Picking up where we left off …
— SEC Gridiron Live reporter Cassidy Hubbarth is “really impressed” with Auburn’s tailgating scene! So many RVs! All the students are hanging out! It’s great! Next week, stay tuned as Cassidy calls Vandy’s tailgaters “so energetic” and creators of “just a great atmosphere”!
— Hey, look at your studio host here on Fox Sports South: Fred Hickman, who has been around since … well, since I started watching television. He’s like a more obscure, less-likable version of Bob Ley.
— Chizik said the defense was “sloppy” on third downs. He didn’t specially follow that comment with “Weren’t we, DEMOND,” but he probably wanted to.
— Hey now, this is the Mississippi St. we’ve come to know and love: back-to-back false starts to turn 2nd-and-6 into 2nd-and-16. (And, look, ruin a promising-looking swing pass to this hulking Berry kid who’s given Auburn fits all night. Well done.) McFadden stops a curl route a few yards short of the sticks and it’s three-and-out. Not a bad way to start a half, fellas.
— So both Fannin and Washington are back to field the punt, but Washington’s under it, so Fannin tries to sprint over and make a block on the first gunner down. He doesn’t get there in time to make the block, but he is in perfect position to knock Washington over after he’d made that first guy miss. Your Auburn Tigers 2009 Punt Return Team, ladies and gentlemen!
— Auburn first drive of the second half nets one first down before Eric Smith decides now’s the right time to make his point about why he shouldn’t have been suspended from practice, running behind Pugh just as the ball is snapped and causing a fumble that sets up 3rd-and-10. There’s better ways to make your case, Eric, better ways. The blitz pickup fails on third down–a week after going 8-of-13 on third down, Auburn’s now 2-of-7–and Durst will come on to …
— … Wait a sec, this is a weird formation. It’s a fake! Go, McCalebb! First down! Sweeeeeet. If there was any doubt about this coaching staff’s willingness to step on their opponent’s proverbial throat, it’s long since gone.
— In announcing that Tommy Trott is out of the game with an injury, Rathman calls him “Auburn’s great blocking tight end,” which, like, this site may have to shut down a while due to irony overload. (In all fairness: Trott has indeed been terrific this game blocking on the edge.)(Oh, wait, this is getting posted after the last post in which I already made this point. Oh well.)
— Whatever the coach’s ideas, the players weren’t all that fired up for any throat-stepping, unfortunately; penalty, incompletion, drop by Tate, failed blitz pickup (2-for-2 this drive!), punt. C’mon Auburn. Put this game away.
— Three-and-out, State, thanks to some good work by Bynes on third down. Just so we don’t start feeling too good about ourselves, though, Washington manages to top the previous return’s antics by muffing the punt. There’s Bulldogs all around the loose ball, but they somehow manage to just bump it harmlessly back to Washington. Auburn is, as the saying goes, living right.
— 37 yards for Tate over four straight carries takes Auburn across midfield before he’s stuffed on second down … but hey, State flag for facemask! That’s fortunate. Too bad McCalebb’s going absolutely nowhere on this pitch out wide … but Auburn is, thanks to a second facemask. You couldn’t ask for a better illustration of the breaks in football evening out if Rockwell painted it for you.
— Auburn’s in the red zone, so Burns is in the Wildcat. And like the McCalebb breakway we all knew was coming at some point, sure enough, Burns now drops back to throw and that’s Lutzenkirchen, wide open, TOUCHDOWN! 35-17! Burns is jumping around in glee, and I can’t say I don’t feel a little bit like joining in just on his behalf–that’s three TDs for him already this game in three Auburn red zone trips. Tell me again, Mr. Franklin, why you didn’t think it was a good idea to have Kodi replace Todd inside the red zone last year?
— With less than four minutes to play in the third, State has to score on this possession or it’s all over but the shouting. Mullen decides to put the game in the hands of Tyson Lee, and two ugly incompletions and a sack later, you can see why most of the conference believes putting the game in the hands of Tyson Lee to be a, how shall we say it, sub-optimal strategy.
— Washington gains about 9 on the punt return. Victory at last! Sound the kazoos!
— Burns for 11, McCalebb for 2, Todd to Wisner (!) for 24, Tate around right end behind the two guards for 35 easy yards and a TOUCHDOWN! 42-17, and this is the part where Chuck Woolery tells State that they’ll leave with the home version of “SEC Football” and other lovely parting gifts. The drive: 4 plays, 72 yards, 1:22 off the clock, one win done and dusted.
— For seven quarters Auburn’s gone without having a real breakdown in the secondary, so I guess it’s not that big a surprise when it comes on State’s first drive of the quarter–Berry finds himself wide slap open along the right sideline in Auburn territory and he rumbles to the Tiger 3. Three plays later a play-action pass results in a one-yard State touchdown, and it’s 42-24. It only really matters to the gamblers in attendance, I guess, but there’s something satisfying about holding a team to fewer than 20 points, isn’t there?
— Auburn goes back to the grind for their next drive–Tate for 5, McCalebb for 4, Tate around the edge for 11 ,you know the drill by now–but the highlight comes when Todd lofts one up and Zachery goes up and gets the ball for a huge gain. Wait, are Auburn wide receivers allowed to make big singlehanded plays like that one? I don’t remember.
— The ball’s in scoring position and Burns is in the Wildcat, which means it’s TOUCHDOWN time! 49 points on the board now, 4-for-4 on TDs inside the red zone, 500-some-odd yards of offense, and somewhere some alternate twilight dimension is still missing its Auburn football team.
— State and Relf put together a decent little drive until Relf misfires and T’Sharvan Bell is waiting at free safety to make the pick. Bell seems like a popular dude–Bynes gives him a lift into the air as he hits the sideline, and a moment later we see Bell and The Toro going through some elaborate celebration ritual before Harry Adams gives him a huge hug as Bell grins the grin of a thousand teeth. Then again, maybe all this is just what happens when a likable second-stringer comes up with a turnover at the tail end of a young team’s second straight blowout over a decent team. It’s been a while since I’ve had a look at what it looks like.
— Mario Fannin takes over the garbage time carry duties from Tate, but that’s about the only note of genuine interest over the last five minutes.
–Your final: 49-24, Auburn. 2-0, and a much sweeter 2-0 than last year’s. War Eagle.