Here are the facts. Auburn lost to Mississippi State last night by two touchdowns. There were some officiating lapses, and when you’ve got even Clay Travis pulling for you, things weren’t great.
When your entire body is down short of the goal line, it’s not a touchdown. How do you miss on this call in replay? (The ball is in his hands, further from the goal line than his back). https://t.co/g2xObV23XG— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) October 7, 2018
Still, Fitzgerald’s touchdown and Boobee Whitlow’s touchdown/fumble weren’t the reasons that Auburn lost the game. It’s going to be hard to win when Nick Fitzgerald does his best Matt Jones impersonation and goes for nearly 200 yards on the ground. It’s also going to be hard to win without protecting the quarterback when he needs some time to throw.
That said, here are some thoughts from the game last night:
“Our poor defense deserves an offense and play-calling better than that. Maybe I prepared myself for this after the LSU game, but I’m not even mad. I’m more sad and disappointed.” - Drew McCracken
“This offense has way too much talent to be this bad. At some point, people need to be held accountable. This defense deserves better than this. They played their guts off as usual and have nothing to show for it. But hey, guess what, it’s officially basketball season on the Plains!” - Will McLaughlin
“I didn’t watch the game. Colorado and stuff. But I can not believe Auburn can only score 9 points in an American football match. I once had a JV football coach tell us after a 56-0 loss (we were horrible) ‘Boys, sometimes you just may not can.’” - Son of Crow
“I wish I had a wedding to break down this week. I think everyone saw the same thing — the defense was awesome but they literally were on the field for over 41 minutes. The offense on the other hand was just terrible. No way around that. The thing is, there are flashes of 2017 still there. But, between the OL issues and injuries, Stidham’s poor timing, and the inability to break big runs sans the one from Boobee, it just hasn’t come together. Is it on the coaches? Maybe, but I don’t think it’s the play-calling. They just haven’t brought the team together. Is that on the coaches? Maybe, but they haven’t executed. I’m at the point where I’ll be pleasantly surprised if we have a good offensive game, but I won’t expect it. No, I don’t know how to fix it. No, I don’t want Gus fired. Some years it’s 2003. Some years it’s 2004. Maybe it’s 2003 right now.
Disclaimer for the FIRE GUS crowd: Leath will not let Allen Greene write a $50 million check this offseason. Full stop. Gus Malzahn is still at worst a top 15 head coach in the country. Unless you think you can bring someone in who is AT LEAST worth the same as Gus Malzahn + $50 million, you can’t fire him.” - Ryan Sterritt
“Basically everything good that happened last night came with a caveat. Even when the offense was moving the ball, they still barely stayed on the field to give the defense a breather. A time of possession discrepancy like we saw last night is horrible. Gus’ offenses are supposed to be able to mitigate that with the power run game that we got abused by. I didn’t think the coaches called a bad game on offense, but whether it was Stidham missing passes (the trick play was really, really bad) or the offensive line not giving him the time to set and throw, something always happened to screw up the flow.
We finally got to see a long run from Boobee, but he ‘fumbled’ heading into the end zone. We got a great goal line stop, but Fitzgerald ‘broke’ the plane of the end zone. The officials didn’t do Auburn any favors in that category. But we saw an improvement in careless penalties. Auburn only had two penalties for ten yards. When we saw a good first down gain (which Auburn was better at last night), it quickly turned into the dreaded third down, where the Tigers converted just three of fourteen. And for the defense’s heart, they still gave up over 300 rushing yards. That’s unfathomable from what we thought was the best defense in the country heading into the game. Yes, they spent 42 minutes on the field last night, but 149 rushing yards came before halftime. We somehow didn’t think that Moorhead would make adjustments from the offense that scored one touchdown over the past two games. They went to what works for Fitzgerald and burned us on it, and we never even thought to counter it.
Looking forward, we now have to regroup for the scariest thing in Auburn football history — an 11 AM game at home. Tennessee may not be good, but to be honest, we aren’t either right now.” - Jack Condon
And some blind items from the group chat last night as well:
“Gus didn’t want Auburn fans to lose their mind if we didn’t convert yet another 4th and 1. I’ll take the points.”
“Why do they keep going to the shot of that sad-ass tailgate area?”
“I’ve never seen a more accurate spot yet Bamaham has an issue with it.”
“Why the *&!# is Kam running Wildcat”
“3rd and short is a death sentence.”
“Stidham is broke.”
“Jordan Rodgers was right. Stidham has been ruined.”
“I was willing to believe sandbagging for this game, but I’m not seeing any evidence to disprove that opinion tonight/”
“I’ve long thought benching Stidham would be dumb but man I’m worried he’s lost this team.”
“They are literally just whooping us with same concepts we murdered everyone with Cam.”
“This is how I felt during the Clemson game last year. I’m kinda resigned to not having a good offense. I’ve been wrong before though.”
“I think I want to go watch Jared Harper shoot threes.”
“Stidham is not good at throwing to anyone but the assigned target.”
“Said it before the season: I’d eat a loss to State to get Moorhead out of there.”