Auburn players celebrate win over Bama with the student section. (photo:Julie Bennett,al.com)
Chris Denson and KT Harrell scored a combined 55 points tonight to help Auburn end their losing streak and defeat arch rival Alabama. The two Auburn guards matched the total points scored by the Tide as the Tigers broke the streak over the Pachyderms backs with a 19 point blow out 74-55 victory.
Auburn has had five close SEC losses this season – all coming in the last couple of minutes. However, it didn’t come down to the last few minutes this time as the Tigers dominated Bama, jumping out to a 12-0 lead right out of the gate.
Chris Denson had a career evening pouring in 32 points on the night; and he and Harrell pulled down 18 rebounds to boot. Bama was never in the game. It was a truly great way to end the team’s losing streak, especially coming against the Tide.
The highlight of the night came when Football Coach Gus Malzahnalong with the team received the Foy-ODK Sportsmanship Trophy for winning this year’s Iron Bowl. The team was given a standing ovation by a full house.
Gus Malzahn told the fans, “I’m here to tell you, this trophy, it’s going to be around here a while. War Eagle!” His speech was 38 seconds, which was 37 seconds longer than it took to beat Bama back in November.
Traditionally the SGA president of the losing school in the Iron Bowl is present to sing the winning school’s alma mater during the trophy presentation. However, Alabama’s SGA president, Jimmy Taylor, was said to not be able to make the trip due to weather conditions. Not sure about that one myself. But hey, I wouldn’t have wanted to be there either … not after the 34-28 gut wrenching loss Bama suffered two months ago today.
His absence didn’t take away from the celebration though as the fans and the players sang the fight song together.
The victory over the Pachyderms brings Auburn’s overall record to 9-9 and 1-6 in the SEC while the Tide fell to 9-11 overall and 3-4 in the league. What a great night … Our trophy comes back home and the Tide suffers an embarrassing 19 point whipping. You can’t ask for much more than that.
The top returning quarterback in the SEC. (Photo by Acid Reign.)
War Eagle, everybody! Today, the icy state of Alabama thaws out, and we look forward to spring football. With the state shut down, I had plenty of time to catch up on my reading. One thing that really struck me was that nationally and even around the SEC, Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall is getting little mention. What little ink the Auburn passing game gets is to repeat that Auburn has a defensive back throwing the ball, and that the passing game is an afterthought.
Occasionally, some of these writers ought to look at the facts. If one were to actually check some national numbers, it turns out that Nick Marshall finished 9th in the FBS nation in adjusted quarterback ratings. He finished ahead of such luminaries as A. J. McCarron, Braxton Miller, Connor Shaw, and Tajh Boyd. Of the 8 guys ahead of him, Johnny Manziel, Aaron Murray, Zach Mettenberger, and Clint Chelf do not return in 2014. My question is this: how is the 5th best returning quarterback in the nation left off all the preseason Heisman watch lists?
The Auburn passing game was interesting to watch develop in 2013. It looked very shaky in the season opener, as there were a number of missed throws, and dropped balls. I think folks tend to remember the drops and overthrows from September, but those largely went away as the leaves turned last fall. Today, we’re going to take a look back, and see how the Auburn passing game developed week to week during the 2013 season.
Cam Newton celebrates Auburn Basketball’s last win over Alabama.(photo: Albert Cesare,Opelika Auburn News)
February 6th, 2013 Auburn’s leading scorer Frankie Sullivan missed his first 11 shots against Alabama and the Tigers trailed at the half 23-13. But Auburn overcame the deficit to win The Iron Bowl of Basketball 49-37.
It was the last time Auburn won an SEC game.
Tomorrow night Auburn will have a chance to repeat that winning performance as the two arch rivals will go at it at 7:30 p.m. in the Auburn Arena. The game was scheduled for tonight but inclement weather has caused it to be rescheduled for Thursday right after the Women’s 5:00 p.m. game against Texas A&M; it will be the second part of a doubleheader.
It’s been a long 12 months since Auburn celebrated their last conference victory. The Tigers (8-9, 0-6 SEC) have lost 21 of their last 22 regular-season SEC games including 16 games in a row – a school record. The SEC record for most consecutive conference losses is 22, set by Alabama between 1968-1970.
