Sunday, September 10, 2017
A Long Night in Clemson
The Auburn/Clemson football rivalry began on 10/28/1899. Auburn won the first game 34-0 and the two teams have now met 51 times on the field. Auburn has won 34 lost 15 and tied 2 games. Sadly, Clemson has now won the last 4 football games. At least, Dabo Swinney was gracious this time with his comments about Auburn.
I really had a great feeling about this game and then my positive attitude left me last night after a 14-6 loss. It was one of the most disappointing losses that I can remember and you just have to realize that we do not have any control over the Auburn Football program.
A football team who had 117 total yards and the victim of 11 sacks will not win many games in the SEC. As expected, Kamryn Pettway did get the start at running back, but it evident to me that he was not 100%. He did finish with 74 yards on 22 carries and I am still wondering why the other running backs did not play. I do feel that Kam Martin or Malik Willis would have been good to use for short pass situations. Running the ball off tackle or up the middle was not a good game plan against the Clemson defense.
The offensive line was challenged all night and Jarrett Stidham was running for his life most of the night. He is used to playing in the Big 12 where the defenses are not as athletic; therefore, perhaps he just needs a few more games of experience to deal with the blitz. I wondered where the Auburn receivers were all night. Perhaps they were not on the same page as Jarrett Stidham. One observer at the game commented that the Auburn receivers were struggling to get open. Despite the poor offensive performance, Auburn could have won this game. Of course, they failed to put the ball in the end zone twice early in the game and once again had to settle for field goals. Clemson did give Auburn several opportunities to score in the second half.
The Auburn defense played well enough for Auburn to defeat the former "Crystal Ball Champions", but the play calling and offense continued to fail. I saw no adjustments being made at all on offense and it was obvious to me that Gus Malzahn was still calling the plays.
Auburn must now regroup and try to win enough games this season for a decent bowl game. Expectations were high at the start of this season and now I fear that my alma mater will now struggle to have a winning season.
I am now wondering if Auburn will be able to get it together to win at least 8 or 9 games. I do feel that Gus Malzahn will need to win at least 9 or 10 games this season to keep his job and this does include a win over UGA or Bama. It will be an interesting to observe if the players can bounce back from this game.