It wasn’t quite as good as a first kiss or even that first sip of beer, but Saturday night in Auburn felt pretty damn good. It’s been too long. If we’d been Clemson fans, we’d torn down the goal posts. Nobody is suggesting Auburn is back, but there’s no arguing that things are going up on the Plains.
Say what you will about its new quarterback, but show me another one that’s better after only six weeks on campus. While the players don’t have the luxury to enjoy this win too long, Auburn fans can and should take a little longer to savor it.
Pessimist will point to how far the program has fallen to consider Saturday’s win a big one, but when it has been two years since your last conference victory, you take it and celebrate.
This weekend in Baton Rouge will be a measuring stick for how far Auburn has to go. They are playing maybe the best team in the country, despite the propaganda you hear about Alabama in these parts.
With a rejuvenated offense under new coordinator Cam Cameron, No. 8 LSU put up a school record 571 yards of total offense in a 45-13 tune-up win over Kent St. Saturday night.
The word on the streets is that Auburn has no chance; but remember they came within an eyelash of winning at home last year, despite playing with its worse team in 60 years, so anything is possible.
Besides, Auburn has a quarterback and team that now believes.
Before its final drive, Nick Marshall was uneven, but he never questioned his resolve. Stepping into the huddle with just over a minute to play, Marshall made it clear to his teammates they were going to win.
“I told them that we were going to win this football game,” Marshall said. “I knew I had made mistakes throughout the game, but I didn’t let that get to me. I put it behind me.”
Most importantly, his teammates believed him. That’s saying a lot for a quarterback making his first SEC start.
“I knew it the whole time,” defensive end Dee Ford said. “On the sideline, they were saying, ‘defense, get ready for overtime.’ I kept saying, we’re going to score six.”
“The poise and confidence he had going into that two-minute drill, it was unbelievable,” said C.J. Uzomah, who caught the game winning touchdown. “We have all the confidence in the world in him.”
That may be enough to carry Auburn a long way this season. In three short weeks, this Auburn team has found something that was elusive a year ago.
Three weeks into the season that’s all we can ask for from this team. Auburn football is fun again. The jar is half full. Hard times are surely ahead, maybe only days away, but Auburn fans have already bought into this scrappy team.
Auburn football is back and all is right with the world.
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