COLUMBIA, S.C. — Auburn’s special teams unit looked at the video board in disbelief.
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It’s not an age-old rivalry. It’s not an annual tradition. It’s South Carolina versus Auburn.
It was the largest collapse and blown lead in school history. After taking a commanding 28-3 lead and largely dominating in every aspect of the game, Auburn fell apart in the final 32 minutes of the game. Mississippi State, once trailing by 25, scored 40 unanswered points on its way to defeating Auburn 43-34 on Saturday. Auburn was outscored 40-6 in the final 32 minutes of play. “Everybody’s disappointed, being at home and losing, in the locker room, no one’s happy in the locker room,” said Auburn head coach Bryan Harsin. “We’re all disappointed.” The offensive struggles, which looked to be a thing of the past based on the first half of play, returned in the second half. Along with it came Auburn’s worst defensive performance of the season, in which it allowed 332 yards of total offense and five touchdowns in the final 30 minutes. Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers had more touchdown passes than incompletions in the second half on his way to leading the Bulldogs to their largest comeback in program history. After scoring 14 points in both the first and second quarters, Auburn’s offense went silent, Mississippi State scored its first touchdown with just under two minutes to go in the first half, but the Tigers had an 18-point lead at the midway point. Harsin said an 18-point lead is “not enough.” Mississippi State’s offense showed new life out of the locker rooms, scoring a touchdown on its first five drives in the second half. Three out of the five drives lasted less than three minutes. But as time progressed and Mississippi State continued to climb back into the game, the energy inside Jordan-Hare Stadium continued to fall. “You know, I’m not quite sure what happened there,” Nix said. “Just felt like the entire stadium — the life — just kind of mellowed out and the life of the stadium kind of relaxed there for a minute and it was hard to get some momentum back.” One of the key momentum shifts came midway through the fourth when Auburn lost its most experienced player on defense. With Auburn trailing by eight, on a second-and-16 play at the Auburn 22-yard line, senior EDGE rusher T.D. Moultry made a hit on Rogers to set up a third-and-long for the Bulldogs. The play went to review and to the disliking of Auburn fans, Moultry was called for targeting. It gave Mississippi State a fresh set of downs to work with, which it eventually capitalized on with Rogers’ sixth touchdown pass of the day. The score put the Bulldogs up 43-28 with 5:31 to go. “What I saw on the replay was him going up because the quarterback's in a passing position to try to block the pass,” Harsin said of the targeting call. “The quarterback freezes. He's coming down, and then he sacks the quarterback in that situation right there.” “So...targeting, you've got to define who's defenseless, the crown of the helmet -- there's all these other things that come into play. And I didn't see that on that play, but they called it from the booth because it wasn't called on the field.” Auburn’s defense not only lost one of its core defensive linemen for the rest of the game, but Moultry will not play in the first half of the South Carolina game because the penalty occurred in the second half. It was a defensive breakdown, unlike anything that Auburn has seen this season. Meanwhile, the second-half offensive woes are nothing new. Since the Ole Miss game, Auburn has scored a total of nine points in the second half of its last three games. That’s nine points in 90 minutes of football. “We've got to continue to keep attacking in the second half as aggressively -- just playing and executing -- as we do in the first half,” Harsin said. “It doesn't seem like we do that in the second half.” Although Mississippi State is known for its air-raid offense, it had more rushing attempts in the second half than Auburn did. The Bulldogs ran the ball 14 times in the second half, averaging 4.4 yards per carry. Meanwhile Auburn had a scarce eight rushing attempts, averaging a negative 1.8 yards per carry. “I think there were things that we did; there were some assignment errors in there,” Harsin said of the run game. “Things that [the Bulldogs] were doing. So it just wasn't consistent enough at the end of the day, and that's really what it comes down to. “ The Tigers never had a first-down rushing attempt in the second half. As Auburn’s offense continued to send the punting unit out on the field, Mississippi State continued to find the end zone. Harsin made the call for a fake punt to attempt to regain momentum, but it was also stopped. Rogers continued to rip the defense apart and broke the Mississippi State single-game passing touchdown record with six scores. By the time the clock hit zero, fans had filed out of the stadium and Auburn was on the wrong side of one of the most historic comebacks in college football history. “Just being from Mississippi, personal for me — that one hurt,” said EDGE rusher Derick Hall. “Shed a few tears walking in obviously.” It was the most points that Mississippi State had scored against Auburn since 1952 when the Bulldogs beat Auburn 49-34. The Tigers will now turn their heads to South Carolina, going on the road for the second consecutive season against the Gamecocks. That game will kick off at 6 p.m. CST from Williams-Brice Stadium on Nov. 20. “Obviously we didn’t get the job done but obviously we still have games left, and we want to finish off on the right foot,” Hall said. “We’ll have to just keep moving forward and keep assessing this game in the right way.”
