Auburn Football: Why Saturday's Win Is Only a Temporary Band-Aid for the Season

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Auburn Football: Why Saturday's Win Is Only a Temporary Band-Aid for the Season
Onterio McCalebb break free for a 38-yard TD run. Photo credit: Todd Van Emst / Auburn Athletics

There is an old adage in sports that you only celebrate a win or mourn a loss for 24 hours after it occurs.

For Auburn, the team must put Saturday's 42-7 victory over New Mexico State behind and look forward to this weekend's game against UGA

When Auburn returns to the practice field this week, it can be motivated by how sweet the victory against New Mexico State tasted after win No. 2 proved to be extremely elusive.

The players on this team put in countless hours throughout the year in order to feel the way they did on Saturday afternoon. It makes Sundays much better as well.

"They've worked every week, and today, they deserved it, and they deserved to win," head coach Gene Chizik said. "I'm happy for them. I think this is something you can build on.” (via Charles Goldberg, AL.com)

As good as it was for Auburn fans to wake up winners and to see Toomer’s historic oak trees christened with toilet paper, Saturday’s win is only a temporary band-aid over a season that has proven to be a wound that can’t heal without a major operation.

Not much can be taken away from defeating a team in New Mexico State that is winless in the western athletic conference and had lost seven straight games before Saturday.

Some good things did happen that Auburn can build off of, as Chizik said.

Freshman Jonathan Wallace got his first experience as an Auburn starter and was able to play well after starting out slow.

Wallace went 9-of-16 with a touchdown pass and an interception.

Auburn finally committed to the running game. It ran the ball 45 times out of 61 plays. Even with New Mexico State loading up to try and stop the run, Auburn refused to get away from running the ball.

However, some of the same characteristics that has plagued this team for the entire season were still evident in the game.

There was the slow start on offensive and defense. Auburn was only up 7-0 at halftime. The Auburn offense had only 29 yards in the first quarter. New Mexico State had 126 yards.

There were missed opportunities throughout the game. Jonathan Wallace missed a wide-open Sammie Coates down the field late in the second quarter.

The defense missed multiple chances to stop the Aggies behind the line of scrimmage.

The Auburn secondary let a couple of poorly thrown balls slip right through its hands. The unit still only has one interception on the year.

In the coming weeks, Auburn will strap its helmets up and play against its two biggest rivals. Those two teams just happen to be the likely SEC East winner and the likely SEC West winner. 

Auburn will have to play much better than it did on Saturday if it wants to wake up a winner on the Sunday following those matchups.

With Saturday’s win, Auburn moved to 2-7 and is still likely to finish with without a win over a BCS opponent.

Saturday’s win feels good for Auburn fans and players that haven’t felt a win since Sept. 15th, but it serves only as a temporary  band-aid for the program and season.

More bleeding is imminent. 

 

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