Major Reisman: “Twelve”
Team: “Wladislaw and the Major go down to delve”
The Dirty Dozen looks at the games that Auburn’s opponents play throughout the season, highlighting points of interest, tendencies and potential issues for their upcoming game with Auburn. For the teams we’ve already played, I’ll look at how they performed with their remaining opponents in relation to their game against the Tigers.
A wild week of football results in a #6 BCS ranking for Auburn on the eve of the Iron Bowl with a very good chance at the SEC championship and the Sugar Bowl. No one dreamed that Auburn would accomplish such a feat at the beginning of the season. Additionally, half of the Dirty Dozen have become bowl eligible, and four more could still conceivably do the same.
Grading for the games remains as always
!!! – Best game of the week
!! – Surprisingly good
! – Average to good
? – Why am I watching this?
?? – Who would watch this?
??? – What the hell am I watching?
ER = Efficiency Rating (see Cafe Malzahn http://trackemtigers.com/?p=19721)
Never bet against the Tigers Edition
Georgia (6-3 ER:-2) at Auburn (9-1 ER:3.5) (4 point favorite) AU 43 – UGA 38
RATING: !!! – Was there any question this was the best game?
OFFENSE: Manhandled a healthy Georgia defense for three quarters, running up a seemingly insurmountable three score lead into the fourth quarter. The fourth quarter started with three penalties followed by a single poorly executed play and some questionable play calling that gave Auburn two successive three and outs and suddenly it was a one score game with everything on the line for a 4th and 18 play for the win.
DEFENSE: A well played game for three quarters followed by an almost inexplicable four drive fourth quarter in which the defense gave up 231 yards and three touchdowns. Gurley had nearly half of his total all purpose yards in just 12 minutes of game time.
KEY STAT: Except for ‘the play’ Auburn had -8 yards in the fourth quarter
COMMENTS: I don’t know which was more improbable, the pass from Marshall to Harvey-Clemons to Matthews to Davis or the fact that Auburn’s offense had a fourth quarter collapse. As happy as I am with the miraculous win, the sudden rash of penalties, miscues and downright poor play was disturbing to watch and very much out of character for this team. Let’s hope that bug is one and done for the year.
Arizona (6-3) at Washington State (4-5) (13 point underdog) WSU 24 – ARZ 17
RATING: ! – A remarkable turnaround for the Cougar season
OFFENSE: In one of his better games, Connor Haliday threw for over 300 yards, 3 touchdowns and only one interception to keep the Cougar’s slim bowl hopes alive. WSU was able to compliment the passing game for once with a fairly effective run game that kept the Wildcat defense guessing.
DEFENSE: Still not playing well, but held Arizona when it counted, especially on the Wildcat’s last possession in the red zone to preserve the win. Surrendered nearly 400 yards offense, but allowed only three scoring drives.
KEY STAT: 11 different WSU recievers caught passes
COMMENTS: Stopped a three game losing streak with a remarkable hard fought quality win, their first really good game since upsetting USC. If they can maintain this momentum against Utah, WSU will go bowling for the first time in a long while.
Texas State (5-4) at Arkansas State (5-4) (7 point favorite) ASU 38 – Tx St 21
RATING: ! – The Red Wolves are Bowl eligible
OFFENSE: Down 14-7 in the first quarter, and 21-14 after a ill thrown interception in the second, Adam Kennedy responded with a near flawless performance after halftime, and running back Michael Gordon had his best game of the season, racking up 184 points as the Red Wolves scored 24 unanswered points for the win.
DEFENSE: Struggled to stop Texas State on the ground and in the air in the first half. Could not bring pressure on the Wildcat quarterback until late in the game, but effectively shut down the Texas State offense in the second half, allowing only one first down in the third quarter, and only one drive to the red zone well after the game was decided.
KEY STAT: 328 yards rushing for AKU
COMMENTS: A third conference championship is all but out of reach, but Arkansas State will likely play in a fairly good bowl game as the second place Sun Belt team.
Alabama (9-0 ER:7) at Mississippi State (4-5 ER:0) (25 point underdog) Bama 20 – MSU 7
RATING: ? – A boatload of missed opportunities
OFFENSE: With Dak Prescott out injured, Tyler Russell came out passing the ball to no great effect. Only one first half drive penetrated into Alabama territory, ending on the seven yard line with a missed field goal. Later, Alabama gifted MSU with four turnovers, but the Bulldogs could only convert one into a score. Without Prescott and the read option, even a sleepy Alabama defense had little trouble stopping MSU.
DEFENSE: Held Alabama to their lowest score, second lowest per play average all year, and helped cause four turnovers against a team that previously had only seven all season, but the Bulldog offense never helped them out.
KEY STAT: 4 turnovers by Alabama
COMMENTS: Without the threat of Dak Prescott running the ball, MSU’s offense was predictable and easily stopped. Even playing their worst game since the opener, Alabama was more than a match for Dan Mullen’s Bulldogs.
LSU (7-3 ER:1.5) – BYE
KEY STAT: N/A
COMMENTS: Waiting for Johnny Manziel and Co. to arrive in Baton Rouge
Troy (5-5) at Ole Miss (6-3 ER:-0.5) (29 point favorite) Ole Miss 51 – Troy 21
RATING: !! – An outstanding offensive output by Ole Miss
OFFENSE: A record setting performance with over 750 yards of total offense in a balanced attack. Everything they tried worked well and often against the Trojans. Good pass protection and very effective blocking kept the ball moving for 11 of 17 third down conversions.
