The Dirty Dozen – Week 2
Major Reisman: “Two!”
Team: “The guards are through”
The Dirty Dozen looks at the games that Auburn’s opponents play throughout the season, highlighting points of interest, tendencies and potential issues for their upcoming game with Auburn. For the teams we’ve already played, I’ll look at how they performed with their remaining opponents in relation to their game against the Tigers.
Week 2 saw a bunch of out-of-conference games along with a significant early SEC matchup that may go a long way in deciding how the East Division shapes up. In the West, there weren’t many surprises, but there were still some significant developments that may impact how Auburn fares against division opponents.
Keep in mind the comments are for the OPPOSING team, and only serve as a vehicle for commenting on them, not necessarily our team.
Grading for the games remains the same
!!! – Best game of the week
!! – Surprisingly good
! – Average to good
? – Why am I watching this?
?? – Who would watch this?
??? – What the hell am I watching?
This week’s Dirty Dozen after the jump.
Cupcakes. All the cupcakes.
Arkansas State at Auburn (8 point favorite) – Auburn 38 Arkansas State 9
RATING: ! – Still a competitive game despite the lopsided score.
OFFENSE: The Red Wolves were able to move the ball with short passes, both on the corner and over the middle. Auburn limited the deep strike, but Kennedy was still able to maintain above a 70% completion rate. He was pressured much more than Halliday was for Washington State, but still not enough to disrupt what was a fairly decent passing attack. Their rushing game was all but shut down by Auburn’s front four, with fully half of their rushing total coming from Kennedy scrambling out of the pocket on broken plays.
DEFENSE: Except for one big pass, Arkansas State played well on pass defense and had an adequate pass rush, but their run defense was clearly baffled by the multiple fakes and blocking schemes Auburn was able to throw at them. The Tigers were able to maintain 6 yards per carry and moved the ball well at tempo against a gassed defense late in the game.
KEY STAT: 17 Rushing first downs by Auburn.
COMMENTS: Kennedy’s mobility and ability was the reason Arkansas State stayed in this game at all. That being said, I fully expect this team to do very well in their conference. It will be interesting to watch how they do the rest of the season.
Wash St at USC – WSU 10 USC 7 (15 point underdog)
RATING: ?? – A real stinker of a game
OFFENSE: USC’s defense squashed the Cougar run offense. Halliday was somewhat effective with short passes, but was on the run most of the day and when pressured threw a couple of bad picks (sound familiar?). But the run game was pitiful, with no cougar run over 6 yards in the entire game.
DEFENSE: The only consolation for WSU was that Lane Kiffen is the USC head coach directing two equally inept sophomore quarterbacks and a game plan right out the 2007 Oakland Raiders playbook. Still, WSU’s defense was good enough to limit USC’s only real weapon; Tre Madden – a bruising runner much like Cameron Artis-Payne – to no runs greater than 20 yards or so. It was just enough to give them the edge to win.
KEY STAT: 7 yards rushing on 22 tries for WSU. Make any crack you want about Coach O, but that man can recruit and coach a quality defensive line.
COMMENTS: This was an ugly game, and Lane Kiffen will likely be out of (yet another) coaching job by season’s end. Which also means he’s just as likely to take over at some other impossibly lucrative job he has no rational business even being considered for like Microsoft CFO, Supreme Court Justice or Pope. I’ve never seen anyone so obviously inept get so many top flight positions in a given career field since Nero was promoted to Rome’s top Fire Marshal.
Alcorn State at Miss State – Alcorn St. 7 MSU 51 (43 point favorite)
RATING: ??? – Biggest cupcake of the weekend
OFFENSE: Despite the big numbers and big plays, MSU’s third and fourth down percentages were paltry – 5 for 13 on third down and only 2 for 6 on fourth down.
DEFENSE: Looked stout and effective, but since it was against a glorified high school team, it doesn’t really tell us a lot.
KEY STAT: 6 Alcorn State first downs. Two were on their opening drive. The other four were in 4th quarter garbage time against 3rd stringers.
COMMENTS: By any measure this was an easy game, but Dan Mullen made an interesting decision to burn the redshirt off freshman running back Ashton Shumpert (#32). Ladarius Perkins was on the mend for a foot/ankle injury and out for the game (yet expected to play next week in Auburn) but Mullen had two other quality running backs on hand who also played in the game and really didn’t need the extra help. Curious.
