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Chad Morris looks to break a troubling trend in Athens this Saturday

<p>Dec. 15, 2019; Auburn, Ala. USA. Gus Malzahn (left) and Chad Morris (right) during Auburn's bowl practice.</p>
<p><em>Auburn Football/Twitter</em></p>

Dec. 15, 2019; Auburn, Ala. USA. Gus Malzahn (left) and Chad Morris (right) during Auburn's bowl practice.

Auburn Football/Twitter

The year is 2007, Auburn is ranked 18th after a solid start to the season, the Tigers are traveling to Athens to take on the 10th ranked Bulldogs helmed by Matthew Stafford. The Bulldogs have been rolling so far in the season under Mark Richt, but Auburn may be a dark horse to pull off the upset. 

November 10, 2007. Matthew Stafford takes a snap against the Auburn Tigers in blacked-out Sanford Stadium.

The Bulldogs steamrolled the Tigers 45-20 behind the combined efforts of Knowshon Moreno and Matt Stafford, and 4 interceptions from Brandon Cox did not help Auburn’s case. 

Since a 12 yard pass from Brandon Cox to Mario Fannion in the third quarter of the 2007 Auburn-Georgia game the Tigers have not scored a single offensive touchdown after the first quarter in Sanford Stadium. Not. One. 

Since that fateful fall day in 2007, Auburn has lost its last five matchups in Athens, Georgia.  The trend of the Tigers in Athens can be best described as pitiful, with the closest contest being a 13-7 “slugfest” in 2018 and the farthest being a 45-7 blowout of the Clint Moseley led Tigers. 

Whitlow puts his shoulder into a tackler in Athens, GA. November 11, 2018.

In Athens since 2007, the Bulldogs have scored a combined 195 points to Auburn’s 75, the most by the Tigers being the 24 scored in 2009. That 2009 game contained the only touchdown after the first quarter at all since 2007, with the Tigers reaching the end zone on a kickoff return. 

There is no logical correlation behind Auburn’s offensive woes in Athens, and trying to find that pattern will drive a fan mad. The most likely reason comes from outside factors, not a curse or any funny business from the Bulldogs. Auburn was playing in the decently hostile environment of Sanford Stadium, coupled with some good coaching from Mark Richt and Kirby Smart. These factors among others may have been main catalysts to Auburn’s Athens losing streak.

Since the 2007 loss that kicked this statistic into motion Auburn has had 7 different Offensive Coordinators before Chad Morris. Only two of those OC’s lasted more than 2 seasons with the Tigers, those being Rhett Lashlee from 2013-2016 and current head coach Gus Malzahn from 2009-2011. Both of those OC’s notably were the heads of the National Championship Auburn offenses, but still were unable to get it done after the first quarter in Athens. 

After a strong showing in week one, Chad Morris’ offense looks to have started a revitalization of Auburn’s offensive prowess, (granted it is a small sample size and was against Kentucky but still good overall). Chad Morris and the Auburn Tigers look to shake off their offensive woes in Athens this week and come out with a win. 

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