Good win for the Tigers last night — 52-20 over Arkansas — to improve to 6-2 on the season as we hit the bye week. Like we’ve talked about, basically all of Auburn’s goals are still there. Unless LSU wins out (unlikely), Auburn will control it’s own destiny in the West, and if you win the SEC with an 11-2 record, beating Georgia twice and Alabama once, they’d be hard pressed to keep you out of the playoff.
The run to improvements started last night, as Auburn got into the bye week with an easy win and some corrections on things that happened against LSU. Let’s dive in to the impressions afterward.
Basically cut and paste from the 3 games before LSU. Auburn outclassed Arkansas, as is tradition. Everything wasn't perfect, especially inside the 5, but if Bubba is really back that could go a long ways. I still think Kerryon is the goal line back (his vision is Tre Mason-esque), but if Pettway eats 10 carries a game effectively, that makes things easier for everyone. I also can't help but wonder if Malik should have a package for inside the 5. If Gus/Chip are going to refuse to pass there, at least provide a second rushing option for the defense to look at.
The defensive line is so deep and so good y'all. Jeff Holland is elite, but you knew that. Can we sign Rodney Gardner to a lifetime contract?
I do worry about the offensive line. We're gonna face two defensive fronts that will eat our lunch if we aren't putting our best guys out there, just like Clemson did. Here's to hoping Dunn, James, and Horton can recover.
War Eagle everyone. It's a bye week, let's agree to leave the angst behind for the week. Deal?
That was pretty fun. Auburn got pressure with 4 all night. The offense was very good save for early in the red zone. If Pettway really is back that is a game changer.
Ryan Davis’s touchdown throw might be the best actual throw I’ve ever seen on a trick play. Definitely best non-QB throw since Courtney Taylor hit Devin Aromashodu for a TD against Ole Miss in 2005.
This was a simple case of talent trumping all. A nice little confidence booster after that disappointing loss to LSU. Hopefully this will get the team going and the LSU blemish will be the last blemish on the season.
We saw a few new wrinkles tonight that were pretty neat. The zone read bubble screen can be very effective.
Great to see Bubba Pettway get back to good.
Auburn has never had a prob under Malzahn throttling less talented teams. It’s when we play those of equal or slightly better talent that will make or break us.
Overall, a complete win. A dominant win. Do it again in two weeks and I might believe in a strong finish.
Fun second half. Creative plays throughout. So happy to see Pettway back. Davis to Slayton was gorgeous. If we played like this every week, maybe a loss here and there wouldn’t be so troubling. It’s always losing the same dumb way to the same teams that hurts so bad.
SON OF CROW
Best 3rd quarter of any Gus coached Auburn team ever? Maybe. The Ryan Davis pass off a reverse Buck Sweep was such a well designed play. One of the most frustrating parts of being an Auburn fan is how good the offense has the potential to look. We know what it can look like, and that makes us all the more annoyed when Gus goes full shell-mode.
A fun win that went the way it should’ve gone, but it is bittersweet in that we fully saw what should’ve happened last week against LSU. If we’d come out in the third quarter and called those plays last week, we’re a likely top 5-6 team right now. It sucks, but that loss will still stick with us for awhile.
As for last night -- tons of positives... Kam Pettway back and looking like his old self, Jeff Holland had maybe his best game as a Tiger, the receivers made plays, Kerryon got another touchdown, and we saw the future with Malik Willis.
On the negative side, special teams weren’t great, starting with the opening kickoff out of bounds, some interesting plays on punt returns, and giving up the kick return right after the trick play. We’ve already lost one game thanks to a big special teams blunder, so maybe the week off will let us get right in that regard.
Speaking of the week off, it couldn’t come at a better time. The offensive line will have time to fully heal, with Casey Dunn, Marquel Harrell, and Darius James all hobbled. We should get Tray Matthews back for Texas A&M as well.
As much as it sucks not having a game next week, it’ll still be fun to watch everything else around the country. The problem last night is that most Auburn fans didn’t get to see two complete dismantlings that will be very important in the grand scheme once we get to the end of the season. Next week you can just be a college football fan, and that’s always a nice change of pace.