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Morning Musings: A Haunting Memory

By on October 11th, 2017 in Football, Memories, News 13 Comments »
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AP // Alex Brandon

Once again, it was a tale of two halves last Saturday. The typical third-quarter woes from Coach Malzahn worry me. For whatever reason, his teams, whenever they take a double-digit lead of any kind, take their foot off the gas pedal in the second half. There was no reason Auburn should have allowed 23 points last weekend. There was also no reason Auburn should have only scored 44 points, considering its 35-point first-half performance. 

Sure, you can get away with lethargic second halves against Ole Miss this season. But, you know whom that won’t work against? Alabama, Georgia or even LSU. Fix it before it becomes a devastating problem in the near future. 

Auburn’s passing game… has shown significant signs of improvement over the course of the season, and it’s really no secret why. Since Chip Lindsey has taken complete control over the play calling, Jarrett Stidham has completed 79.1 percent of his passes for 1,081 yards, five touchdowns and just one interception. And on the flip side to that, Auburn’s receiving corps have become the most involved that I’ve seen in a very long time on the Plains. Six different Auburn receivers have at least one catch of 46 yards or more this season.

It’s that variety in the passing game that will prove to be crucial if Auburn hopes to run the table this season.

LSU will be honoring Les Miles… and the 2007 National Championship team on Saturday afternoon. So a year after being fired, Miles will be honored while LSU plays the team that got him fired in the first place. We’ve come full circle.

Will Auburn beat LSU in Tiger Stadium… for the first time since 1999? Other than the 2014 National Championship, the most painful Auburn game that I have seen live was in 2007 in Baton Rouge.

“They scored too early” is what I kept telling myself after Brandon Cox threw a touchdown pass with just over three minutes left to take a one-point lead. Sure enough, LSU drove down close enough to be able to take a knee in the center of the hash marks and kick a field goal. But that never happened. Instead, Les Miles decided it’d be best to take a shot to the end zone. It was one of the most baffling coaching decisions I have ever seen.

Auburn’s secondary was taken completely off guard, and Matt Flynn completed a 22-yard pass in the corner of the end zone to Demetrius Byrd to win the game. At 10 years old, I remember shedding tears that night over an Auburn game for the first time in my life. 

Eight straight losses in Death Valley. The last time Auburn won in Tiger Stadium, I was two years old. This series has haunted me for my entire life. 

13 Comments

  1. AUsall says:

    You think it haunts you, Auburn beats LSU in 1988 and they go undefeated and beat Notre Dame for the national championship. The domers were a running team and nobody ran on the greatest defense in Auburn history. That is by far my worst loss ever although obviously the loss to Florida State is pretty close…

    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

      Me too AUsall,

      I've never gotten over it. LSU still celebrates that game today.

      And more importantly it allowed Notre Dame to make a smart decision and bypass facing Auburn and the best defense in the nation (led by Tracy Rocker) in the Sugar Bowl to play upstart West Virginia in the Sunkist Fiesta Bowl in Tempe, Arizona.

      As I’m sure you know, the Fiesta was not as prestigious at the time as the Sugar (having originally been a bowl created for the WAC champions). I've talked with Rocker and a couple of coaches from that team and they say it still stings today. It was another near miss at a national championship for Dye after the No. 2 Tigers were leaped frogged by No. 6 Miami in the final 1983 poll.

      • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

        Speaking of smart decisions. LSU turned down a much more lucrative financial offer to play on the midday CBS Game of the Week to play at night.

        There was not the multiple dollars from various TV outletss back then and everyone didn't get to play on TV. CBS got first pick but a home team could decline.

        LSU wanted a stadium full of rowdy and drunk Cajuns.The move was good enough to allow them to get the one point win and knock Auburn out of a chance to play No.1 Notre Dame for the title. It's still the reason I want to pound the Bayou Cats every year!

        • ATL_AU_FAN ATL_AU_FAN says:

          Well, thanks AUT, I had almost forgotten that game. We were there for that. And, yes, that crowd was really, really, rowdy especially outside the stadium. I would venture a guess that there were nearly half as many fans remaining outside the stadium as there were in the stands. There were so many that those of us in the stadium could hear the outside crowd almost as well as the Bengal Tigers inside the stadium.
          It was ridiculous.
          But, kudos to those Purple Tiger fans who, at that time, gave us zero grief to speak of. (It would get worse in later years…)
          I will put the :13 second loss to FSU for the National Championship as the most heart-breaking loss we have witnessed in person, but that LSU game is definitely right up there. That was a National Championship just waiting to happen. I have no doubt our Tigers would have beaten the Irish.

          Anyway — This is a really important SEC game between the Tigers and Tigers.

          Getting really anxious over this one – AU should be “head and shoulders” above the Bengal Tigers but still… It’s Death Valley.

