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All is well that ends (and starts) well

January 3, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen of all Auburn shapes and sizes, this 2010 edition of your beloved Tigers is proudly sponsored by: Boston Scientific, manufacturer of fine cardiac rhythm management devices and technologies. No wait, we’re brought to you by: Fat Lady Opera Productions. Um wait again, how about proudly sponsored by StartStop, Universal Transcription Devices. Needless to say, Sheryl Crow wasn’t singing, “Safe and Sound” entering the late stages of the 4th quarter.

Auburn as you now know, defeated the Northwestern Wildcats in the first game of 2010. It took an overtime session to complete the task, which quite honestly just plain stunk after being up 14 at least twice during the regular “portion” of the game.

However, it would be short-sighted to write this one off as a near miss or as some of my Northwestern friends suggest, “the gift to Auburn, courtesy of a much more deserving Northwestern squad.” I told them to go enjoy a few street vendor hot dogs in their -14 degree weather and get over it.

Eighteen records were broken and ten were tied including Walt McFadden’s endzone pick returned 100 yards for an Auburn TD. Northwestern ran 115 plays, racked up over 600 yards and four Auburn defenders were there on every play: Josh Bynes, Craig Stevens, Neiko Thorpe and Daren Bates.

Auburn’s offense turned in a solid, if not spectacular at times performance of their own racking up over 400 yards, with averages of almost 5 yards per rush and 12 yards per completion. Not bad, nice work and Happy New Year! In yet another bizarre factoid from the game, Northwestern actually had ONE more rushing first down than Auburn even though they averaged less than three yards per carry.

Auburn picked off Kafka five times during the game. For a taste of perspective pie, he had seven interceptions in his previous twelve games. Kodi Burns tossed two picks of his own. Say it with me now, “Welcome Cam Newton!”

Ben Tate had the, “let’s get fired up!” run of the day and ended his career just shy of cracking Auburn’s top four rushing list with 108 yards and two touchdowns. Say this one with me, “I hope we get to see you on Sunday’s next fall Ben.”

Darvin Adams, the Outback Bowl MVP, pulled in the haul of the day on a critical 3rd and 6 play, gathering up 16 yards. Auburn would score 2 plays later on a Tate run to go back into the lead, 28-21.

Neiko Thorpe stopped the fumblerooskie in overtime to preserve the win and allow the 3rd field rushing celebration to be the last. Some have suggested this game ended Auburn’s 2009 campaign at 10 wins, 5 loses. I prefer to look at it as starting 2010, 3-0.

What began as a 5-0 run with first unknown, and then wildly optimistic expectations abruptly interrupted with harsh reality, was capped off Friday morning in Tampa with an overtime bowl win. To be certain, the additional practice time helps the 2010 cause and the increased visibility piles on to an exciting recruiting class. Auburn’s departing seniors will have suffered through some difficult times and the underclassmen will hopefully take this latest installment as the beginning stages of a very nice run back up the SEC West and beyond.

To Coach Gene Chizik and staff, thank you for restoring some of the glory, hope and certainly the excitement to our Auburn Tigers football family.

Happy New Year and War Eagle!

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