Mike Leach and company will march into Jordan-Hare Stadium with an offensive style that the Tigers have not seen this season: the air raid.
The SEC east is figured out. Georgia has punched its ticket to the SEC Championship for the fourth time in five years. Florida and Kentucky, once thought to be challengers for the spot, had their chances personally squashed by the Bulldogs, without hardly a fight.
Auburn held Ole Miss to a season-low 20 points on Saturday night in its 31-20 upset win over the No. 10 team in the country.
Auburn will play its third Top 10 team on Saturday, in the eighth game of the season. It’s nothing new to the Tigers, who have faced at least three Top 10 teams every season dating back to 2016.
Georgia ran the score up in its 37-0 victory over No. 8 Arkansas last week. Literally. The Bulldogs’ running back room tallied 273 total yards rushing in the shutout win over the Razorbacks. They’ll be looking to continue that success this coming Saturday on the road against No. 18 Auburn. In that game against Arkansas, four rushers were in double digits in carries. Junior back Zamir White led the Bulldogs with a season-high 16 carries for 68 yards and two touchdowns. Auburn fans may remember White from last season. He was Georgia’s leading rusher in its dismantling of Auburn last season, 27-6. White rushed for 88 yards over 19 carries for two touchdowns in the win. However, the biggest factor offensively from the last time these two rivals met was Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett. His teammates call him “The Mailman,” and he delivered a loss via the air to the Tigers last season. Bennett completed 17 of his 28 pass attempts, for 240 yards, a career-high at the moment. He also tossed a couple of touchdowns. There is a bit of a quarterback dilemma for Georgia, though. Georgia’s opening night starter against then-ranked No. 3 Clemson was USC transfer, JT Daniels. Daniels only had eight incompletions through 30 attempts, one of which was an interception. He missed the following game against UAB with an injury, something Daniels has dealt with throughout his career. The oblique injury to Daniels opened the door for Bennett, who took advantage of the playing time and turned in a career game. Bennett went 10-for-12 against UAB, for 288 yards passing and a career-best five touchdowns. Daniels returned to the field the following game against South Carolina, where he threw for over 300 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. He started the game against Vanderbilt, but only played one quarter as Georgia went up 35-0 in the first quarter. The back-and-forth saga continued in Game 5 for Georgia, with Bennett getting the start. Daniels had suffered a minor lat injury, which prompted Bennett’s start against No. 8 Arkansas. It’s unclear who will make the start on Saturday, with Daniels still questionable.
Bo Nix was a magician on Saturday night.
Heading into Sunday’s contest against Texas A&M, Auburn soccer knows both sides of an SEC match early into its conference schedule.
There’s a lot to look forward to on Saturday for Auburn fans. The return of tailgating, a full Jordan-Hare Stadium and a new era of Auburn football.
As the final buzzer sounded in Greenville, South Carolina, earlier this month, Auburn women’s basketball made history. Yet there was no one jumping with excitement, no dog piles at midcourt and no nets to be cut down. It marked the end of the worst season in Auburn history.
Bruce Pearl walked off the court of Auburn Arena for the final time in the 2020-2021 season surrounded by his players, who were wearing t-shirts that read “600 Wins.” The seventh-year head coach reached 600 career wins on Saturday, as his Tigers defeated Mississippi State 78-71.
Auburn is under construction. It can be seen all across the loveliest village on the Plains, from apartments being built downtown to a central dining hall on campus, or the brand-new football facility that’s just begun to break ground.
Alabama’s 3-point shooting on Sunday afternoon proved to be too much for Auburn in the regular-season finale between the two in-state rivals. The Crimson Tide returned to Tuscaloosa in the win column after their 15 made 3s propelled them to a 92-78 victory.
STARKVILLE, Mississippi — Auburn’s offense struggled to find the end zone until late on Saturday, but its defense held its own in Starkville. A season-low in points allowed and two interceptions aided the Tigers on their way to a 24-10 road victory over Mississippi State.
Justin Powell had himself quite the Auburn Arena debut. The freshman finished with team-high 26 points in Auburn’s 90-81 win over South Alabama on Friday night.
It seems a bit odd that Auburn football is prepping for a home football game in the opening weekend of December, yet here we stand. The Tigers host the No. 5 Texas A&M Aggies on Saturday, for the final home game of this unprecedented season. Let’s take a look at the series history between the two.
Despite lacking head coach Nick Saban, who was out due to COVID-19 protocols, the Crimson Tide had no problem locking up yet another win to continue their perfect season. Alabama quarterback Mac Jones continued showing the nation why he’s in the running for the Heisman Trophy with his dominant performance in the 42-13 Alabama victory in the 85th Iron Bowl.