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A Miserable Day on the Plains

By on September 17th, 2018 in Football 27 Comments »

Auburn DB, Javaris Davis was called for pass interference although it looked more like offensive interference. (photo: Kevin C. Cox/getty images)

“Maybe I just don’t know football anymore.”

–  Stan White, former Auburn quarterback and Auburn Network color analyst

The words spoken by White following the final pass interference call that ultimately led to the LSU game-winning field goal was shared by most Auburn faithful who watched a pivotal SEC game be taken from them by league officials. What did they see that clearly no one else did?

Another former Auburn quarterback, Jason Campbell, perhaps said it best, “It’s a shame they didn’t let the game be decided by the players.”

LSU 22 Auburn 21.

Like many contests in this series, this one will take awhile to get over. Auburn didn’t play its best football. The Tigers should have never been in a situation to allow an inept official determine the winner. It’s hard to play unevenly for four quarters against the SEC West and come out a winner.

Like in other championship years, a loss to LSU doesn’t mean the end of the road, but it’s hard to see a way to Atlanta unless the offense gets a whole lot better. And the penalties, oh the penalties. Auburn now leads the SEC in penalty yardage.

Jarrett Stidham will need much better days if this team is to be a factor. While he was not horrible, there were more than a few overlooked receivers, and the two interceptions were as costly as they come in a big game.

To Stidham’s defense, the receiving team failed to show up most of the day. Freshmen Anthony Schwartz and Seth Williams had flashes of greatness, but veterans like Ryan Davis had costly drops.

The Auburn running game must find a way to get more on the ground, Boobee Whitlow crossed the 100-yard mark for the second consecutive week, but as a team, they managed only 130 yards on the ground. It’s going to be hard to win football games if production doesn’t get better. Kam Martin has officially been placed in the witness protection program.

Most confounding was the way the offensive line manhandled the LSU defensive front during the back half of the second quarter and into the third period, only to stop and regress for the rest of the game. Consistency has plagued this unit during both of its big games.

The sky is not falling today. This team still has everything to play for moving forward. After what should be tune-up games against Arkansas and Southern Miss, they head to Starkville on October 6 in what possibly could be the toughest test before facing Georgia and Alabama in November.

Auburn opens as a 27.5 point favorite against Arkansas. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. CT and will be carried on the SEC Network.

27 Comments

  1. meathead530 says:

    Gus just doesn’t know how to get his teams mentally prepared.

    • uglyjoe says:

      Not to beat a dead horse 49 million times, but I agree.

    • neonbets says:

      When I read stuff like this, I can’t help but to think of that classic Bobby Knight press conference where he was asked about ‘game face’. Knight’s response is perfect. In this case, simply replace ‘game face’ with ‘mentally prepared’ …

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LqKTKUvbVsA

      Sorry, but that’s just funny.

    • zotus zotus says:

      “We’re settlers, son. We settle for things.

      “We settle for a total beat-down at the hands of — GASP!!! — UCF in the Peach Bowl … while, we celebrate a High School Coach with a High School Mindset — who picks his nose on the sidelines and watches as his team lives & dies on Trick Plays & Field Goals — as a Football Genius and as One of the Best Offensive Minds in the Nation.”

      “What have you been doing, Steven Leath, while Rome burns all around you?”

      “Working the land. Passing out seven-year $49-million contracts. Hoping for a fertile Spring.” replies Mr. Leath.

  2. Zach Taylor Zach Taylor says:

    Obviously I want to save most of my thoughts for my upcoming article, but the lack of preparation isnt just game by game. Every team has a game every year that they just aren’t mentally prepared for.

    Not Gus. Every single year he isnt prepared to play the first quarter of the entire season.

    Kam Martin gets the entire spring and fall camp as the number one guy. I knew he wasnt the guy. You know he wasnt the guy. Why doesnt gus? Where is Kam now? 3rd string.

    Caleb Kim wasnt ready. This was compounded with poor play calling that accentuated it.

    Is Stidham a first rounder? I’m not so sure anymore. I know this: put him on a team coached by Holgerson, Petrino, Fisher, or any of five other coaches…..most or all making less….and hes a Heisman contender.

  3. Jason Wright says:

    Good article Jay.

    No doubt Auburn could have done more should have been better, But it was the worst piece of officiating I’ve seen in my entire life. As I said on Acid’s post Sun, coaches and players all took the high road and did not do any finger pointing at refs. But I damn sure can. There’s no way that one ref didn’t impact the outcome and frankly I’m pissed that Gus didn’t call him out in his post game remarks. So what if the SEC fined him for speaking out, he needs to have his player’s backs.

    • Pine Mt Tiger Pine Mt Tiger says:

      You are spot on Jason. And what’s more, it was the same official every time. I was in the stadium and listening to Stan go crazy over the bogus calls and I was mad as hell. I’ve never been so mad with officiating!!! I agree Gus should have called the official out in his post game remarks or at the least send a letter of complaint to the league office!

    • Tigerpharm says:

      Wish we had a rec button. Agree 100% Jason.

    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

      Yep, 'one' ref made a big impact.

