Sunday, September 20, 2009

Auburn vs. West Virginia Postgame

Before I begin, I’d like to compliment the ESPN announcers for finally devising a system where they could tell whether Todd or Burns was playing QB. It only took to near the end of the second quarter. However, they were still having trouble reading the scoreboard in the 3rd quarter.

On to the game…

I’m tired. Yes, the game started over an hour late due to weather, but the ebb and flow of this game wore me out. Granted, that may have been the beer. I was on my second one in the first quarter. I rarely drink more than one per game. (LSU is the exception.) I can’t believe a non-conference game created that much tension in me.

However, I knew this game would be a barn-burner. Sometimes, I hate being right. (My wife thinks I’m rarely right, but that’s another story.) However, when I looked at this game, the thing that kept coming back to me was WVU’s speed, their familiarity with a spread offense, and our thin defense, which I knew would get tired. I can’t remember a game where I saw Auburn miss so many tackles.

We seemed out of sorts before the game even started. When I heard we won the toss and deferred, I thought we’d made an error. Why mess with what had worked before? Did we make the wrong call.

By the second WVU drive, I hoped I was seeing a replay of last year in reverse. We were on our heels and couldn’t stop them. They ran through us like a ginsu knife through an aluminum can. When we scored a field goal, I calmed down a little though I knew we’d never get back into it if we were trading FGs for TDs.

And then, little by little, we started to claw back. Down 14-3, we made it 14-10, but fell behind 21-10 by the end of the 1st quarter. In the 2nd quarter, we managed to eke out 10 points to make it a one-point ballgame. But, I saw something else that quarter that improved my mood.

We started to run the football. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to prove we could. And with that I knew we would start loosening things up.

When we came out in the 3rd quarter, I thought we would march down the field and take the lead. Instead, WVU made it 27-20. I was sweating more.

Finally, though we took control. WVU had more first downs more passing yards, more rushing yards, more third down conversions, more plays, one less penalty, but more yards on penalties.

And thankfully more turnovers. I’m glad our defense knows how to catch a pass. We could have used them as receivers last year.

I know we won the game, but I like we just survived. Jarrett Brown was incredible to watch. We couldn’t stop him on the ground. However, six turnovers will cause any team to beat itself.

As I call it a night, I have four questions. I hope you’ll answer them for me.

Given Auburn’s recent performance and other games in the SEC (Georgia and pick your SEC opponent, among others). Is the SEC turning into the Pac-10?

Does today’s activities mean that LSU’s win at Washington is a little more impressive, given that LSU was criticized heavily for barely beating the Huskies?

Does it scare you when Todd keeps the ball in anything other than a sneak?

Is Trooper Taylor like a sane Will Muschamp?

Next week, we have the 0-3 Ball State Cardinals.

War Eagle!

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