Auburn head coach Gene Chizik
It wasn't the prettiest game in the world, but Auburn survived the Louisiana-Monroe trap with a 31-28 overtime win over the Warhawks.
"Not pretty" is putting it kindly.
It was ugly.
Two of the Tigers' four touchdowns came on a trick play in the second quarter and a Hail Mary at the end of the half, respectively.
Auburn shouldn't need those kinds of plays to beat ULM—not even during down years.
Auburn head coach Gene Chizik isn't in immediate danger, and will likely stay employed barring a total disaster. But a total disaster still seems like a reasonable possibility.
He was the subject of a copious amount of criticism after his team's listless 28-10 loss on the road at Mississippi State last week. While the Tigers looked better on Saturday, the win did nothing to cool Chizik's steadily warming seat.
Quarterback Kiehl Frazier looked good in the first half, completing 9-of-12 passes for 114 yards and a touchdown, and Brian VanGorder's defense looked much more aggressive and adept at tackling at times.
But those were only at times.
The Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks looked like a more complete team on Saturday afternoon on the Plains. They looked better coached, better conditioned and more confident.
Did Auburn head coach Gene Chizik cool his hot seat vs. ULM?
Auburn has reeled in a Top-15 class in each of the last three seasons, according to 247Sports.com. But recruiting classes only get you so far. They have to translate to success on the field.
Winning in overtime against the giant-killer ULM Warhawks is nice, but it isn't—and shouldn't be—good enough.
Chizik's merits as a head coach are going to be the subject of a heated debate, if for no other reason than the fact that he won a national title in 2010 when Cam Newton put up one of the best seasons in college football history.
The fact remains that he's 17-12 at Auburn without Newton taking the snaps, and the program still appears to be going backward.
That didn't change on Saturday, even though the Tigers escaped their own house with a win over a Sun Belt team.