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Auburn Tumbles Against the Bulldogs (Grading Auburn’s 27–10 Loss at Georgia.

By on November 11th, 2018 in Football 12 Comments »

Auburn had little leverage on Georgia backs
(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

     War Eagle everybody. It’s time now for the Acid Reign Report on a disappointing Auburn day, visiting the Georgia Bulldogs. The offensive line had little success moving the Georgia front, and a tendency to run the ball away from any lead blocking continued this week. If you think Auburn’s running game has been bad this year, wait till the team no longer has senior Chandler Cox, next season. Meanwhile the defense missed open-field tackles and at times got blown off the ball as the Bulldogs frequently moved effortlessly into Tiger territory. Auburn abandoned all the elements of the offense from the miraculous comeback a week ago. Ryan Davis was ignored on crossing routes and was not allowed to run many of them. After talking about less substitutions and more pace, Auburn instead had even more weird packages and substitutions that were ineffective.

     Towards the end of the 2015 season, we began to see the light come on for the Auburn defense, and the team became able to stuff runners in the middle and string out wide plays for little or no gain. The next 2 seasons Auburn became a team that played with leverage and was quite difficult to run the ball on. This year, all of that progress has been lost. The leverage is gone, there is no help or gang tackling, and guys can’t stay in their lanes. Even if Auburn stopped Georgia on 1st down, invariably Georgia would run the ball again on 2nd down, knowing that Auburn is inconsistent in the front 7. Like Bulldogs, Volunteers and Aggies before them, Georgia continued to run the ball effectively against a defense that wilted as the game went on. Some of that is due to offensive ineptitude, also.

     This was a terrible week on offense for the Auburn Tigers for, basically, 3 quarters. Auburn had some nice misdirection dialed up on early drives. Once Georgia adjusted, the offensive brain trust reverted to milling around and sending a parade of different players into the game each snap. Gone is the deep ball as Auburn no longer wishes to try and stretch the field. Virtually all routes run in this game were less than 20 yards. Georgia was able to camp 7 or 8 pass defenders in zone coverage and snuff out Auburn’s endless screen game. This Tiger receiving corps can’t make it through a game without dropping passes.

     Special teams took a step backwards this week. Auburn was only able to force 2 punts. Meanwhile, Auburn regressed to a pedestrian 40.3 yards-per-punt average and gave up a 41-yard kick return.

Unit grades after the jump!

Defensive Line: C. Playing short-handed, this unit got pushed around again. The line managed 15 total tackles and just 2.5 for a loss. Georgia piled up 333 rushing yards and averaged 6.6 yards per carry.

Linebackers: C-. The linebackers contributed 27 tackles, including 2.5 for a loss. Over pursuit and missed tackles were the order of the day.

Secondary: C. Auburn gave up 223 passing yards in this game on just 23 attempts, which works out to 9.3 yards per pass. When a defense is giving up 6.6 yards per carry and 9.3 yards per pass, it is not going to stop the other team consistently.

Punting: B-. Arryn Siposs and the punting unit were just middling this week, averaging 40.3 yards on 6 punts, and did not allow any return yards. It looked like Auburn sacrificed yardage in order to keep the ball out of the hands of Bulldog return men.

Punt Returns: B. Georgia punted only twice, pinning the ball at the 1-yard line once. Ryan Davis had a 13-yard return on the other punt.

Kick Returns: D. Auburn only got one chance at this, and Noah Igbinoghene made it only to the 16-yard line before coughing up the ball. Fortunately, teammate Jordyn Peters recovered it. Igbinoghene has fumbled on his last 2 kick returns.

Place Kicking: B+. Anders Carlson hit his only extra point and field goal attempts for the game, and nailed 2 touchbacks on 3 kickoffs. On the return, Auburn allowed 41 yards.

Offensive Line: B. Auburn did better this week, particularly in pass protection. Georgia managed zero sacks and only 4 tackles for loss. In the running game, Auburn backs picked up 6.1 yards per carry.

Running Backs: B. While the backs had a good average per carry, they were only handed the ball 13 times in this game for 80 yards. One of those was an early 30-yard burst by Shawn Shivers. Take the 30 yarder out, and the average drops to 4.1 yards per carry. I can’t fault the backs for this as our running play design has been very poor of late. Again, the “packages” design hurt here. If Malik Miller came into the game, you knew they were going to try a screen pass to him. You also knew that they were never going to look at Shivers in the flat.

Receivers: C-. The drops continue, and route-running is sloppy and uninspired. More than half of Auburn’s completions were little screen passes to Ryan Davis, who finished with 13. Davis did not get more than 10 yards on any of them. Outside receivers Darius Slayton and Seth Williams were held to 4 receptions for 46 yards total.

Quarterback: B. Stidham again did not turn the ball over but had some missed throws that I’m sure he’d like to have back. On the day, Stidham completed 24 of 36 passes or 66.7 percent. Stidham only had 163 yards on all those completions. That works out to only 4.5 yards per pass. The downfield game never got going.

     Auburn falls to 6–4 on the season, and likely will finish with a 3–5 record in the SEC. Only a couple of regular season games remain against Liberty and in Tuscaloosa against Alabama. Auburn’s likely total record will be 7–5, and that will be a pretty common record in the SEC. Auburn will be compared to the likes of Missouri, South Carolina, Texas A&M, and Mississippi State for bowl bids.

     Auburn hosts the Liberty Flames next Saturday, which will be the last game of the year for the seniors at Jordan Hare Stadium. Liberty is 4–5 on the season, coming off a 45–24 loss at Virginia. Liberty has an offense that can move the ball vertically, but that defense—the Flames are giving up an astounding 39 points per game.