Despite having the SEC’s leading scoring tandem in Chris Denson and KT Harrell, Auburn has lost six straight this year. Although the Tigers have been competitive up to the last couple of minutes in most of those contest, they have yet to secure a conference victory.
For some reason, Auburn always seem to struggle at the foul line but the biggest problem, as of late, has been a failure of the rest of the team to help Denson and Harrell offensively. The bench in particularly has been almost absent in production with a low point of a 0 for 28 performance coming in a 82-74 loss to Mississippi State.
The Tigers really struggled in their last outing against Arkansas, shooting only 36 percent and losing by nineteen 86-67. With a third of the SEC season in the books, Coach Tony Barbee said his team needs to, “Play with confidence and focus and poise down the stretch.” That’s a hard thing to do when your 0-16 and haven’t been able to make a shot in the last couple of minutes of five close games.
The Tigers can’t do anything about those 16 loses but they can do something about ending the streak. They can beat Alabama!
The Tide (9-10- 3-3 SEC) comes into the game not much better off, currently tied with three other teams for fifth place in the Western Division. However, they did look good in overcoming a 19 point deficit to defeat LSU in their last outing.
The highlight of the night may come at half time as Coach Malzahn and the football players will be on hand to receive the Foy-ODK Sportsmanship Trophy for the football team’s spectacular win over Alabama in the Iron Bowl.
Hopefully that won’t be the only bright spot of the evening … Maybe the Tigers will end their losing streak with another win over the Tide.
The SEC was the first conference in the country to move to divisional play in 1992 to utilize an obscure NCAA rule that permitted a conference championship game to be added between the two divisional champs. It further dictates that each division must have an equal number of teams and that each team play every other team in the same division at a minimum. When we had twelve teams in the conference and an eight game conference schedule, the format was workable. Along with playing your five division mates, the SEC initially mandated playing two permanent teams from the opposite division and one rotator. This format was originally believed to be an attempt to placate Auburn, who probably should have been in the East with three of it’s four biggest rivals there. After eleven seasons with that template, the conference moved to one permanent and two rotators, with the thought that it was taking too long to work through a home and home with each rotating team and that under the new guidelines, you could work through twice the rotators each year. For Auburn, it meant the elimination of the annual rivalry with Florida, but the needs of the conference came first.
That format seemed to be working well until 2012 with the addition of two more teams to the SEC, Texas A&M and Missouri. Now we had six divisional games to play but we pared down to two games from the opposite division–one permanent and one rotator. With the conference still tossing around the idea of adding a ninth conference game, the current schedule is merely a stop gap until a permanent solution is decided upon. If we keep the one rotator with a eight game slate, it’ll mean seven years between the home and away games from the same rotating opponent. Many argue that sort of infrequent scheduling hardly constitutes a conference at all and are looking for new solutions.
With some teams having permanent non-conference rivalries, there leaves little room for cupcakes, kickoff games, and trying on new opponents if we move to a nine game conference schedule, so there aren’t a lot of options. The ACC is considering all options, including a solution where conferences can determine the free-scheduling of it’s teams provided the NCAA relaxes it’s divisional requirements. Basically that’ll mean that each school doesn’t necessarily have to play each team in it’s own division and that the conference game participants will be determined by the conference, more than likely through national ranking.
That illogical leap might be more than some fans can stand. But divisions hinder as much as they help. It does keep intact some major rivalries but it’s done away with even more. Under such a change, teams could still schedule their major rivals and perhaps add back some dormant ones, if not permanently, then at least more frequently. I doubt that the top schools would attempt to duck competition although some may have grown accustomed to the departure of certain teams during divisional play. However, if divisions are to be that loosely determined, they might just be thrown away with altogether other than what’s necessary to preserve the title game in Atlanta. continue reading
Photo by Opelika-Auburn News Don’t expect the state’s top recruiting prospect to get caught off guard on national signing day. While Auburn’s Rashaan Evans may still be in high school, he’s seen enough to understand how the recruiting game is played at the Division I level.
Being the most wanted player in Alabama runs in the family. It was 32 years ago, that his father, Alan, was the prize of every high school coach in America. He was the once in a lifetime, can’t miss running back out of Enterprise.
