Picking up where we left off …
— Auburn promo I haven’t seen before kicks off with Bo and someone writing out the Creed on brown papyrus with an old-timey fountain pen. Maybe that was supposed to be Dr. Petrie writing out the original copy? If he wrote something as incredible as the Creed on the very first draft, that’s even more impressive.
— David Pollack is your nominal halftime pundit. He spends most of the half reminiscing blissfully about the time Jill Arrington mispronounced his name as a Polish slur on national television. (Not really.)
(He still seemed kind of steamed about it.)
— Jenkins misfires on a first-down play-action pass and Daren Bates nearly comes up with a pick. We get our first close-up of Bates as he goes through the usual angry-defender-who-missed-a-pick-and-their-one-chance-at-a-touchdown gyrations, and damn, remind me to reimburse him for my ticket to the Gun Show.
— Fairley blows Jenkins up on third down to force the first Tech three-and-out of the game. So that’s pretty sweet. Despite a holding call on Isom, a couple of 9-yard McCalebb runs around left end–Ziemba’s flat wrecking fools out there–give Auburn a makeable third-down near midfield. Also fairly sweet. And then Todd gets some time and hits Adams for a solid gain and the first down. Yes: that’s sweet. Then Adams dances for just a moment, gets blindsided, and fumbles the ball away to Tech. Yay. That … that’s licorice beer is what that is. It is the opposite of sweet. Tech now 53 yards away from the lead.
— The Bulldogs move to Auburn 35–uh, yikes–when they decide it’s time to go back to the time-it-with-a-sundial double-play-action pass that worked so well in the first half. Of course, it worked out that well for Auburn, and it does again–Stevens is immediately on top of a flustered Jenkins, who heaves the ball downfield towards no one in particular. Bates is the closest player to the ball in either jersey and proves he has the hands to match his arms, leaping high to come down with a huge interception. Huge, I say. First down Auburn! First down at our own 2, but still.
— Even though it gains just five yards, I have to make a note of Auburn’s first-down play. Because if you, Auburn fan, had any lingering doubts as to whether this team could be physical out of a spread, watch this: three-wide, Douglas in motion, straight hand-off up the middle to Tate, and the offensive line moves the line of scrimmage against Tech’s (very good) defensive line an easy four yards downfield. Tate powers for a solid six yards of breathing room, and if you think that kind of play isn’t massive, on third down …
— Todd gets time and space to double-pump and fire down the right sideline, and even though I can’t see who he’s throwing to, when Huard offers an excited “Uh oh!” there’s this nanosecond of good feeling … and it’s Zachery! He’s wide open and he’s gone! See ya, suckers, it’s TOUCHDOWN AUBURN! 93 freaking yards, 20-10. That … was … truly … utterly … totally … awesome.
— OK, a little breathing room on the scoreboard for the first time all game, let’s see what the defense does with it. They get a three-and-out with it, that’s what. And if you thought someone else might handle the “excitedly high-five the entire defense as they come off the field after a big play” chores, nope, for all his press-conference seriousface the Chiznick has that covered himself, thanks very much.
— Gack–Auburn student Alicia Hamm talks about how kick-ass football at Jordan-Hare is for ESPN‘s “Campus Connections“ segment, but she pronounces it “Jordan” rather than “Jerdan.” Even Collins catches the misstep. Come on, Alicia. This is 2009. A new season. EVERYBODY IS DOING THEIR JOB. 11 guys flying to the ball and one journalism major pronouncing the stadium’s name correctly. Time to pick it up. NO EXCUSES.
— Auburn crosses midfield, but three straight incompletions (the last two in Benton‘s direction; he appeared to be running his route a couple of yards long, which would explain why Trooper’s jawing at him) force a punt. Fortunately, so does Auburn’s defense. Again. See what happens when we keep our hands off of other people‘s facemasks, kids?
— Collins and Huard try some Toomer’s lemonade, with Collins calling it “fantastic” and Huard reluctantly panning it as “tart.” Hey, Brock, you know what else is “tart”? Your Mom.
— Four straight McCalebb runs–they cannot keep him off the edge–puts Auburn in field goal range before a holding call and incompletion on a double-covered “halfback pass” from Burns brings on Byrum to attempt a 47-yarder. Collins says that after the 49-yarder t oclose the half, this is a “chip shot.” Dude: it’s two yards.
But maybe he’s right, I don’t know, because Byrum bangs it through with apparent ease. 23-10 Auburn.
— Bleah: Auburn loses contain on Jenkins on a third-down pass and he escapes for 33 damn yards. Tech’s success is wonderfully short-lived, though: Coleman sacks, Bynes snuffs out a check-down, Roof dials up a blitz (for Jonathan Evans!) that comes in unblocked and results in another short completion. Tech’s frosh kicker hits a 46-yarder, but the Bulldogs can’t trade field goals at this stage of the game.
— All night McCalebb has looked millimeters away from breaking a long one, and on one of those tricky counter-flips Burns and Adams have given him great blocks … he’s in the open field … and … he trips over Burns, who fell over after making his block. Damn. Damn Damn.
— McCalebb expertly picks up a blitzer–well done, freshman–to set up a 28-yard pass over the middle to Adams and put Auburn deep into Tech territory. 3rd-and-de facto goal from the 17, this time the line blows the blitz pickup to let a defender in untouched, and TODD 2: THE TODDENING says Folks, tonight, it just does not matter. Lofted ball to the back pylon, Adams keeps a foot in and it’s a TOUCHDOWN! 30-13, 12:45 left, and unless Auburn collapses this one is in the win column. Kazoos and party hats all around!
— Tech decides the way to get back into the game is with underneath passes and short runs, which, like, hey, it’s your funeral. Stevens (on another unblocked Roof blitz) and Dee Ford meet at the quarterback on 3rd-and-10 to force an incompletion (and hammer Jenkins), Tech punts, and that’s all she wrote for this one as a competitive contest. I’d say I’m making that declaration about eight minutes of clock time earlier than I was expecting to when this game kicked off, so I’d also say this has been one hell of a second-half performance by the Tigers. Outstanding coaching job, and you know by who? 5-19 Gene Freaking Chizik, that’s who. Take that, haters.
— Of course, the way this offense (still) moves and the Tech D clearly wants to tap out, there’s still oodles of time for a couple of Fannin swing passes, Tate blasts, and eventually a McCalebb TOUCHDOWN to make the gamblers happy and the final score as impressive as it ought to be given Auburn’s dominance in the box score. 37-13.
–Chris Humphries, punt return team fumble-recovery hero, actually makes a tackle from defensive end in scrub time. Huard is still too busy dithering about the Auburn “legacy” to mention his name. Hey, Chris: we see you. We also see Ford and Mike Blanc combining on a third-down sack, and that’ll be Tech’s final possession.
— Wow, they’re still airing Billy Mays commercials? Wow. Oh Billy. Billy, put down the AwesomeAuger and go get a check-up, Billy. Now, Billy.
— Tate piles on a few extra yards, and there’s the whistle. 37-13 is your final, and you really could not ask for any more from this team, unless you’re one of those fans who wants the spread not just covered but quadrupled who nobody likes, not even their parents. Bring on the Bulldogs!
The other Bulldogs, I mean. Not these guys again.
— 1-0. War Eagle!