UAB at LSU – UAB 17 LSU 56 (34 point favorite)
RATING: ?? – Another beat down of a vastly inferior team
OFFENSE: I still can’t see any glaring faults with LSU’s offense. Big, strong, punishing running backs, a good offensive line, quality receivers and a big arm, big play mobile quarterback. Scary good.
DEFENSE: Until they fell behind and abandoned the run, UAB was able to move the ball at times on LSU’s defense. Once the defense adjusted however, the wheels came off UAB’s offense and they were crushed.
KEY STAT: Mettenberger was 16 for 19 passing for 282 yards and 5 TDs.
COMMENTS: Maybe not the top yardage gaining offense, but combined with that defense definitely still the front runner in my mind in the SEC West. A VERY efficient team with few mistakes committed at any position. The most complete team in the league.
SE Missouri at Ole Miss – SEMU 13 Ole Miss 31 (49 point favorite)
RATING: ?? – A very sloppy win
OFFENSE: For such an easy win, Ole Miss looked downright inept throwing the ball. Wallace was only 8 for 15 and backup QB Brunetti was only 3 for 12. Running the ball was another matter. Brunetti was devastating on his read option play as quarterback in the second half, and was the leading rusher in the game. Very Tebowesque, including the fumble.
DEFENSE: Well played between the tackles, but surprisingly unsteady in the secondary, especially underneath. This might be a weakness entering conference play.
KEY STAT: Two fumbles and an interception by Ole Miss. Somewhat hidden in the lopsided score, but it could quickly become a problem against an SEC team.
COMMENTS: With a reeling Texas up this week, Ole Miss might be able to hit their break at 3-0. But starting the end of the month is a nightmare stretch in which they play in successive weeks: Alabama, Auburn, Texas A&M and LSU.
Western Carolina at Virginia Tech – WCU 3 VT 45 (41 point underdog)
RATING: ??? – Couldn’t even cover a six touchdown spread.
OFFENSE: Almost no pulse at all. Eddie Sullivan completed only four passes to his receivers and three to Virginia Tech defenders. But he can hang his hat on the fact that he rushed for more yards than any Alabama running back other than TJ Yeldon on the VT defense (and had a higher yards per carry than even Yeldon did in the opener).
DEFENSE: I dunno. They held Tech’s Trey Edmunds for fewer yards per carry than Alabama did, and while they gave up 200 yards passing, it wasn’t like the game was a runaway until late in the second quarter.
KEY STAT: 2 – 13 third down conversions. To be expected by an FBS team, but Alabama was only 6 – 17 the week prior against the very same defense.
COMMENTS: Taken by itself? Barely worth mentioning, but it does serve as an interesting illustration of just how poorly Alabama played in its opener.
Sam Houston State at Texas A&M – SHU 28 TAMU 65 (45 point favorite)
RATING: ?? – Another cupcake. Starting to have Wreck-it-Ralph flashbacks.
OFFENSE: Only a early red zone interception marred an otherwise eye-popping performance by Johnny Football. 400+ yards passing on 28 throws. However, he can’t seem to crack the 70% completion mark no matter who the opposition is, and I haven’t been impressed by any other player in their backfield.
DEFENSE: Even taking away his 68 yard third quarter touchdown run, Texas A&M gave up 100+ yards to five-foot-nine-inch Timothy Flanders, and a total of 240 rushing yards for the afternoon after surrendering 306 to Rice.
KEY STAT: 546 yards rushing in two games against Texas A&M’s defense by a mid-tier Conference USA and an FBS team.
COMMENTS: I believe Texas A&M is vulnerable to a team with a good defense, a containing pass rush and a solid running game. After last week’s game I’m not sure Alabama has all three. This week’s game will be an interesting clash of Titans,… with clay feet.
FAU at East Carolina – 13 to 31 (15 point underdog)
RATING: ? – Not as bad as the score indicates
OFFENSE: Miscues cost FAU the game more than the ECU defense did. Two key interceptions were the true differences in the game. They set up ECU at the FAU 12, and 5 yard lines and resulted in 10 easy points. Other than that, it was a one score game.
DEFENSE: Again, not as bad as the score indicates. That Miami game is looking a lot better after what the Canes did to the Gators.
KEY STAT: ECU was only 5-13 on third downs. Miami could only manage 4-14 against this team.
COMMENTS: I’m starting to revise my initial estimate of this team. It will be interesting to note how they do against the meat of their conference as they play some of the other teams that played the first couple of weeks as SEC out-of-conference games (Rice, UAB, Southern Miss, etc.).
