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Come Monday, it’ll be AUright

September 28, 2009

Aside from the weather delay Saturday evening, Ball State and Auburn frolicked to the tune of a blowout which virtually everyone predicted. The final score was somewhat swayed by late game substitutions by the Orange and Blue and otherwise yielded little other than injury scares, burned red-shirts and a less than timely suspension.

Worst things first.

Special teams should be invoiced for ulcers, replacement hair and underwear. Just when you think things will improve, you see just how much worse they really can get. Gulley pulls an Edward Scissorhandson two punt returns, the first of which which puts Ball U up by 7. Hull is a hair under 60 yards per kickoff (on average), our best returns of the evening get called back on penalties, no pressure on opposing field goal attempts or punts and Coach Chizik is ready to even trot his 9-year old out to help. Far and away the worst call of the eveningseason, was the 4th and Highway 280 fake punt, which ended on doubly disastrous notes with McCalebb leaving the game.

Defense Man Walking.

Auburn’s defense had an amazing streak going from about mid first quarter until halftime. During that span, Ball State had drives that ended thus: fumble, fumble, punt, SAFETY, punt, downs, FIELD GOAL, halftime. During that same span, the offense got the message and went: punt, TOUCHDOWN, TOUCHDOWN, TOUCHDOWN, TOUCHDOWN, downs, FIELD GOAL. In the first half, the Auburn defense held BSU to 2 of 9 on third down conversions and 0 for 2 on 4th down. What happened in the second half could be loosely described as, “the party is waiting, but won’t wait all night.” Yes, the same defense which in 3 previous games adjusted, got tighter and shut down opposing offenses, simply leaned back and let the Cardinals roll. Virtually all of the BSU 260 yards came in the second half. Yes, Auburn appeared to be substituting liberally, but as Josephine pointed out at the end of the third, “their freshmen are better than our freshmen. Have we not recruited?” Bingo – winna, winna, chicken dinna!

Broken Records *yawn*

Auburn’s offense set another record when Chris Todd tossed in 5 TDs to tie the record for most in a single game. In 3 out of the 4 games this year, Auburn has rolled up over 500 yards, with Saturday night’s output at 560. That’s a full 300 more than BSU, and on the lowest total number of plays this season (63, or 8.9 per play). However, Auburn’s sloppy play and slow start also uncovered difficulties on 3rd down, going only 40% on conversions. Add to that a big, honking ZERO on 4th down conversions and yikes! Do we get another tune up game before Tennessee? The point that hurt about the conversions were how many of those were 3rd and less than 5 yards to go. The offensive line looked simply man-handled at times, perhaps in part due to Isom’s suspension and shifts across the front. 50+ points is nothing to finger-wag about though, and the Tigers are perfect for the month of September.

Overall, you truly cannot expect Auburn to be “up!” for every game, and hopefully after two straight SEC road games, we’ll all look back and be thankful for an opponent like Ball State to give us a break in preparation for a 6-0 run return to Jordan-Hare.

As Trooper might say, “We’re sitting on G, waiting on O, on a Monday.”

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