The Dirty Dozen – Week 6
Major Reisman: “Six”
Team: “The Major gives the rope a fix”
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.
Momentum. Coaches and fans talk about it all the time. One event, one turnover will sometimes turn the emotion of a game for good or ill. A despondent team will react to a given event and it will start a series of further events that either enhance or stifle the play on the field. This was true during week six for Auburn’s dirty dozen.
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 as always
!!! – 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?
Big Mo Swing Edition
Ole Miss at Auburn (3 point underdog) Auburn 30 – Ole Miss 22
RATING: !! – A solid win over a ranked team
OFFENSE: Despite passing for 336 yards and two touchdowns, Bo Wallace had arguably his worse game, suffering six sacks and two costly interceptions, one for touchdown. Even accounting for Jeff Scott’s 52 yard scamper in the third quarter, Ole Miss had its second worst game running the ball. The Rebels couldn’t seem to penetrate the line of scrimmage for more than a yard or two, gaining every carry over four yards outside the tackle box.
DEFENSE: Surrendered the most yards on the ground of any game this season. Unable to stop the QB read option play – when committing to stop one, the other went for nearly 7 yards per carry. Pass rush and coverage weren’t tested as much, but that didn’t help the run defense.
KEY STAT: 6 sacks and 17 QB hurries for the Ole Miss offensive line
COMMENTS: Fell behind early and never seemed to show any consistency in moving the ball. Made only one third down conversion in the entire second half. With TAMU visiting this week followed by LSU the week after, Ole Miss may be .500 by Halloween and struggle to be bowl eligible by season end after starting out 3-0. A severe momentum swing in the wrong direction.
Washington State at California (2 point favorite) WSU 44 – Cal 22
RATING: ! – A three touchdown swing in momentum on turnovers
OFFENSE: Halliday threw for 521 yards and is now averaging 322 yards per game (344 against Auburn) at the midpoint of the WSU season. But his one interception was in the red zone, and led to an immediate six points on the next play. With Halliday passing well, WSU has all but abandoned the run – registering less than 55 yards for the fourth of six games.
DEFENSE: Turnovers by Cal in WSU territory obscured a very poor defensive showing by WSU. Gave up nearly 500 yards passing.
KEY STAT: Two Cal fumbles inside the WSU ten yard line and an interception at the WSU 27.
COMMENTS: Nearly an identical game by both teams except for the momentum killing turnovers by California. WSU escaped rather than ran away with the game. This team will likely be in a bowl game by the skin of their teeth.
Arkansas State – BYE
KEY STAT: N/A
COMMENTS: One more out of conference game against Idaho before competing for the Sun Belt title.
LSU at Miss State (10 point underdog) LSU 59 – MSU 26
RATING: !! – A close game until a fourth quarter meltdown
OFFENSE: For three quarters, Dan Mullen’s two headed monster of the Prescott/Russell offense kept pace with LSU, even pulling ahead for a few minutes in the second quarter. Then an interception and a costly sack tore the heart out of the MSU offense and another interception sealed the defeat.
DEFENSE: Gashed for big yards by the ever efficient Mettenberger and rolling juggernaut of Jeremy Hill, MSU only managed to stop LSU from scoring twice in the first half and not at all in the second. By the fourth quarter they were completely gassed – LSU was moving the ball in 15 yard chunks late in the game.
KEY STAT: Only 3 punts for the entire game, two by LSU.
COMMENTS: Momentum killing turnovers/sacks and a tired defense sank MSU. Until the last three minutes of the 3rd quarter, this was still a one score game.
LSU at Miss State (10 point favorite) LSU 59 – MSU 26
RATING: !! – Offensive efficiency was the difference
OFFENSE: Mettenberger was methodical and diligent, throwing a near perfect game (86%) for 340 yards. Jeremy Hill and Kenny Hilliard had big gains inside, keeping the MSU defense backpedaling more and more as the game progressed.
DEFENSE: Had difficulty stopping MSU early, and it wasn’t until the fourth quarter that the pass rush became effective, killing two key MSU drives. Other than that, a forgettable evening on defense.
KEY STAT: Odell Beckham Jr. had 9 catches for 179 yards and two TDs. Only Auburn has kept him under wraps for an entire game.
COMMENTS: Still the most efficient and complete team in the SEC West. I don’t see either Florida, Alabama or TAMU (the three remaining ranked teams on the schedule) matching them in performance.
Western Carolina at Chattanooga (no line) WCU 21 – Chattanooga 42
RATING: ?? – Throttled by a 2-2 conference rival
OFFENSE: A turnover filled first half resulted in a four touchdown hole that WCU never climbed out of. Other than that, had little success moving the ball but still competed.
DEFENSE: Placed in a bad situation three times in less than two minutes, they managed to stop one score but could only slow the Chattanooga offense thereafter, never truly stop it.
KEY STAT: Three of four first half interceptions were on three successive pass plays in the 2nd quarter, resulting in 14 points.
COMMENTS: Too many big plays, too many turnovers, too little, too late, too bad. Next week brings little relief other than playing in front of a big crowd at Jordan Hare. That Mars Hill win may be the only one for the Catamounts this year.
Texas A&M – BYE
KEY STAT: N/A
COMMENTS: Travel this week to Oxford for the third of a four game series from hell for the Ole Miss Rebels (Bama-Auburn-TAMU-LSU).
