Whew! That would be the collective sigh of relief from Auburn fans after the Tigers escaped Manhattan, Kansas last Thursday night with a win. It was not easy. It was not pretty. But it was a W, and if a team is going to become champions it is going to have to win one or two when they are not on their best game.
In hindsight, which coach Pat Dye once said is 50/50, it was a BIG win. The Tigers went on the road and beat a ranked non-conference opponent for the FIRST time since 1984. That is huge brothers and sisters.
My wife, Melodye, and I made the long drive to the Little Apple and we can testify to this… Bill Snyder Family Stadium is one of the toughest places to play that I have ever seen. I don’t know how 50,000 plus can make so much noise in an open-ended arena but they do. I have been to every stadium in the SEC, except Missouri, and most of them multiple times. It doesn’t get tougher in ANY of those venues than it does at Kansas State. They come to play. They expect to win.
I watched the game again last night and came away more impressed with Auburn than I was in the aftermath of the game last week.
I’ve heard moaning and groaning about Nick Marshall. Folks, he was a gamer. I cannot think of many, if any, quarterback in the country that I would like to have leading my Tigers than number 14. He has ice in his veins. He is a winner.
And how about that D ??? This is the best defense Auburn has put on the field in at least six years. They are nasty. They fly around. They hit you square in the mouth. They play with attitude. They have given up less than two yards per carry since the second half of the Arkansas game. Jake Waters, the Wildcats QB, was their leading rusher going into the game and he rushed for MINUS seven yards.
The pass defense was very good as well. They continually harassed Waters, played some great coverage and limited the big play that has haunted Auburn for some time. The longest reception they allowed was 23 yards.
Now… on to the upcoming homecoming battle with LA Tech. Coach Holtz, Skip not Lou, brings his Bulldogs into sold out Jordan-Hare Stadium with a 2-2 record. The wins came over Louisiana-Lafayette, 48-20 and North Texas, 42-21. The losses were to Oklahoma, 48-16, and Northwestern State, 30-27. Who? The Northwestern State Demons are an FCS school located in Natchitoches, LA.
Auburn’s 1989 SEC Champions will be honored at the game Saturday. This team will bring back many fonds memories for the old grads and all other Tiger fans. They went 10-2 and finished number 6 in both polls. This record includes a 31-14 win over THE Ohio State Buckeyes in the Hall of Fame Bowl which was played in Tampa, Florida.
Here are the scores from that championship season:
Auburn 55, Pacific 0
Auburn 24, Southern Miss 3
Auburn 14, Tennessee 21
Auburn 24, Kentucky 12
Auburn 10, LSU 6
Auburn 14, Florida State 22
Auburn 14, Miss State 0
Auburn 10, Florida 7
Auburn 38, LA Tech 23
Auburn 20, Georgia 3
AND… The most memorable game ever played at Jordan-Hare Stadium…
AUBURN 30, THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE 20!!!!!
As most of you know, this was the first time Alabama had ever played in Auburn and it was the most electric atmosphere I have ever experienced.There has simply never been anything like it before or since. I get a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye whenever I recall that day.
What a day!!! What a weekend to be more accurate!!!
And the Tiger Walk? Wow! Thousands upon thousands of fans crammed Donahue and Roosevelt streets. Auburn fans bellowed as loudly as they ever have. Bama fans stood with mouths agape. Coach Pat Dye led his team through the masses. He also likened it to the falling of the Berlin Wall. Grown women screamed. Grown men cried. It is a moment that will never be replicated.
If I had been a gambling man I would have taken Vegas to the cleaners that memorable day. Alabama was ranked number two in the country and was favored by 3 or 4 points. I knew in my heart of hearts that there was no possible way the Crimson Tide, under head coach Bill Curry, would win that game. The Green Bay Packers would not have been able to defeat Auburn that day. The Tigers would not, could not lose, no way, no how.
If you are headed for The Plains Saturday, do not miss the tribute to the 1989 Auburn University Football Tigers. That will be a treat!
And so… there is the matter of Auburn vs. La Tech.
The kickoff for homecoming will be at 3 PM CDT. It will be televised on the fledging SEC Network. Auburn has been established as a 33 point favorite.
Without belaboring the point, Auburn is a much better team on offense, defense and special teams. I don’t even see how Coach Skip Holtz’s father, were he the coach at Auburn, could poor mouth over this game, but you can bet he would try. Auburn will win the game and they will win it handily.
Auburn 55, LA Tech 10.