      To me his worst call was the one that I think flipped the script. It came on Auburn’s drive with about 8-9 minutes to go. Leading 21-10, the Tigers had the momentum and may have been threatening to score and put the game away, when Stidham threw a bomb down the right sideline and ("that same ref”) was standing there watching as the LSU defender pushed the Auburn receiver in the back with both hands as the pass was coming down into play…. no flag!

      Then LSU gets the ball back and goes down to score. Now instead of it being an 11 point game or maybe even an 18 point Auburn lead, it suddenly was a 2 pt margin. “That ref” doesn’t call an obvious flag on them right in front of him on Auburn's pass play, BUT calls two bogus ones on Auburn when LSU was on their frantic comeback attempt. Total BS!

      Absolutely stinks that 50 yr old guys can rob and rip the heart out of 20 yr. old players who have so much work, sweat, and blood invested in playing the game. I was so disgusted with it.

      I don't usually jump on them too hard but I've been attending Auburn games since 1958. I can't ever remember being this upset when I was at a game. And now 36 hours later I'm still steamed, too steamed to write an article about it.

    • Jonathon Jonathon says:

      I disagree only because we lost this game well before “bad officiating” set in.

  4. AUTigerinBR says:

    I wish I knew how to type a scream, but it’s Monday and I still feel like I just need to go outside and scream. I want to scream about not taking 3 pretty much guaranteed points early; about calling running plays that had not worked all day; about pass interference calls that were not consistent to the point that LSU player celebrating getting away with it; about defense not being told to blitz; about a post game press conference with no emotion and the list goes on. I am no football expert, but that is part of what bugged me Saturday. Maybe I will head outside and scream – for therapeutic reasons, of course.

    • Pine Mt Tiger Pine Mt Tiger says:

      LOL
      I’m with you brother!

    • Tigerpharm says:

      I’m still mad about this game but I really feel for both you AUTigerinBR and Domaucan having to endure these losses the last two years. I live in Georgia and I know what would be catching right now if this happened aginst the dogs.

      • AUTigerinBR says:

        TigerPharm, you DO know the feeling. I actually have some great LSU friends and we have fun with sports. I work hard to ignore the rest.

  5. Zach Taylor Zach Taylor says:

    “Everyone just relaxed,” Wanogho said. “When you’re playing a good football team, you can’t do that. That’s on us. At the end of the day, that’s on us.”

    Wut.

  6. audad says:

    We can all scream as much as we want and probably should, but unfortunately that doesn’t change the fact that for the second year in a row Auburn let a less talented LSU team off the hook after having the game well in their control. And having it happen at home is inexcusable if you are a team that expects to compete for championships. A Fr. QB goes on the road for his first SEC game in that environment and completed so many 3rd and longs it was pitiful, not to mention the 4th and 7 on the final drive. Not one turnover forced against that kid. Championship teams make plays throughout the season in big games when they have to be made. When you put all the lapses in with all the questionable play calling, stupid penalties, and questionable penalties, the outcome becomes much more of a coin toss. We lost that toss on Saturday. That was a total team loss. Offense, defense, special teams and coaching all had a part in it. If Gus presented it any other way he was fooling himself. Without significant improvement the GA and ‘bama games may not even be close.

  7. AUwaterboy AUwaterboy says:

    I totally get both sides of the argument: # 1.) It should not have come down to LSU having a chance at a winning field goal BUT # 2.) Refs that can’t be consistent don’t need to be calling big time games like this.

  8. BirminghamEagle says:

    Does the SEC have a way to measure the performance of officials? I mean regardless of Saturday’s game, is there any accountability by the league of the refs?

  9. MyAuburn MyAuburn says:

    I agree that Gus should write the league office, at least that might keeps us from getting “Mr. Interference” again.
    Since the game I have come up with a foolproof way for the AU DB’s to never get another call and never allow a completion. As soon as the ball is thrown to their guy the DB needs to run screaming wildly in the other direction. The receiver will be so dumbfounded watching he will miss the ball.
    Of course it will only work until they start calling illegal vocal chord use against us.

  10. Rayguns says:

    While Auburn certainly had their opportunities to win this game despite the refs, ultimately the refs decided the outcome of this one. ThE refs performance in this one should be adressed by our new athletic director Mr. Allen Green. He should show up at the Birmingham office with broken down game tape in hand and demand answer and accountability.

    I would demand that referee that was responsible for those calls or lack thereof not be allowed to call another Auburn game. Mr.Greene should flat tell SEC office no to even bother sending that official to Auburn ever again because will not even be allowed on campus. This will make a difference, it has in the past.

  11. DothanTiger DothanTiger says:

    Good post Jay. I'm so glad you're writing your column again.

  12. Tiger4Life says:

    They had the ball for 35:00 minutes; ran 11 more plays and had ZERO turnovers.
    We had the ball for 25 minutes; ran 11 less plays and had TWO turnovers.
    They were 40% on 3rd down and 50% on 4th down. We were 33% on 3rd down and 0% on 4th down.
    We simply didn’t step on their neck when we should have.