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Auburn Football Theater 2020: #8 - 2008 vs Tennessee

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Hikeba from the Satellite of Love, I’m Drew, your host, as we walk through the worst wins in Auburn history that I have video of in my collection. So far on the countdown, we’ve been to Columbia, South Carolina where Auburn took down a solid Steven Garcia led Gamecock team and we watched last week as Auburn gave The Hat his final blow at LSU and saved Gus Malzahan’s coaching tenure at Auburn. This week though? This week the Mads have given us a win that really meant nothing…Thus we begin the…

part of the count down. From here on, there is not much redeeming about these wins. On top of that, they are tough games to watch, where there’s no offense…no defense…or a sick combination of both, SOMETIMES EVEN IN THE SAME PLAY, as we will get to in this stink burger…the 2008 Tennessee @ Auburn game!

THE PREGAME

Both teams came in to this one with rustled fanbases to say the least. Tennessee had started the season ranked 18th in the country, coming off an SEC Eastern Division Championship in 2007, but had found the going rough so far as they entered with a 1-2 record. A win over UAB had done little to quite the fans after a loss in the Rose Bowl against UCLA in overtime to start the season and a very poor effort in a home loss to #4 Florida the week prior. The star of the Vols show was safety Eric Berry. Yup, that Eric Berry.

On offense though…well…

Yeah, definitely not a player like Eric Berry. I feel like Jonathan Crompton’s music video would be done by that Wal Mart yodeling kid from a few years ago.

Auburn knew what the Vols were going through offensively at least. Auburn was 3-1 on the season and entered the contest at #15 in the country. The week prior, Auburn had lost a late lead and given up a game against #6 LSU 26-21 at home and were trying to find themselves offensively under new offensive coordinator Tony Franklin. Franklin would switch between quarterbacks Chris Todd and Kodi Burns, though he had stuck with Todd the previous 2 weeks (against Mississippi State and LSU). The defense, on the other hand, was one of Tuberville’s best products. Paul Rhodes headed up a group that led the nation in most categories and looked to keep that trend going until the offense found itself. Mix all of this together, along with CBS betting that Tennessee would beat Florida and Auburn would beat LSU as both teams were at home the prior week, AND WE HAVE OURSELVES A SLOBBER KNOCKER OF A PILLOW FIGHT!

THE GAME

Leading us on our tour of this one are some familiar faces

Uncle Vern and Cousin Garry

While they aren’t the best , at least they aren’t Rod Gilmore.

And there’s the kick as Tennessee would start off from their own 25 yard line and 3 plays later they were punting to Auburn, who would start off in great field position at their own 45. Chris Todd would get the nod and the Tigers would get a first down and then would think about some trickery.

On the first look, you would say, ‘Wow, that’s some stellar defense by Tennessee to get pressure like that and snuff out the trick play.’ And you would be right, the defensive line did their job. But later, Gary had time to break down what happened on the back end and we see how close to the sun the Vols flew on that play.

MAN! If Dunn had been able to pull the trigger, that would have been the Tennessee we’ve known and loved since…well since 2008. So Auburn would punt and give it back to Mr. Crompton and Tennessee.

MAN! And Crompton could have had his first completion of the game if he would have caught his own pass there! JC wanted nooo part of that as he would have had to have taken a shot from that Auburn defensive line. No shame here, I would have ran from that one like a nest of bees were that football. Tennessee would punt it back to Auburn after that play and the Tigers would go on their best (only) offensive drive of the day, as they covered 69 (nice) yards in 11 plays, capped off by this beauty to Robert Dunn.

Tennessee would take the ball and look to begin a march to answer the Tiger TD.

Ok, so don’t do that.

Actually, JC would complete his first pass of the game on this drive. It didn’t look like this play later in the drive.

DAMN GARY! CHANNELING HIS INNER HATIN’ ASS SPURRIER AND BRINGING THE HEAT!! With that being 3rd down, Tennessee would bring out the FG unit to cut in to Auburn’s lead.

So it’s 7-3 Auburn.

Auburn would take the kick out to the 36 and look to build upon their success in the last drive.

SO that meant a punt in 3 plays. Tennessee would take it from their own 21 and with the help of some big runs, the Vols would be set up for another big 3rd down deep in Auburn territory.

No, that is not the same clip from earlier. That’s a completely different play. I don’t know who Crompton knows on that sideline but he really wants to give them a ball to take home as a souvenir. So again, the Vols would send out the Field Goal unit. I will spare you from another FG clip, it was good, and its now 7-6 Auburn. Auburn would then take the kickoff to the 27 and would get it to just short of the 5 before they were forced to punt and were able to pin the Vols back to their own 5 yard line. That’s were JC and a name that Fantasy Football owners would come to love in later years, combined to make magic.

