Welcome back all you cool cats and kittens, to the Pain Train known as Auburn Football Theater 2020, where I go back and watch an Auburn football win from the past that most people have forgotten about…it has a special place in your heart for the wrong reasons. This week’s selection is the latter for me. Growing up in south central Georgia, I really didn’t have a lot of friends that were Auburn people so it was concentrated in my home. Dad and I were the big Auburn fans and would live and die with recruiting, games and the Football Review show each week to see how the Tigers would look. I can remember watching the first half of this game and then being told that I had to go to bed (for church I guess) and that dad would put the score on my bed post so I didn’t miss anything. To my surprise, Auburn won, without scoring a point from when I stopped watching. Following the 1990 victory over #5 FSU, there is a noticeable jump in most peoples collection of Auburn related games to the 93 and 94 seasons. That’s mainly because after the 1990 football season, Auburn only won two televised games. TWO. One is from the 1992 season against LSU and the other is this week’s pick. This week we travel to the 40 Acres of Austin Texas, where the Horns are waiting. This is the 1991 clash between #13 Auburn and Texas.
Coming in to the ball game, Texas had opened the season ranked 13th, and traveled to Starkville to take on Mississippi State. Needless to say that was not a fruitful venture as the offense sputtered to just 2 field goals and State was able to pound out 13 points in a 13-6 Texas loss. The good news for the Horns was that they had a week off right after that opening ball club to get read for Auburn. Speaking of the Tigers, they were undefeated on the year with good wins at home against Georgia Southern and Ole Miss. They had moved up from 17 to 13 after those two wins and looked to take their show on the road and improve on offense. The defense was classic Pat Dye good so there was no real worry there.
The bourbon choice today is Noah’s Mill. If you haven’t tried it, it’s a winner.
So, I am not gonna lie, I have sorta been looking forward to this one. Even though the game is rough, it has my all time favorite crew calling the action.
And you can’t have Ron and Mike without Adrien roaming the side lines
*Pours some out for AK, we miss ya buddy*
Alright so Auburn takes the ball first and Thomas Bailey starts things off right getting the Tigers out to the 39 yard line and the offense went to work, every play gained yardage and less than a minute in, the Tigers drew first blood.
So that didn’t take long as the Tigers went through a very good Texas defense like a hot knife through butter.
Texas would look to answer, taking it from their 21 and would get a first down before a big 3rd play to extend the drive.
DID YOU SEE THE HIT ON THE QB?! If you didn’t, watch again. If you enjoy old Auburn defense like I do, just settle in.
So a punt would fall that and again Thomas Bailey would get Auburn in excellent field position, at the Auburn 46. The Tigers gained a few yards and would need a 3rd down conversion to keep the drive alive.
Even with the ref playing an excellent screen, Hall can’t bring it in and Auburn has to punt. The good news is that Texas is still going with a power run game which…yeah, that doesn’t work and a 3 and out followed. Bailey again would have an excellent return, this time getting it to the Texas 43 yard line. Auburn would march it down but have to settle for a Field Goal attempt.
Yeah, that’s what they call penetration and its not good if the defense is doing that to you.
So Texas finally gets it in good field position, at their own 47. They begin to move the ball a little bit and get it into Auburn territory before the Horns are faced with a big 3rd down.
That, my friends, is a large man and he can be as big as he wants coach.
That sets up a chance for Texas to get on the board.
Or not. So we are still stuck at 7-0 Auburn on top.
Auburn took over at the 20 and was able to work it to about midfield before needing to punt and the Horns would get it back at their own 24 before going to the air.
Ron took the words right out of my mouth. It was almost as if he owed Barlow a favor and this was the payoff. So, Auburn is up 14-0 and things seem really good. The two teams would exchange possessions and the Horns would start the following drive from the 30. Following a first down, they would need to pick up another 3rd down conversion to keep the drive alive.
Look at young Fred Smith! Who knew that in 3 years he would have a monster Pick 6 again LSU. The Tigers would take over from their own 16 and would gain a quick 9 yards in 2 plays and just needed a yard to keep the drive going.
Ugh…so that penetration thing is an issue on offense now.
Texas would notice that their offense was doing just as much as they were two weeks ago against State and sub in their backup quarterback who is an option style QB as they started their drive from the 44. Auburn is caught a little off guard by this and Texas motors down the field until they finally hit pay dirt.
And just like that, Texas has scored their first TD of the season…just 6 quarters in to the season. So that cuts the Auburn lead to 14-7 as we are late in the 2nd quarter. Auburn would look to answer and would start their next drive from the 26 and would get it moved down into Texas territory but would end up stalling out to try a field goal.
Ugh… The Horns would then take that momentum and drive down with a whole second left to try and cut a bit more into that Auburn lead.
Well, he did get the ball off the ground at least. So at the half, Auburn leads 14-7.
To start the second half, Texas picked up exactly where they left off, moving the ball from their 34 down to the Auburn 22 before disaster struck.
So another bail out from Texas and the offense went to work. I think I can count on one hand how many trick plays on offense Auburn ran under Pat Dye…GET THE TAPES OUT FOLKS!
What a fantastic play and it was executed perfectly. The bad news…
The next play was the opposite. Auburn’s best drive since the very first one of the game gets squashed thanks to a fluke helmet hit. Following the turnover, both teams would trade possessions and the Horns would take over at the 39 before the Auburn defense would take charge.
Give Saxton credit, he tried his hardest to get that ball off but the defense would have none of it. Texas would end up punting to Auburn and the Tigers would get it at their 13 where they would promptly go 3 and out and would shank a 14 yard punt that would give it to Texas at the Auburn 31 yard line. How oh how would Auburn get out of this one??
Well that will do it. The Texas offense again thinks an Auburn defender is a Texas receiver and Auburn is back in business at the 3. Stan would lead the boys out to the 25 where a 22 yard punt would follow and the Horns would again be in good field position at the Auburn 42. I ask again…how would Auburn wiggle off the hook this time??
You guessed it! The Auburn defense rises up once again. Once again, the two teams would trade possessions and Auburn would take over from the Texas 34 following another stellar return from Bailey. Auburn would inch it down and give Von Wyle another shot at a field goal.
Sometimes, it just isn’t your night bud. Texas would get it from the 31 and go right to the air.
Ok, we almost had a tie game there if not or that last gasp tackle. Auburn’s defense would tighten up and put Texas into a 3rd down predicament.
I combined both just so you could see, Saxton (the Texas QB) is definitely out for the rest of the game after banging his head off of that turf. Wow that was nasty. So Texas gets the 3 and its 14-10 with around 5 minutes to go.
Auburn would get it from their 31 and would have a very nice drive, milking the clock and getting it down to the Texas 24 yard line before going for it on 4th down to not risk a blocked FG. So the Horns get it with just over a minute to go from their own 24. Texas gets a first down but can’t do anything else and turns it over on downs. Auburn would get it back with 8 seconds left and take a knee to bring this one home.
Following this offensive spectacle, Texas would somehow beat #6 Oklahoma two games later, which was definitely the high point of their year. They would end up 5-6 on the year and that would wrap up David McWilliams 5 years in Austin and would make way for John Mackovic. Not to be out done, this was the high point of the season for Auburn as they would be handed their first loss of the season the very next week against Tennessee and then the following week Southern Miss would take down the Tigers. Auburn would finish the year at 5-6 and miss a bowl game for the first time since 1981 under Pat Dye.
Well, that’s it for this edition of the Auburn Football Theater. There are only two games left and man…that won’t be fun. For me that it, I hope its fun for you.