      • AUglenn says:

        Thanks for the history ATM. Learn something all the time here at TET.

  2. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..I’m not opposed to playing all backups with a 35-3 halftime lead. But…. you need to keep running the offense! Call some pass plays (on first down) for Malik Willis. Don’t just keep pounding your speedy scat back up the middle! Same for the defense. Keep firing a linebacker or safety.

    …..I’m all for getting the backups ready. Giving them a vanilla game plan isn’t the way to do it.

    • audude audude says:

      Ditto Acid. Good point Cole. We need to play our game with whoever we put into the game. NEVER take your foot off the neck of the opponent. Let’s make sure we remind the corn doggers why they fired Les and make them wonder why they hired Ed Oregano!

      WDE

    • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

      This!!! ^^^^^^^

    • sparkey sparkey says:

      Funny, when you say people agree with you. When I said it, folks jumped all over me. Do people honestly think that Chip Lindsey turned off his offense when he had no reason to do let up at all? Put the backups in and keep doing what you do with the backups. If you guys can’t see that Gus told Chip to shut it down to almost nothing, we have to agree that we are on two completely different wave lengths here.
      Gus was so worried about embarrassing Ole Miss, he had Chip take the offense down into almost nothing at all. It was run up the middle, run up the middle, then try to throw on third and long. Did Gus call the play exactly? No. Did Gus give Chip an extremely limited play book in the second half? He absolutely did that. So, I guess you could say he wasn’t technically calling the plays. Still, he is the one who decided the offense would go completely vanilla and I am not sure how people can argue against that.

  3. AUNation AUNation says:

    I have no doubt that our two teams are worlds apart right now as far as projection/perception, chemistry, and effort being given on the field. LSU did just beat a hapless UF team and it has added a little more national interest back to this weekend's game, but I think that speaks more to just how bad UF actually is than how much LSU has improved.

    Apples to apples showing where Florida is currently, UF pulled a win vs. UT out of their rear ends… UGA named their score against that same UT team. All the tangibles point to us beating LSU much like we did MSU. Take away a one dimensional offense's one dimension and it should be game, set, match.

    But what does concern me is the intangible voodoo juju. I'm not a gambler, but the old line is, "Always bet the streak" and even though no one can clearly define why, there is wisdom in that. AU has some kind of gigantic, corn dog eating, gorilla monkey latched onto its back called Baton Rouge that needs to come off at all costs.

    History and head games are Auburn's greatest challenge Saturday. I don't care if we have to go full ball control, eat clock from the opening kick, and win by a point. I hope I am right in saying this, but I think if we win this one it will be the first of several streaks this team is going to put to an end. UGA and UA will be next.

  4. wde1988 wde1988 says:

    You live by the sword… you die by the sword. In my opinion what happened to Les Miles last year was a thing of his own doing. How many times during his tenure did you see the grass eating mad hatter lunatic doing something bold and courageous to win the game?

    The guy had panache! There is no denying that. Plus, he had some excellent quotes.

    Here are some of my favorite:

    “It never rains in Tiger Stadium, but it was very close to rain, if not a very stiff dew.”

    “Good afternoon. I just wanted to remind everybody that it’s Columbus Day. All those of you that know Italians, like Italians, or the people that might venture onto a ship and travel to explore and find new lands, this is your day. It’s not St. Patty’s day — that’s a different day entirely.”

    The dude was NEVER boring. He was simply done in by his own medicine.

    To me its almost worth the price of admission to see the LSU faithful grovel and think of times past with Miles as they embrace their future with Orgeron… the fact is these corn dogs may become suicidal if Gus let’s this team play.

    Still, I am admittedly worried about this game. I think everything depends on Malzahn. If the weak kneed, nervous Nellie get’s off the bus on Saturday playing conservative I don’t like our chances. You got to be who you are. And point of fact, when it comes to outthinking himself, Gus scares the hell out of me. But that’s nothing new for AU fans. Remember when we played Arkansas a few years back when they had John L. Smith?? I still don’t know how that team beat us…

    Malzahn has a decent staff. He ought to hand Chip the keys and say do what you got to do to win. And then tell Steel to ensure he has top cover to do it. Then let these kids play! And don’t turn off anything. The undeniable irony here is this could be a similar crossroad for Malzahn if he loses.

    Here is hoping for an Auburn victory! Strike up the band!!

    WDE!!

  5. Col.Angus Col.Angus says:

    We have the talent to decimate LSU, especially considering their current situation. Get an early lead, and let the crowd turn on them.

    Preparation and execution. That is all. No excuses at this point.

    WarEagle

    • AubieCE AubieCE says:

      you are so right Karl, erm Col. Angus
      AU needs to hit them in the mouth and not let them up.
      A couple of bad LSU series and their fans will have the torches and pitchforks ready.