First Auburn home game is now a ‘must-win’Published 8:52am Wednesday, September 12, 2012
By Andy Graham | Sportz Blitz
On Nov. 1, 1997 the Mississippi State Bulldogs came to Jordan-Hare Stadium and proceeded to humiliate the Auburn Tigers by the final score of 20-0. Auburn had a grand total of 267 total yards and an incredible -3 yards rushing on 20 carries.
I was a student on the Plains at the time and have long considered it one of the most embarrassing losses in Auburn history.
In fact, I happened to be dating a lovely young coed at the time, so I turned the radio off at the half (the game was not televised) and spent the rest of the day with her.
She was far more interesting than the game.
15 years later, when I look back on that miserable performance, I actually remember the day quite fondly.
Unfortunately, that will not be the case for Sept. 8, 2012. I can say with some assurance that the passage of time will have little effect on the nauseating feeling I associate with Mississippi State 28, Auburn 10.
Where are old girlfriends when you need them?
First and foremost, let’s establish one crucial fact: this Mississippi State football team will not seriously challenge to win the West. It’s a decent football team, but is in no sense of the word great.
That being said, Auburn’s abysmal offensive performance gaining 216 total yards had as much or more to do with the Tigers than it did the Bulldogs.
Mississippi State has a very solid defense, but it certainly won’t be the best one Auburn sees this year. Obviously the most glaring position of concern is quarterback.
Kiehl Frazier simply looked lost.
I thought there was a considerable regression from game one to game two.
Every time he dropped back he seemed nervous and unwilling to release the ball on time.
Auburn will not win a single game if he continues to turn the ball over five times. I know the obvious reaction is to bench him, but the coaching staff is going to give him every opportunity to succeed if he can.
I have no doubt the team will rally around him and I suggest the fans do as well.
There may very well come a time when the coaches have to make a change and that time may come sooner than later, but until it does it is pointless to bash Kiehl Frazier.
He certainly wasn’t alone Saturday in the poor play department. The blocking from the receiver position was atrocious and the offensive line must play better in general, because Frazier obviously needs as much help as he can get.
The most disconcerting aspect of Saturday’s game to me was when I compared the talent level of the players on the field on both sides. I didn’t see a lot of difference and where there was any difference it seemed to be in the favor of the Bulldogs.
I find that alarming and I’m at a loss to explain it.
I’m not one to put an enormous amount of stock in recruiting services, but could every service in the country have been wrong the last three years? My intellect says no, but my eyes disagree.
This week’s game against Louisiana–Monroe is now an absolute must win and an upset of Arkansas last Saturday night proves the Warhawks are anything but a guaranteed victory.
If the Tigers drop to 0-3, the talk concerning Gene Chizik’s future will shift into high gear.
Graham is a columnist for Sportz Blitz.