Auburn Football 2010: Improvement Needed and Thoughts on Mississippi State Win

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Auburn Football 2010: Improvement Needed and Thoughts on Mississippi State Win
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In a game that was quite bizarre, the Auburn Tigers were forced into a unique game plan.

In an incredible show of fan support, the stadium was sold out and nine of 10 people were armed with their cowbells. The noise level was actually so high, it was a threat for hearing damage.

Mississippi State came to play and they did just that; while Auburn won every statistical category, there was little doubt that the Auburn freshmen have now been acclimated to playing in a hostile SEC environment.

Wow, what a great game.

I do not know if the new SEC cowbell rule charges for each violation or for an entire game, but if it was for each violation, the SEC coffers made a mint tonight.

Mississippi State should be proud of their team and fans. That was college football.

 

-- READ: Power Ranking the SEC's Stable of RB's --

 

Areas of Concern

Auburn should have scored at least two and likely three more touchdowns in this game. The offense killed itself with execution on several occasions.

Cameron Newton threw an interception in the end zone.

Special teams fumbled in the opponent's red zone for the second week in a row.

Injuries of Concern

Lee Ziemba left the game with a knee injury and did not return.

Mario Fannin reinjured his bad left shoulder to some extent.

Improvement Needed

Blocking in the power running game needs some workit was good at times, but inconsistent.

Ball security on special teams has to improve; the second lost fumble and two touchdowns this unit has given up in the first two games are too much.

Special teams kick security has to improve, as Auburn can not afford blocked field goals.

Improvement Noted

While some might think otherwise, in my opinion this was the best performance by Cameron Newton so far. As the game moved along, he settled into his position and matured. He made mistakes and recovered from them. He was never rattled and kept the team focused on victory.

The Auburn defensive line was absolutely excellent. Mississippi State averaged 3.5 yards per rush in this game. They were only able to accumulate 246 total yards and 117 rushing yards. Much of this was due to dominant defensive line play.

Auburn won the time of possession battle. This is the first time in a long time that Auburn accumulated more than half of the playing time for the game.

The Auburn defense proved that the offense can lean on them when it sputters. This team has potential on offense and defense.

Thoughts

The Auburn team did what was necessary to reach out and take a win when they did not play well on offense. Despite multiple mistakes and miscues, the team rose to the occasion and recovered. They did this in as hostile of an environment as they will play in this year.

The cowbell rule will add $50,000.00 to the SEC coffers in every big home game for Mississippi State. The SEC might have to once again ban these to avoid hearing loss by both fans and participants. It will be a subject for future debate.

This game fooled me and most prognosticators; I was expecting the Auburn offense to score in the forty range and the Mississippi State offense to perform about as it did.

First game on the road jitters and an incredibly hostile environment caused the Auburn offense to be less than effective at times.

The Auburn defense is progressing toward becoming a strong point on the team. The play of the defensive tackles in the rotation was well above last year’s levels.

There could not have been a better game to season the Auburn offense and Cameron Newton. That kind of hostile environment can not be duplicated in practice. Cameron Newton hit about 58 percent of his passes for about 12 yards per completion.

Michael Dyer averaged 5.33 yards per carry in his first SEC game. There is little doubt that he has a ton of potential.

Mississippi State has a very good chance of pulling off an upset when they play Georgia at home in two weeks. Their defensive line is very strong and their offense is executing better than at any time in the past.

Auburn has two very different challenges coming up in Clemson and South Carolina. The play of the Auburn defensive line makes these games very intriguing.

Auburn was able to run only 67 plays and control time of possession to win this game. They were able to do this even though the offense was far from crisp on execution—this was a missing element in 2009.

It is obvious the 2010 Auburn offense has yet to gel and establish their identity. They will now have a week and one half to iron out the kinks before Clemson comes to the plains.

There is certainly the potential for this to be a great team: They have not put it all together in this young season, but this could be a very special team.

SEC officiating still has a huge amount of room to improve.

There were still some missed and obviously erroneous calls in this game. These calls did affect the game and officiating still must improve in the SEC if the specter of 2009 is not to be revisited.

Mississippi State has the potential to be a strong candidate for a bowl appearance in 2010; if the team holds together and keeps performing, it could be a great year for them.    

Stats for 2010 Through Week 2

Statistic

Auburn 

Scoring Offense

34.5 points per game

Total Offense

478 yards per game

Passing Offense

199.5 yards per game

Rushing Offense

278.5 yards per game

Total Defense

306 yards allowed per game

Rushing Defense

80 yards per game

Passing Defense

226 yards per game

Scoring Defense

20 points per game

Kick Returns

24.37 yards per return

Turnovers

2 per game

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