     The Auburn vs. Liberty game will kick off at 3:00 PM Central Time next Saturday and will be televised on the SEC Network. That should give me a chance to get a good morning nap, and I’ll be well rested and ready for my usual play by play. We’ll have the thread up around 8:30 or 9:00 AM that day. War Eagle! It’s great to be an Auburn Tiger.

12 Comments

  1. easyedwin easyedwin says:

    Ugh! That was piss poor! I thought we would play much better.

    • wpleagle wpleagle says:

      I wonder if anyone else was as pissed off as I was by the smarmy, snarky fake field goal attempt that Georgia attempted when up by 17 points with barely 4 minutes to play in a game it had dominated for three quarters. My respect for Kirby Smart dropped about 150% with that b******t!

  2. zotus zotus says:

    Acid,

    Do you think of the Falcons as the Auburn Tigers of the NFL? … or, do you think of Auburn as the Atlanta Falcons of college football?

    Besides, of course, that both teams have recently made Baker Mayfield and Nick Chubb look like they were more powerful than a locomotive and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

    But, at least, the future looks bright in some quarters of in Lee County. So, there’s that. Still waiting to hear from Arthur Blank.

    Keep hope alive!

  3. zotus zotus says:

    P.S. … and, Acid — anyway you look at it — Malzahn’s offense is worse than mediocre. It’s a failure. No gentlemen’s “C” here. No, the grade is “F” – Period.

    Auburn used to known as “Running Back U.”

    Nowadays, “Green Back U” — with the 5th highest-paid coach in the nation, its only “claim to fame.”

    Click here for the dim reality:

    https://www.al.com/auburnfootball/2018/11/statistically-speaking-auburn-on-pace-for-worst-scoring-offense-of-gus-malzahn-era.html#incart_river_index

  4. Randyc37 Randyc37 says:

    As always, a great analysis of the game last night. After the loss last night, I feel that the annual game with UGA is no longer a rivalry. Auburn has now lost 6 straight games in Athens, Georgia. This season has been a disappointing season for all Auburn fans and significant changes are going to be required if this Auburn football team can be expected to compete with the upper echelon of the SEC. The Auburn football program is at a “crossroad”. I only see two options for Auburn at the QB position next season. Either go with a transfer QB like Kelly Bryant or start Bo Nix at QB as a freshman assuming that he still comes to Auburn. I do feel that Joey Gatewood and Malik Willis will either transfer or be asked to play another position at Auburn.
    My horoscope this morning seemed to apply to the current situation at Auburn. It read as follows: “At times it feels like you are against the world when it is really only you against a few things that did not go immediately right. After you take a breath and adjust your attitude, try again; the world will get on your side”.
    War Eagle!

  5. maryland tiger says:

    This time next week Malzahn will be 6-13 against LSU, Alabama, and Georgia – with no wins on the road. Texas A&M, Tennessee, and Florida are all on the rise. We are (at best) a mid-level program along side Miss. St. and South Carolina. As someone who loves Auburn football, this is not acceptable!

  6. ATL_AU_FAN ATL_AU_FAN says:

    I made this comment on a previous post but… Is this where “winning at all costs” make Auburn get rid of Chip Lindsey and make the now-fired Bobby Petrino – that fine upstanding gentleman – the next OC?

    • Randyc37 Randyc37 says:

      I am thinking that the next OC may be Hugh Freeze.

      • ATL_AU_FAN ATL_AU_FAN says:

        Not too much difference but, yes, I would vote for Freeze over Petrino.
        I have not a clue what the AD has in mind but this should be a coaching call. The HC is the owner/CEO of football and what is currently ongoing almost screams a change. Or maybe, just maybe, the HC is the problem. i’ve been on the Gus Bus from the beginning but, still, things change.
        What won’t change is the mindset of the President, AD, and BOT, I’m afraid.

        • Randyc37 Randyc37 says:

          It will be cheaper to change staff positions than to pay off Gus Malzahn. Auburn does tend to have a better season after a mediocre season. A good OC and a QB to fit the offense could remedy some of the issues with the Auburn Football program. Of course, Gus Malzahn would have to completely surrender the keys to the offense. Perhaps Bruce Pearl can help out.

  7. ATL_AU_FAN ATL_AU_FAN says:

    What? Not a single unit received an “A”?
    And those same units did not deserve an “A” –
    Auburn, as in three previous games, could have won this one. But, alas…
    There just doesn’t seem to be that “killer instinct” with the players which I tend to think is the responsibility of the coaching staff. I am not a coach and I may be very wrong here and, if so, please feel free to correct me.
    Auburn looked very, actually really, good starting this game but, at some point, the wheels fell off. I think the players were doing what they were told. Unfortunately, that wasn’t what they should have been told. Yep, I’m hanging this game on the coaching staff. Not the players, per se, although the defense could not have seemingly tackled a fish out of water or shot one in a barrel. But, like bobbing for apples, you got to keep trying and they didn’t. They were on the field too long due to an offense providing virtually no support.

  8. dyingculture dyingculture says:

    Yeah, this game really does feel different somehow. What makes it different for me is that it just feels like this football program is at a crossroads. Worse, it feels like “where do we go from here?”

    Worse yet, where do we go from here, but firing Malzahn isn’t an option. Malzahn doesn’t seem to have any answers either. This program feels moribund and it’s going to stay that way for a while. That’s how this game feels different.

    I hope this doesn’t affect recruiting. Maybe recruits can feel the program is different too.

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