Friday, November 27, 2009

Auburn - Alabama Postgame 2009

Posting early due to the early game.

Opened my first Twitter post of the game with the words, “I’m cautiously optimistic.” With Terrell Zachary’s opening TD, I went crazy. My wife sent our younger son upstairs to tell me to calm down. I kept it down on the onside kick, but I felt almost the same way.

Then we went up 14-0. I was still cautiously optimistic. The Georgia game started the same way. However, as Alabama tied it up at 14-14 all, I knew already Auburn had to dig down deep if they were going to win this game. The odd thing is that even at the half, nobody outside of Auburn fans was giving Auburn a chance.

And then I saw something different.

Toward the end of the second quarter, Auburn learned how to move the ball again. And I felt we had a chance that I hadn’t seen two weeks ago. “If only the refs would watch the same game.” How that hit on Fannin toward the end of the second half wasn’t helmet-to-helmet was an amazing “no call” by the officials.

We maintained some semblance of heart through the third quarter. According to the CBS announcers (the ones in the studio), it shouldn’t have been that way. Alabama was merely biding its time and was in no danger. Alabama was going to win walking away with a double-digit lead. It was just a matter of time.

Somebody forgot to tell Auburn they weren’t even supposed to be in it.

Two defensive stands in the third quarter left Auburn ahead 21-20. My stomach continued roiled as the tension rose.

And then there was that final drive. Alabama showed why it was undefeated, coming into that drive 2 for 11 on third down conversions and making them when it counted. That last one hurt worst of all and put the Tide ahead for good. Auburn, traditionally having some semblance of clock management at the end of a half, showed they’d watched Les Miles in the LSU-Ole Miss game. Hail Mary chance at the end, but game over.

Back in the ‘70s, I remember watching a TV series called Operation: Petticoat. It was about a pink-colored submarine during WWII that carried a contingent of nurses. The sub was the laughingstock of the navy. In one episode, they were given the dangerous assignment of ferrying MacArthur to another location. It turned out that the MacArthur on board was a decoy. The navy had let it slip that the famed “pink sub” was carrying MacArthur to hide MacArthur’s real movements. At the end, the crew was down because they knew no one had given them a chance, yet they handled their mission. The Captain, played by John Astin, made a speech at the end about not having had a chance. He instructed his crew not to get down around him, because he was too busy “feeling proud.”

So am I. And so should every Auburn fan.

Let’s face it. Moral victories do suck.

But I’m still proud.

War Eagle anyway! Always and forever!

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