Today we say goodbye to 2015. Don't let the door hit you on the way ou... well, no, nevermind, DO let the door hit you on the way out 2015. You were not spectacular (except for Auburn Softball). It ended on a high note for the football team, yesterday, though. Bobby Barkley's got the top moments in #AuburnTwitter for 2015 coming a bit later, today. For now, though, let's get to the links.
The ladies closed out their non-conference schedule with a loss at Florida Golf Cart, or, uh, Florida Gulf Coast. It was still a pretty good non-conference season for the Tigers, as they head into conference play with a pretty good record.
The news started breaking early as around 8:30am Central, ESPN's Chris Low broke the news that Auburn had targeted LSU's Kevin Steele to be the new defensive coordinator. It went back and forth through the morning and even through the game before Gus Malzahn made it official in the post-game press conference and the school put out the official press release.
Auburn put together three really good quarters of football against Memphis and were very fortunate that even during the offensive stagnation of the 2nd quarter, the defense played absolute lights out for the entirety of the game. It was a thing of beauty as Auburn only allowed three offensive points and defeated Memphis 31-10.
Throughout the game there were a number of big plays and events. Peyton Barber topped the 1000 yard mark for the season in rushing yards. It was a close thing for a bit but he blew it open in the second half with a big run to put him well over the mark. Senior linebacker/Buck Cassanova McKinzy left the game with a leg injury early in the first half. Hopefully that's not too serious and doesn't affect Cass' preparation for the NFL Draft. There were a lot of trick plays, including Auburn's Kevin Phillips getting the biggest pass play of the day for anyone throwing the ball on a fake punt to Kerryon Johnson.
Possibly the strangest thing of the day, though, was the #MemphisBallThief. Memphis DB Reggis Ball, who had the pick-six for Memphis, stole a football from an Auburn equipment manager by basically throwing him to the ground, stealing the ball, shoving the kid down again, then running off flipping the bird. It might have just been something mentioned as witnessed by beat writers and fans if it weren't for one lucky fan who caught it on camera.
ESPN owns half a stake in the Birmingham Bowl, and they wanted attendance more than they care about the local economy, so putting Auburn in this game was a no-brainer. It paid off as it was the biggest crowd in the history of the Birmingham Bowl.
One of the things that added to the strangeness of the day was a tweet by an NFL Draft analyst that Carl Lawson's father was discussing his son going to the NFL and shopping agents, only to later be refuted by Carl Lawson, Sr himself. We still don't know who is going to go pro and who won't. I think it's safe to say Shon Coleman is gone. Outside of him, they could almost all decide to return.
Quarterback Jeremy Johnson did say that he is returning to Auburn for his senior season. Or at least he's returning to compete for the starting job in the spring. Who knows what may happen if that doesn't work out.
Oh, and congrats to Cam Newton on the birth of his first son! I hope he already has a scholarship offer.