Samford at Arkansas – 21 to 31 (33 point favorite)
RATING: ! – Samford made it scary for the Hogs
OFFENSE: While the Arkansas offense was usually able to move the ball on the ground and in the air, a costly turnover and poor pass blocking kept Samford in the game until the mid fourth quarter.
DEFENSE: A solid effort by Arkansas, but this wasn’t exactly an SEC quality opponent. Samford lost to Kentucky last year by over four touchdowns.
KEY STAT: 103 yards given up to yet another five-foot-nine-inch running back. But in this case, Fabian Truss only weighs 185 lbs soaking wet. Arkansas has its work cut out for them in the SEC West.
COMMENTS: Our thoughts and prayers go out to Samford Head Coach and former Auburn great Pat Sullivan, as he was unable to be with the team for this or the previous game due to him recovering from back surgery. He should be rightfully proud, though. His team fought remarkably well and were on the verge of an upset. Here’s hoping Pat’s back on the sidelines soon.
Western Kentucky at Tennessee – 20 to 52 (12 point favorite)
RATING: ?? – Yet another cupcake. Threatening a sugar-induced coma.
OFFENSE: The outrageous turnover-induced score hides a relatively mediocre effort by Tennessee. The Vols were actually out gained by WKU and significantly aided by the Hilltoppers penchant for drawing yellow flags.
DEFENSE: Gave up a solid five yards per carry, INCLUDING sacks to the Hilltoppers. The secondary may have had a field day, but the Volunteer run defense needs work.
KEY STAT: 4 for 10 on third down conversions by UT in a game they won by 32 points. Oregon will likely tear these guys to shreds.
COMMENTS: Bobby Petrino’s nightmares now include menacing creamsicle-eating sanitation workers. I doubt if the man can even look at that shade of orange again without shuddering. Who knows? Maybe the color brought back some flashbacks of safety cones on a road near Little Rock.
South Carolina at Georgia – 30 to 41 (5 point favorite)
RATING: !!! – The best game of the day. Finally, some meat in our viewing diet.
OFFENSE: 538 yards against a quality SEC defense. Whatever Georgia wanted to do seemed to work when they needed it. Murray hit 74% of his throws with no turnovers and Gurley was a beast.
DEFENSE: Connor Shaw is no slouch as a quarterback, but Georgia has shown a troubling tendency to let good teams with mobile quarterbacks and downhill running backs chew up big gains on them. Last week it was McDowell and Boyd. This week it was Shaw and Davis. It remains to be seen if this is a true tendency or just that Georgia had two very tough backfield pairs to start the season.
KEY STAT: 1083 yards in two games against top ten ranked teams. Georgia’s offense is THAT good.
COMMENTS: Despite being 1-1 I believe Georgia is one of the top teams in the nation. The Clemson game was not a knock on their season. September 28 they take on LSU for what I feel is the first half of the SEC Championship game. However, one more loss may mean trouble getting to the SEC Championship, and even if they subsequently win out, a two loss team is unlikely to ever be invited to the BCS Championship.
Alabama – Bye – No line
KEY STAT: N/A
COMMENTS: Alabama takes an extra week to prepare for Texas A&M. They’ll need it. The game will feature TAMU with Johnny Football and a hollow defense against one of Saban’s great defenses and potentially his worst offense.
In any case it will be fun to sit on the side and watch. Not sure which one I would like to shoot for (or at) to win.
Trivia Note: Major Reisen is holding an M3 “Grease Gun” chambered for the .45 caliber round. Only the screw on barrel and the bolt were machined parts. All of the other major assemblies were made out of rolled stamped steel and spot welded together. It was designed as a cheap and easily manufactured wartime replacement for the much more expensive and complicated Thompson Submachine Gun issued to all services.
These were still in the Army inventory as late as the 1990s. Yours truly was assigned one for a year as a M60A1 tank crew member in 1983. The thing bucked like a riveter on steroids with a surprisingly slow rate of fire (it had a solid chunk of a bolt moving back and forth in the main cylinder of the weapon). It was a real crowd pleaser on the business end – everybody anywhere in front of you got one headed their way. When I was promoted to Corporal (and tank gunner), I was assigned the M1911A1 .45 caliber pistol that the Major wears on his hip, also still in the Army inventory in the 1980s. The nomenclature is the year it was adopted by the US Army – 1911.
He’s also wearing jump boots that buckled – nicknamed “Tanker boots.” Had a pair of those too.
On to Week 3.