Florida Atlantic at UAB (5 point underdog) FAU 37 – UAB 23
RATING: !! – A surprisingly good game.
OFFENSE: Jaquez Johnson looked confident and poised, moving his team nearly 300 yards in the air and another 100 on the ground. FAU only punted twice and spotted UAB 10 points early before taking control and driving repeatedly on long steady scoring drives.
DEFENSE: Good run stop, steady pressure on the quarterback and a disruptive secondary frustrated repeated UAB drives.
KEY STAT: FAU was 5 for 7 in the red zone, all touchdowns.
COMMENTS: Two punts, one penalty and no turnovers by FAU (if you’ve been reading, this is an important acheivement for this team). Finally a complete game by FAU without miscues to give it away.
Arkansas at Florida (11 point underdog) Florida 30 – Arkansas 10
RATING: ! – Momentum shift aided win
OFFENSE: A first quarter fumble and a second quarter interception for a touchdown were Brandon Allen’s primary accomplishments in the first half. Even so, Arkansas had some success running the ball early, but as Florida adjusted, Arkansas stopped even trying to run and pushed their attack vertical into the teeth of the Florida cover defense without success. Sophomore QB Brandon Allen’s youth and inexperience wasn’t up to it as he only completed 41% of his throws.
DEFENSE: Gave up two big scoring plays, one to end the first half and one to start the second half. Otherwise, did a fairly good job in containing the Florida offense until a late drive in the fourth put the game away. Fairly good field pressure and run stop by the front seven.
KEY STAT: 3 plays – Take away the pick six and the two big coverage busts and Arkansas played a top 25 team evenly throughout the game.
COMMENTS: The score is not indicative of how close it really was. The press billed it as a blowout, but with just a couple of breaks going their way (and a better quarterback), Arkansas was capable of winning this game.
Georgia at Tennessee (11 point underdog) Georgia 34 – Tennessee 31
RATING: !!! – The best game of the weekend
OFFENSE: A surprisingly balanced attack by Tennessee late in the game. Where was this offense earlier in the year (or before the punt block)? After tying the game at 17, UT came alive, matching Georgia score for score.
DEFENSE: Allowed Murray three straight scoring drives before shutting down the Georgia offense for the middle two quarters. The crowd was on their side after the punt block for a TD, but UT started to fade towards the end of the game allowing Georgia one last scoring drive to tie the game and the end of regulation.
KEY STAT: 1 fumble away from victory, on a second down play without a clock in overtime. Good effort, bad judgement.
COMMENTS: This game may have bought Butch Jones some time at UT, as the crowd was believing the magic being pulled out of the hat by the team, but it will be forgotten soon after the next blowout. If this team backslides to anything like the Oregon game, I think the Vols will be looking long and hard at getting another coach.
Georgia at Tennessee (11 point favorite) Georgia 34 – Tennessee 31
RATING: !!! – The Greatest Show on Turf this year.
OFFENSE: Speaking of magicians, Murray is the clutch performer on the SEC stage. Time and again he was deadly accurate when he needed to be, no more so than that last 3rd and goal at the end of the game (after two incompletions). He pulled one more card out of his sleeve than his opponents had, once again.
DEFENSE: Maybe its the injuries that have decimated this defense, but the crew that took the field in the late third and fourth quarters in this game bore no resemblence to the Georgia defense of the early season. They allowed a formerly lifeless Volunteer offense big yardage and sustained drives that haven’t seen the light of day outside of that team’s FCS and Sun Belt cupcake games.
KEY STAT: Half of Tennessee’s yardage in the game came on their last three drives for scores in the third and fourth quarters (75+ each).
COMMENTS: Georgia is nothing if not entertaining. This is fourth Bulldog game earning the “Best game of the week” rating in just six weeks of the season. While exciting, however, that narrow a playing margin won’t bode well with two ranked teams sandwiching Vandy in the next three weeks. They need some injured players back on defense or their backups need to improve immediately.
Georgia State at Alabama (56 point favorite) Alabama 45 – GSU 3
RATING: ??? – Really nothing more than a glorified practice.
OFFENSE: AJ McCarron was efficient and on time, and the numbers suggest that Alabama was able to run at will. However, a closer look shows only TJ Yeldon scored only a single rushing touchdown and the run total was padded a bit with long runs between the 20s. When in the red zone, the ball was given to McCarron to throw or the Tide kicked field goals.
DEFENSE: Georgia State was only able to move the ball effectively up to the 50. Beyond that, they had little success. Of course, they couldn’t move the ball on anyone else this season either, so that isn’t much of a measure of Alabama’s defense.
KEY STAT: Alabama had four touchdowns before Georgia State had three first downs.
COMMENTS: Not much to see, actually. Alabama beat a team by seven touchdowns that lost previously to Chattanooga by five touchdowns. Still, a win is a win, no matter how small for the Horton fans,… or their collective IQ.
It remains to be seen if this victory means anything or not. Stay alert, sports fans.
Trivia Note: Jim Brown wasn’t the only ex-professional football player on the set. On the left above is Robert Phillips who played professional football for the Chicago Bears and the Washington Redskins. He was also a Marine self defense and swimming instructor during WWII was a body guard to Adlai Stevenson during his Presidential bid and wrote a self help book by the name of ‘Sixty-One Ways to End and Argument”.
One can only imagine how those arguments ended.