Earlier this week, we talked about how Auburn can avoid a losing season by simply playing higher-quality football. Winning the small battles on the field that will eventually lead to winning the "war."
On Saturday, Auburn may have added another loss to their record, but they played winning football. That is the important thing after their appearances the first three games.
No one wants to accept a moral victory, but Gene Chizik and this Auburn team had one Saturday night. They were not intimidated like it appeared they were against Mississippi State. They didn't make mistake after mistake and give LSU free points like they did against Louisiana-Monroe.
Last year, LSU beat Auburn by a score of 45-10. That is the largest margin of victory in the entire Auburn-LSU series. Everyone expected the same type of outcome again on Saturday night. Everyone except for Auburn.
Sure, LSU had costly mistakes, but that shouldn't take anything away from the game that Auburn played Saturday night.
The defense held LSU's rushing attack to under 200 yards—182 yards to be exact. LSU was averaging over 200 yards rushing a game before Saturday night. The defensive line gave LSU's stout offensive line all they could handle.
The offense had limited success, but Auburn's young quarterback did not seem like a liability as he was in previous weeks. Kiehl Frazier showed flashes of what he can do. They finally found some success in the vertical passing game.
All week long, the media made it seem like Auburn should not even show up to Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday. LSU was going to run over, around and through this Auburn team that had to have overtime to beat ULM.
The Gene Chizik doubters have been out in full force the past couple of weeks, but he had his team ready to play against the second-ranked team in the country Saturday night. There is no doubt about that.
Auburn finished the toughest month on the schedule with a loss on the scoreboard, but a win in their quality of play. For a team that is trying to bridge a gap between the championship team of 2010 to the team in 2013, quality of play is what matters.
Losing is not fun for fans or players. However, it is losses like these that make winning worth it. The wins for the record book will come, eventually. Playing "winning" football doesn't always equate to a win on the scoreboard.
That is the case Saturday night; Auburn showed us how to win in a loss.