Auburn Back in Stride
In the midst of adversity, one has to check his or herself in the mirror, as a football team you check the guy to your left and right. Its been a heck of a week in Auburn with fans calling for Malzhan’s job but what’s new. Perhaps a defining moment for this team will be the heartbreaking last-second kick to zero loss versus LSU last week 22-21. A win is a win, but this one over Arkansas 34-3 seemed to be lackluster, or they were emotionally drained whatever it was something was missing don’t get me wrong the crowd was excited, but it was reserved excitement.
The best way to get over a headache is with Tylenol the best way for a football coach to silence critics is by winning the next game.
“You get a win. I think that’s the number one thing that’s most important. We have a good football team; I think everybody can see. We’ve played two Top 10 teams, beat one and got beat on the last play of the game in the other” said coach Malzhan.
Ryan Davis had the same idea springing out the gate with a huge 48-yard punt return that sparked the first touchdown and some love from the Auburn faithful all decked out in blue for “it’s a Wear Blue game.”
On the next drive, Daniel Thomas scooped up a fumble and ran for 40 yards down to the 2-yard line. All they had to do was punch it in and take command, but the Razorbacks denied the touchdown with an awesome defensive stand to force a field goal. First and touchdown from the 2-yard line if you want it? Those are make or break plays.
Schwartz took a little screen pass 42 yards down the sideline. That drive stalled at the 9-yard line Auburn went for it on fourth down again Arkansas stamped it denied.
Jordan Peters blocked the punt, and Will Hasting ran it down to the 9-yard line before a delay of game that brought out some boo birds. The defense put up a fight, but Jarrett Stidham willed himself into the end zone to give Auburn a 17-0 lead at the half.
It took Arkansas thirty-six minutes to get on the scoreboard with a field goal. Any thoughts of stealing momentum were quickly erased when N. Igbinoghene returned the kick 96 yards for a touchdown suddenly the score was 24-3 with 9:05 left in the third quarter. Auburn was clearly a superior team, but they couldn’t take advantage of all of their opportunities. They would do something great then shoot themselves in the foot or not make them pay dearly.
The offense struggled, or the Arkansas defense played well either terminology equals the same result a total of 225 yards. Jarrett Stidham usually throws for that much, but tonight he could only muster 134 yards to compliment the 91 rushing yards. J. Whitlow was the leading rusher with 13 carries for 54 yards. The rest of the team contributed 37 yards.
Head Coach Gus Malzhan was honest in his assessment:
“Offensively, we didn’t play our best, but we didn’t turn the ball over. That was really what we talked about. We don’t turn the ball over, and we get after the quarterback. We felt like we liked our chances. Overall, it’s a good win. It’s good to get back in the win column.”
Jarrett Stidham the man in charge of the offense echoed
“It is what it is. We’ve got to play a lot better, but we found a way to win, and that’s all I care about. As long as we’re winning, obviously we’re going to have a lot of things to correct and fix, but as long as we win, that’s all that matters.”
Javaris Davis, DB
On tonight’s win…
“Overall, we had a great team effort. Everyone played for each other and got the sour taste out of our mouth that we had last week. It was a tough loss for us (vs. LSU), as a whole. That’s all we were trying to do, rebound and get back on track.”
Auburn plays at home again next week Southern Miss comes to Jordan Hare Stadium