern Miss was known as Mississippi Southern. We played them again the following year, losing 19-13. Our history with Southern Miss seems to be one of spurts. We play them a few times over the course of several years, and then don’t see them again for a while. Our last set was six games from 1988-1993. We went 4-2 over those six games. Our last meeting was during Terry Bowden’s first season. Auburn won that game 35-24, on its way to an 11-win season.

Every time, we face Southern Miss, I am reminded of a game I saw during my days at Auburn. USM had a QB named Danny Ducksworth. Ducksworth came in to Jordan-Hare and started lighting up the defense. Our boys had expected an easy game and played like a deer in the headlights. Somewhere in the second quarter, Ducksworth got hurt and was out for the rest of the game. Without him to contend with, Auburn reestablished itself and won the game. On the field that day, Coach Dye supposedly remarked to his opponent, “If Ducksworth hadn’t gotten hurt, you’d have won.”

I bring this up, as we seem to have a QB issue ourselves. As I said in my last post, Chris Todd sounds better on radio. Kodi Burns looks better on TV. Since Tuberville has announced that Chris Todd will start this weekend’s game, I am guessing I need to listen to it. However, I am hopeful that the coaches will allow Todd to play more than one possession at a time and establish some rhythm. Hopefully, though, we’ll see Kodi as well. I see Kodi as Auburn’s QB for the next three years. He needs time to get accustomed to the new offense, an offense that can pass when needed.

Look for a little more consistency this week than last week and a little more passing, though I am expecting us to pick up another 200+ yards on the ground. It should be good. It’s an early morning game, something that has been a problem for us in recent seasons. However, it will be an Auburn victory.

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