Auburn Shows Some Life in Close Loss


Mandatory Credit: John Reed-US PRESSWIRE

Auburn’s football team put up a valiant effort on Saturday night but came up short against the 2nd ranked team in the country.  In a game that reminded Auburn fans of the Tuberville days, Auburn couldn’t find enough offense to beat the defending SEC champs.  The defense however, showed up in a big way.

The Auburn Tigers looked as good defensively as they ever have under Chizik.  The players were flying to the ball and the tackling was a lot more solid.  The defensive line played its best game of the year as they were getting penetration and stopping the LSU running game on multiple 3rd and short situations.  LSU was forced to roll out Zach Mettenberger to keep him from getting pressure by Auburn’s defensive ends.  This was a big key for Auburn because it basically took away half the field for our defensive backs to cover.  Auburn still gave up a few big plays and missed some tackles, but overall, the defense played hard and inspired.

The Auburn offense continues to be less than anemic.  The play calling is questionable at best and Kiehl Frazier continues to overthrow receivers and hold on to the ball way too long.  Frazier played a lot better than most expected considering LSU has one of the nation’s best defenses.  Auburn’s offensive coordinator didn’t exactly help his young quarterback out any.  Auburn was continually in 2nd and long and 3rd and long situations that have defensive coordinators licking their chops.  Scot Loeffler was dead set on making the jet sweep work.  Someone should have told him LSU’s defense is fast and getting the corner on their players is almost impossible.  Auburn had several drives that stalled due to him calling sweeps and McCalebb would lose 3 to 5 yards each time.

One of the most questionable calls came after Auburn recovered the first LSU fumble on the two yard line.  After a false start penalty, which put us even closer to the goal line, Loeffler called an off tackle run play which takes a lot longer to develop instead of running the ball straight up the middle to give the offense some breathing room.   LSU got penetration and stopped the Auburn running back in the end zone for its first score of the night and it also set them up with a short field after the kickoff for their only touchdown of the night.  Other than allowing the safety, the offensive line looked great and I thought they played one of their best games of the season.  Kiehl wasn’t pressured as much as other quarterbacks playing LSU have been.

Gene Chizik did take himself off the hot seat after the game.  Most experts thought LSU would beat Auburn by multiple scores but Auburn hung with the 2nd ranked Tigers and actually had a great chance to win.  With one guy off the hot seat, another guy finds himself squarely on it.  Scot Loeffler drew the ire of many Auburn faithful after the offense was only able to gain 183 total yards.  The play calling was once again predictable and repetitive.  Tre Mason finished the game with 54 yards on the ground but was only given the ball 9 times, an average of 6 yards/carry.  Running the ball up the middle seemed to be Auburn’s best option but Loeffler continued to run the jet sweep and play action passes that we all have seen way too much in this young season.

Although a loss is still a loss, the young Tigers made a lot of progress against a great team.  Less turnovers and a new offensive plan is greatly needed at this point but we still have 8 more games to correct this.  If this team can correct some mistakes and play inspired the rest of the season like it played against LSU, we could have a descent season and have a chance to upset some teams left on our schedule.  Fans are now more optimistic about this team and they should be. Hopefully the players and coaches can shore up some deficiencies and make this season more than what we thought it could ever be.