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Auburn Survives Vanderbilt 23-16

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NCAA Football: Vanderbilt at Auburn Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

A “banged-up” Auburn team defeated the Vanderbilt Commodores on Saturday 23-16 in Auburn, Alabama. This one had all the makings of an upset early as Sean White, Auburn Quarterback inexplicably did not start the game for the Tigers. It was revealed that he did not practice all week and the offense looked like it had not practiced much either, putting together the worst first half of the season in his absence.

John Franklin III got the start for the Tigers, running for nearly 60 yards in the first half, but showing zero threat to throw. From his first throw of the game he needed to be bailed out by a catch by Marcus Davis and wasn’t. He also turned the ball over on a costly fumble that led to Vanderbilt’s only touchdown of the game. The QB controversy is so far in the rear-view mirror that a injured Sean White, who needed to be checked out in the locker room in the second half, was still the best option for Auburn. Poor Jeremy Johnson, an injured dude and a guy who can’t throw are playing and the coaches never looked his way.

The defense wasn’t particularly great this game, although it did hold the ‘Dores to three points in the second half. Auburn’s made teams pay on third downs all season, but was unable to get off the field on defense for long stretches of the game. Kudos to the Commodores offensive line, who made Carl Lawson downright invisible. Big number 55 didn’t record a sack until 1:30 left in the game. TJ Neal played pretty well after the targeting penalty in the first quarter disqualified Deshaun Davis. I agreed with the call, for what it is worth. Stupid play by Davis.

Kerryon Johnson was good in this game, and is still cementing his legacy as Gus’ best Wildcat RB at Auburn. I know a lot of people hate the Wildcat, but seeing 21 get six points from that formation has become almost automatic at this point.

Kam Pettway is the dude. With 3:38 left in the game, 3rd and 1. A first down all but does it with the way the d is playing and Pettway comes up huge.

And then limp.

First auburn running back with 150 yards in 4 straight games since Bo. Terrible to see him pull up lame on the 60 yard run, not only because him scoring makes the ending of the game less dramatic. Hopefully Bubba is OK. He can’t take next week off, though.

White looked good at the start of the second half. Like, really good. Earlier this week I nerded out watched the WarRoom Eagle recaps of the offense on youtube. You will be hard pressed to find White completing the second pass of back to back passing plays. In fact, he is usually terrible in that situation. Not today. Early in the second he completed three straight passes and was perfect for his first five attempts. How hurt was he?

The Pettway fumble being overturned was a huge play. I think he was down, and luckily the refs did too because two plays later Sean White found Darius Slayton so wide open I thought he was coming from out of bounds walking to the locker room.

Legatron continues to make us realize how badly we are going to miss him when he is gone.

Vanderbilt’s coach called for a field goal with 13:28 left in the 4th and that seemed to be a weird call when Auburn couldn't defend the sticks all game and they needed seven points to take the lead. Later, Vandy punts with 8:15 left in the game on a fourth and three. If Auburn did that in the same situation I'd light my house on fire.

This game is over, thank Aubie. Now this team that seems to have a myriad of injuries no one knew about has a game against Georgia next week as it starts Amen corner.

Auburn has now won six straight games for only the fifth time in 20 years. That’s a big deal.

War Eagle.