Auburn Tigers: Keep the Faith, They’re Still in the Hunt


Oct 11, 2014; Starkville, MS, USA; Auburn Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn watches a play under review on the big screen against the Mississippi State Bulldogs during the third quarter at Davis Wade Stadium. Mississippi State defeated Auburn 38-23. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Auburn Tigers suffered a tough loss last Saturday. I gave them a 50/50 chance of winning that game. It was definitely winnable if the Tigers executed properly and controlled the game. The Tigers stopped the Bulldogs’ first drive like I expected and things looked good from the start. However, Auburn Tigers quarterback Nick Marshall‘s first pass of the first offensive play was deflected at the line of scrimmage causing an interception.

Second offensive play was a fumble. The thing that is troubling about those two plays? Had they been executed properly would have been for big yardage. The first pass, had it been caught could have been for big yardage. The Tigers had a plan. It was a great plan.

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I’m pretty passionate about the Auburn Tigers. Ordinarily I would have been screaming at the TV after the interception. But I know Auburn and I know head coach Gus Malzahn. I know, as you do, that the Auburn Tigers can put a lot of points on the board. I also know their defense is pretty stout when they need to be. I wasn’t worried. By halftime the Tigers had clawed their way back into the game. This after spotting the Bulldogs 21 points in the first nine minutes of the game.

They had key stops in the first half. I actually didn’t get worried until middle of the fourth quarter. I knew it was over. But the Tigers were beat by a team that was playing much better. I am not going to say they were beat by a better team. I still think Auburn is the better team between the two squads. But Mississippi executed better in the second half.

Bad Calls and Penalties

I am a firm believer that a bad call or a few bad calls should not and will not cost a game for a team. Even after the phantom pass interference penalty on Auburn wide receiver Sammie Coates that would have given the Tigers first and goal to go on about Mississippi’s 8 yard line. That has to be one of the worst calls I’ve seen in college football. But even then, Auburn still had a chance. It was early in the third quarter and it was only a two possession game.

I do think that if Auburn wins out they still stand a chance to be invited to the playoffs. Does that sound crazy? Yes it does. But the season is only half over and though Mississippi State is playing very high level college football right now they still have to face Alabama and Ole Miss. And in two weeks they face the Arkansas Razorbacks who have spoiled many a dreams in the SEC.

I still like Auburn’s chances to win out. They still have to face Texas A&M, Georgia and Alabama. I think Georgia the toughest game. Alabama is down this year and Georgia keeps finding ways to win. But they are vulnerable. Remember the Georgia, South Carolina game.

I say all this to say it isn’t time to worry about Auburn and the championship. They are solid team and coached by one of the best in the business. They never gave up in the Mississippi game. Many teams would have. Down 21 to 0 in nine minutes of play would have taken the wind out of a lot of teams. But not Auburn.

Keep the faith.


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