Auburn was sure that if they landed him, the nine year dominance by Alabama would end soon. In an era where there were no stars beside your name or websites to capture your every thought, Evans was the talk of the state.
Few had seen him play, but everyone had heard of him. When he signed with Auburn, it felt like a seismic shift in the state. Auburn had returned. Pat Dye had pushed back hard against Bear Bryant. The leveling of the playing field had started.
Many of you know the rest of the story. That same year, Dye also persuaded a lesser known running back to Auburn. His name was Bo Jackson. The seismic shift happened, but it was caused by the kid from Bessemer.
“Back then nobody knew anything about Bo Jackson, he was kind of flying under the radar at the time and I was getting all the press, like Rashaan’s getting now,” Alan recently told al.com.
Alan would stay on campus two seasons and rush for 42 yards on 24 carries. He finished his career at Tennessee-Chattanooga.
He’s determined to get it right this time with Rashaan. After what can only be described as a very positive weekend visit to Auburn, the five-star linebacker heads to California next week and a stop at UCLA.
Nick Saban made his final in-home visit last Wednesday. After watching the struggles last year of former teammate and now Alabama linebacker Rueben Foster, Evans is content to sit on his choice of schools until signing day.
He says he learned a lot about the process from Foster.
“It was a nightmare for him,” Rashaan said. “He cried so many nights. He just didn’t understand why people couldn’t understand his situation with the pressure and all that. All he was trying to do was make the right decision for himself and his family.”
Evans said this weekend on the Plains was impactful, especially his meeting with Gus Malzahn.
“He lined us up as if we were about to play,” Evans told AuburnSports.com. “He said this could be the future. He was giving a lot of information about what we could go do together, that was a big thing for me.
“Playing besides Tre (Williams), that’s my boy, and also Deshaun (Davis). He did that, it made me feel differently about Auburn – maybe a little bit better. “It made me feel for sure about Auburn, Malzahn and what he wants to do with the program.”
Today we bring back a feature that ran years ago here at Track’em Tigers. We call it Nostalgia Friday and it’s a look back at old games and athletes that have left their mark on the Auburn football program. If you have any old games you’d like for us to spotlight, let me know. You really can’t re-start a segment without kicking it off with the best.
I’m of course, talking about Bo Jackson. Although Bo remains a big personality both at Auburn and nationally, many younger people have never seen a lot of his game footage. The video above shows most of his great runs both at Auburn and while playing for the Oakland Raiders. Some of the footage is a little grainy, but it’s worth the watch.
It’s hard to put into words how special he was at running back. He’s not just the greatest player to ever suit up at Auburn, he may be the greatest of all-time. Judge for yourself.
Where can the Tigers look to improve in 2014? (Photo by Acid Reign.)
War Eagle, everybody. On a cold week with only the Senior Bowl and the Pro Bowl to look forward to, it’s finally starting to sink in that football season is over. It’s going to be a long haul till A-Day. I’m not sure how we’ll survive! Today, I’m going to mention a few news tidbits, then I’m going to look through the SEC team statistics. We’ll look at where Auburn was great, and where improvement is needed if Auburn is to compete again for the SEC Title.
One piece that made me smile was over on the official Auburn website, catching up with former Tiger quarterback Barrett Trotter. He passed up his senior season in 2012, but evidently has not been able to completely give up football. He’s now working as a scouting and operations assistant for the St. Louis Rams. I’m glad to see he’s doing well!
The woes of the Auburn basketball team continue, as they dropped their fifth straight game at Mississippi State last night, 82-74. A look at the box score tells the tale. In an otherwise fairly even game, Auburn was whistled for 30 fouls, compared to just 15 for the Bulldogs. Auburn hit 12 of 13 from the line, while MSU scored 31 of 43. That’s a 19 point swing in an 8 point loss. Auburn’s bench contributed nothing, and was outscored 28-0 by Mississippi State’s bench. Of course, when your reserves only total 34 minutes among 4 players, that’s tough thing. Auburn’s starters have had trouble down the stretch because of fatigue, as much as anything, I think. This problem will only get worse as the season progresses.
Auburn’s Gus Malahn has numerous National College Coach of the Year Awards for the job he has done in leading the Tigers to an SEC Championship and berth in the BCS Championship Game. Below is a video honoring the Auburn Head Coach.