What Was the Real Reason for Auburn’s Breakout Performance on Offense?
Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn and the Auburn sideline celebrate one of six touchdowns against Missouri , Sept. 23, 2017 at Faurot Field in Columbia (photo: Julie Bennett/al.com)
Auburn’s victory over Missouri Saturday was a welcome sight for Tiger fans. While the Mizzou Tigers are not a good team they do have some good players, particularly on the defensive front. Yet Auburn ran up close to 500 yards of offense evenly split between the run game and the passing game. Make no mistake, anytime you can go on the road and beat an SEC team like that in its home stadium, it’s a big win.
The decisive win puts the Tigers in a good position heading into a big match up this weekend with Mississippi State. At 3–1 with their single defeat being an eight-point loss to the defending national champions, the Tigers now have that all-important sports attribute on their side—momentum.
However, going into the Missouri game Auburn’s fans were naturally concerned after the team had some struggles in its last two contests.
What could be the reason for the sudden turnaround?
For three weeks Tiger fans debated why the offense couldn’t seem to play up to preseason expectations. There have been no shortage of suggestions coming from the fan base.
Some cited wide receivers not getting separation from defensive backs, others opined that quarterback Jarrett Stidham held the ball too long, still others pointed to issues with the offensive line. And finally, some thought it would take a few games to get the team acclimated to the new schemes of offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey.
But after watching the Tigers dismantle Mizzou Saturday my wife pointed out what may have been the real reason. She noticed right off the bat that head coach Gus Malzahn was dressed differently. Gone was the traditional sweater vest—replaced by an orange stripe polo shirt. At first I laughed, but then I thought her supposition carries as much weight as all the other suggestions from fans except for one thing … Auburn won this one 51–14.
So please Gus, ditch the sweater vest and take Auburn all the way to Atlanta!