We lost this game at the close of the first half. Down 3-0, we allowed a late TD to Ole Miss to let them go up 10-0. Like Vandy and West Virginia, we allowed Ole Miss to have momentum going into halftime. But that was only part of the issue. With decent field position, three time-outs, and over a minute to go, we choose to run out the clock. Instead of trying to finish on a high note, we choose to run out the clock. Instead of attempting to get some points on the board, we choose to run out the clock.
And we hung our heads into the locker room. I still had hope that we would win, but I had to wonder. To win, an offense would have to score and score big. Our offense hadn’t scored in the second half of a game since LSU. (We actually scored in the Arkansas game, but that was a safety.)
We opened the second half with a touchdown. I had to admit I was surprised. The QB who can’t pass that well finally started hitting receivers. It ended with a 27-yard TD run by Ben Tate and Auburn trailing 10-7. An offense that had been lackluster in second halves for over a month began moving the football. Three times Auburn threatened again in the second half, only to have Burns commit young mistakes that led to interceptions. Frustration showed after the second interception, when Auburn was flagged for three facemask penalties on a drive that allowed Ole Miss to score again and make it 17-7.
The overturned fumble at the end hurt, but Auburn shouldn’t have been in that position. On the slow-mo replay, it looked as if the ball was coming out when the Ole Miss player’s knee touched the ground. It was a close play, but the refs overturned it and gave the ball back to Ole Miss, dashing any lingering hopes our beloved Tigers had. However, Ole Miss played better overall and we have to congratulate them and Houston Nutt.
Is there anything positive to take away from this game?
=> Kodi was able to move the offense. We picked up around 300 yards in the second half, eclipsing some of our game totals.
=> We do have a young defense that is playing gamely while gimpy. They return next year (if none of the juniors goes pro). Also, with injuries, our back-ups are getting large amounts of playing time.
=> Our offense is young, too, and will have a chance to improve.
Though the immediate outcome is bleak, the future is still bright.
War Eagle anyway!