Auburn won its first game of the season on Saturday, defeating Louisiana-Monroe, 31-28, in overtime. That's the only good thing that can be said about the third game of the year.
For the most part, quarterback Kiehl Frazier played better than last week, but that isn't really saying much. Frazier was 10 of 18 for 130 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He played well at times during the first half, but after a bad interception early in the fourth quarter, it was clear that the sophomore lost his confidence.
Onterio McCalebb led Auburn in rushing, picking up 128 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. Tre Mason rushed 22 times for 90 yards and a score.
The Tiger defense was hit or miss for most of the afternoon. Auburn forced a few short ULM drives, but the Warhawks short passing game and rushing attack moved the ball too easily on ULM's four scoring drives. The Warhawks finished with 410 yards and 26 first downs.
Auburn took a 21-14 lead into halftime after Frazier connected with Sammy Coates on a 33-yard hail mary to end the second quarter. The Tigers came out of the locker room and drove 65 yards to take a two touchdown lead with 10:40 remaining in the third quarter. That's when things got ugly.
Over the next 26 minutes, Auburn failed to score and turned the ball over twice. Louisiana-Monroe rallied, eventually tying the game on a six-yard pass from Kolton Browning to Colby Harper with 1:57 left in regulation. Browning was 28 of 46 for 237 yards and three touchdowns. He rushed for 58 yards and another TD.
In overtime, the Auburn defense held ULM to a three and out, and Angelo Blackson deflected Justin Matson's field goal attempt, his second block of the year. Tre Mason picked up 10 yards on Auburn's first play in overtime, and two plays later, Cody Parkey hit from 35 yards to put the Tigers in the win column.
It wasn't pretty, but after the poor play seen in the season's first three games, a win is a win.
We'll be back tomorrow with analysis and reaction to Auburn's overtime win.