Lost in this clip is that yes…

Peyton is in the building to take this one in. And no, thank God, he didn’t have any eligibility left. I mean, don’t get me wrong, as Gary called it ‘as easy a play as you can get’, but how do you not look the ball in to the basket of the Running Back’s stomach when you are at the 5 yard line, in the student section end of the field (meaning it’s really really loud), when you’ve already had fumble troubles with that running back and yourself. So, Auburn takes a 14-6 lead.

Tennessee would take the ball from the 25 and look to just get back on track.

So that was 2nd and 2. The Vols would punt after 3rd down. Auburn would take it from the 36 and KODI IS ALIVE! The crowd loses its collective minds and, this is the stuff they wanted to see.

AUBURN’S GONNA WIN THIS ONE PAWL!! In all seriousness, that’s a Cam Newton sorta play in that everything just worked out. Auburn would get down to the Tennessee 18 where ol’ Wes Byrum would extend Auburn’s lead.

Should have said ‘try to’. SO…its 14-6 Auburn. Tennessee would take it from the 20 and try to get some points before the half.

And that’s how the half would end at 14-6.

Auburn would get the second half kick and go from the 20. Before we get to the clip, Uncle Vern and Cousin Gary will take a look at the 1st half. I warn you about this because the Red Cross is making me…avoid the stats and just know its bad. It’s real bad.

So after that Auburn would punt in 3 plays. Tennessee would answer that punt with a punt of their own and would pin Auburn at the 4 as Todd comes back in. The Tigers would look to break out of the bad position on a 3rd down play.

SO A 3 AND OUT PUNT IT IS! Tennessee, not to be out down, would get the ball from the 44.

SO A 3 AND OUT PUNT IT IS! This time Auburn would get it at the 2…

*big gulp of bourbon*

I know how this game ends and Chris Todd still has me nervous…HOW WAS THAT NOT PICKED OFF?! Good Lord, he might as well could have handed it off to the Tennessee secondary and that would have been that! Todd would lead the Tigers out of the bad position and would get to the Vol 44 before he flew too close to the sun.

JC and the Vols would begin their best drive of the day from the Auburn 37, though it would take them 9 plays to finally find paydirt.

So with the failed 2 point try, its Auburn’s lead 14-12 as we are early in the 4th quarter. The Tigers would get the kick from the 20 and would grab a 1st down before the drive stalled out and were forced to punt.

At this point, I’m not sure if Auburn really wins this game. The Vols have it at the Auburn 38 and are down just 2 points.

OH YEAH! Jonathan Crompton is the quarterback for Tennessee and they call a QB Draw on 3rd and 10! That’s right! For some reason, Tennessee punts, praying Auburn will make another mistake deep in their own territory. Auburn takes it from the 11 and punts 3 plays later. Tennessee would get it from the 42 and would be forced into a 3rd and 4 to keep the drive going.

I mean, Gary is doing my work for me. Not sure what’s happening there, but JC just wants to get to the bus ASAP.

The Tigers would get it from the 20 this time…lose 8 yards and punt. Tennessee would not take such generosity and give it back to Auburn after 3 plays. Auburn, from the 20 again, would put back in Kodi and would only lose 2 yards on this drive before punting and would give it back to Tennessee with time winding down. Once again, it would be put on the shoulders of Jonathan Crompton for a big 3rd down play.

I mean, at least JC made a smart decision and had a 30-70 chance of his guy catching it or getting a PI bailout call. However, Tennessee would punt down to the Auburn 5 where Kodi Burns would look to ice this one away.

Tennessee would use the rest of their Time Outs but it was for naught as Auburn, who gained only 77 yards in the second half, who went 3 & out 5 of the 8 times they touched the ball in the second half, who went 3 & out 7 of the 13 times they touched the ball in the game(!), held on for a 14-12 win.

THE AFTERGLOW

So, after this one, Tennessee would continue to struggle to find themselves, the lowest point of the season, a Homecoming loss to the Cowboys of Wyoming. Even finishing the season with back to back wins over Vandy and Kentucky weren’t enough to save head coach Phillip Fulmer and would pave the way for the Lane Train to pull in to Knoxville.

Auburn followed a similar path to the Vols. The following week was the debacle in Nashville where Gameday came for a Top 20 clash between Auburn and Vandy that would see the Dores beat Auburn 14-13 and the spiral began. Auburn would close out the year dropping every contest save for a homecoming win against UT-Martin. Auburn and Tommy Tuberville would part ways and would make way for Gene Chizik to make his way back to Auburn.

Well that does it for another installment of Auburn Football Theater 2020. Tune in again next week as we hit the 7th toughest victory to watch in my library…till then… hit the button Frank