DEFENSE: While they easily stuffed the Troy run, the Rebels were vulnerable to the Troy spread passing game, even with a relatively successful pass rush. The Trojans racked up 362 yards against the Rebels and not all of it was against backups.
KEY STAT: -12 yards rushing for Troy
COMMENTS: This week’s matchup with Missouri ought to be one heck of a high scoring game. Neither Ole Miss nor Mizzou is defending the pass all that well, and both offenses are running and passing effectively.
Furman (5-5) at Western Carolina (2-8) (no line) Fur 32 – WCU 20
OFFENSE: In one of their best offensive performances all year, Sullivan came off the bench in the second quarter and threw an immaculate 55 yard touchdown pass in the third to pull the Catamounts to within two points. Even when Furman scored a touchdown, WCU marched down the field for a field goal to keep the game within a touchdown. But a fourth quarter meltdown sealed their defeat.
DEFENSE: Couldn’t stop the Furman run game, alowing big gains and big plays. The defense stiffened in the red zone, but the Furman kicker was accurate, converting 6-6 field goals that were the difference in the game.
KEY STAT: Furman was 10-21 on third down conversions.
COMMENTS: Heroic effort but to little effect. One last game against Appalachian State remains for
the Catamount season.
Texas A&M (8-2 ER:0.5) – BYE
KEY STAT: N/A
COMMENTS: Getting ready for the Bronze Medal game for the SEC West.
Florida Atlantic (3-6) at Southern Miss (0-9) (17 point favorite) FAU 41 – USM 0
RATING: ! – A blowout win for an interim coach
OFFENSE: Established the run early and punched through one of the nation’s worst run defenses. Had a surpringly poor pass attack, Jaquez Johnson completing only five of nine passes for 37 yards, but when the owls were averaging five yards per carry, it didn’t matter.
DEFENSE: Held the Golden Eagles to thier worst performance in a bad year, less than a yard a carry on the ground and only 12 of 37 pass completions all game long. Even thier late score was against third stringers.
KEY STAT: -3 turnover margin
COMMENTS: FAU under interim coach Brian Wright is a different ball club than what it was under Pelini. Since halftime of the Tulane game, the Owls have been well disciplined, effective and efficient. Like USC and Coach O, Wright seems to have the team on a different path than his former coach, and should be rewarded with a head coaching job.
Arkansas (3-7 ER:-7) BYE
KEY STAT: N/A
COMMENTS: Getting ready to play for last place in the SEC West with Mississipi State
Tennessee (4-6 ER:-4.5) BYE
KEY STAT: N/A
COMMENTS: The Commadores come to town next week to sink the Vols and their Navy
Georgia (5-3 ER: -2) at Auburn (9-1 ER:3.5) (4 point underdog)
RATING: !!! – Aaron Murray for Heisman
OFFENSE: Murray was on track for one of his worse games of the season, without a passing touchdown and well below his season average. Then the fourth quarter hit and Murray seemed to will the Dawgs back into the game, hitting 75 % of his throws and scoring three touchdowns, two through the air and one (questionable) on his feet.
DEFENSE: Unable to stop the Auburn offense through three quarters, the Georgia defense came alive in the fourth, recording two sacks and four tackles for a loss in a shutout of the Auburn offense. Even the one scoring play allowed was defended well with both defenders in good position.
KEY STAT: 231 of Georgia’s 415 yards were in the fourth quarter
COMMENTS: Aaron Murray is a dangerous opponent. Georgia was by far our closest competition and Murray was at the top of his game in the fourth. That he came up short in his final try doesn’t diminish an outstanding performance by arguably the best quarterback in the conference.
Alabama (9-0 ER:7.0) at Mississippi State (4-5 ER:0) (25 point favorite)
RATING: ? – A very poorly executed game
OFFENSE: Lethargic and slow, Alabama never seemed to execute their plays effectively. Whenever they started to move the ball, a penalty or turnover would end the drive. Poor discipline, poor execution, and no spark whatsoever.
DEFENSE: Solid as always, otherwise this might have been an upset. But they shut down MSU’s attempts at running the ball, and when Tyler Russell went down to injury, MSU’s passing threat ended.
KEY STAT: 1.8 yards per rush by MSU.
COMMENTS: Alabama clearly took the day off on this one. There was little spark, no interest and very poor play throughout. Saban can’t be very pleased, and hapless Chattanooga is likely to be buried under a relentless pounding game plan.
The 12th week of SEC play was not a kind one in terms of efficiency. Three winning teams dropped slightly due to sloppy play (Alabama, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss) on one side of the ball or the other.
Georgia gained slightly in the loss over Auburn mainly due to offensive efficiency near the end of
the game. Auburn gained as well on offense, but surrendering a ton of yards dropping their defensive numbers so that it nullified any gain.
Trivia Note: Born Charles Buchinsky. Charles changed his last name to the more American sounding Bronson as he started to get work in Hollywood in the 1950s. After the success of ‘The Great Escape’ in which he played a claustrophobic ex coal miner (which wasn’t really much of a stretch, prior to joining the Army during WWII he worked in a Pennsylvania coal mine and suffered from claustrophobia because of it) he was cast as the German speaking Wladislaw.
In the movie, Wladislaw comments that his father was coal miner from Silesia. In real life, Charles Buchinsky’s father was a coal miner from Lithuania.
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