Auburn Football Brought Its 'A' Game Against South Carolina

Nathan Deal@@NateDawgAUCorrespondent IDecember 4, 2010

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 04:  Quarterback Cam Newton #2 of the Auburn Tigers leads the team out to face the South Carolina Gamecocks during the 2010 SEC Championship at Georgia Dome on December 4, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The South Carolina Gamecocks finally made the SEC title game. After years of frustration, the Gamecocks finally made it to the big stage.

Congrats. Now go home.

No. 1 Auburn played one of the best games in school history, manhandling South Carolina, 56-17.

The Tigers are the SEC champions of 2010, which won't sit well in Tuscaloosa or Columbia but will be celebrated in Auburn and Fayetteville.

I had the pleasure of attending this event, and it was the best game I have ever watched as a fan. EVER. Especially in person.

Here are my grades for different phases of the game, including offense, defense, coaching, overall and some other tidbits.


Offense: A+

How about 589 yards? And 56 points, breaking the SEC record for points in the SEC title game. A Hail Mary right before halftime that gave Auburn the momentum the rest of the way. An amazing 28 first downs, and Cam Newton scoring six TDs. Mario Fannin, the much-maligned senior tailback, scored a touchdown to end his last SEC game in his long career. What's not to like?


Defense: A

South Carolina receiver Alshon Jeffrey, surprisingly, did not have much of an impact, and although Gamecocks running back Marcus Lattimore had some good runs and there were a few big plays, the defense looked great. Once again, the AU defense held its opponent out of the end zone in the second half. They returned an interception for a touchdown. They gave up 349 yards, and that's not indicative of how well they played. Oregon awaits, so the defense will need to bring its 'A' game to Glendale. But that's for another day.


Special Teams: B-

Wes Byrum missed a field goal, which is about the only thing worth mentioning on special teams. Average night on an extraordinary night.


Coaching: A++

That 5-19 record in two seasons with Iowa State? Try a 26-24 record at Auburn with an SEC championship. Gene Chizik silenced doubters with this drubbing of USC. Auburn looked prepared and destroyed USC from the start. The team was ready to go.


Officiating: B

The officials were not all that bad. Bad calls here and there, but for being SEC refs, they were pretty good.


Georgia Dome Neutrality: F

I have to give SOMETHING an awful grade. I was there. It's supposed to be 50/50. I would say only a quarter of the stadium supported South Carolina. Auburn owned the place.


Overall: A+++

In one of the biggest games in Auburn history, the Tigers destroyed their opponent, 56-17. You could argue this was the best game Auburn has ever played.

The Tigers (13-0) are SEC champions and basically have tickets to the biggest game in school history. WAAAAAAAAAAAR EAGLE!