One Down, Three to Go
USA TODAY Sports
Saturday afternoon was overwhelming.
Throughout the entire week leading up to the game, I was preparing myself for a loss. I had seen this game play out in front of me countless times. Gus Malzahn and big games just typically don’t add up to victories very often.
Following the LSU game earlier this year, many fans called for Coach Malzahn’s job. This segment of fans felt that it was just unacceptable for a team to be up 20 points and find a way to lose. They were right. There was also a segment of fans that felt that Gus should be given time and have the opportunity to finish out the season. Because who knows, maybe he could turn things around and give us a season to remember. They were right, as well.
At certain points of the season, both of these groups—the “fire Gus” and the “keep Gus” camps—had completely valid points to back up their base arguments.
But whether you’d like to admit it or not, last Saturday’s game saved Gus Malzahn’s job. Fans were tired of losing this game. Auburn was 2–9 against Georgia since 2006 with an average score of 32–18 in the Dawgs’ favor. This year, that narrative shifted.
It was the most dominant performance I have ever seen from an Auburn team. Following the opening drive of the game, the defense woke up and played lights out, holding the Dawgs to just 46 rushing yards—139 yards lower than their previous season low. On offense, the Tigers were versatile with play calling and refused to take the foot off the gas pedal for 60 minutes against a quality defense.
Long gone is the offensive line that allowed 11 sacks to Clemson. And for the time being, it looks like Coach Malzahn and offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey have finally found some middle ground in the play calling. There wasn’t a team in the country that could have won on the Plains last Saturday.
This year, the Iron Bowl has suddenly become a winner-takes-all matchup. And we all know what happened the last time this game had these types of stakes.
Get the job done this weekend, because No. 1 looms in the distance for the second time.