Auburn Football: At the Heart of It All

Tiger HistalmosAnalyst ISeptember 21, 2009

AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 19:  Daren Bates #25 and Josh Bynes #17 of the Auburn Tigers celebrate Bynes interception in the final minutes of their 41-30 win over the West Virginia Mountaineers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on September 19, 2009 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Maybe you could feel it from the TV screen. Maybe you couldn't. If you were inside Jordan-Hare Stadium last Saturday night, you felt it.

That pure, raw emotion that you only feel during certain instances. The build-up, the twists and turns, all leading to the unbelievable conclusion.

Yep, this is the reason we love our football in the South.

Watching the rain pour down on the few fans in three-fourths of the stadium, along with the entire student section, was a sight to behold. It felt like the energy was trapped in a bottle, ready to burst at any moment.

After finally getting the players to take the field, that energy was seemingly diminished amongst the Tiger faithful.

West Virginia 14, Auburn 0. Excitement was replaced by shock amongst the orange and blue clad fans. The only good aspect of that situation, there was only five minutes gone in the first quarter.

That is where this story actually begins. One where like the events that took place before the game started, a storm arose from out of nowhere.

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By a storm, I don't mean Auburn's play. There was much to be desired as far as the game mechanics are concerned. This storm was of something else; A storm that can't be taught to players, coaches, or fans alike.

I didn't realize it, but I was on the edge of my seat the entire game. Even when Auburn has been in close games before, I have always tried watching the scores that flashed along the video banners of the stadium. I didn't even realize about Washington's upset over USC until halftime.

I can't speak for the others there in Jordan-Hare, but that game had me captivated. The energy there was something I haven't felt in a long time. The matchup between two un-ranked teams felt like a do or die game for both teams.

It had all the makings of top 10 football game, though many could argue the actual gameplay was nowhere close.

So the question becomes, what had these people so engrossed in this game? Most importantly, as some would ask, what made those people come back to the game after the rain?

I will be the first to tell you. It was passion and heart in every single player, coach, and fan that night. You could see it in the first two games Auburn had played, but it really didn't come home until last night.

The crowd was really never out of the game. The coaches knew the team was nowhere near defeat. The players knew they had several opportunities to win this game.

By the stats and analysis, this game had lots of good moments and bad moments. By the way the Tigers played, none of that mattered.

By making plays when needed and forcing several turnovers, Auburn has proved on several levels that they can make positives out of opportunities.

This game could not have been won by one group alone. Auburn could not beat West Virginia by just one element of the team. It took the entire team, the entire coaching staff, and the fans in the stands to win this game.

"I wish I had 87,000 game balls," said Head Coach Gene Chizik, "because our fans were a huge reason we won that game."

I would like to say don't forget about those young men and yourself, coach.

This is now the time where I say it is still early in the season, with much tougher challenges ahead. This feeling will take bumps and bruises along with those guys actually taking the physical beatings.

The Tigers gave not only the fans hope, but hope to themselves as well. Hope that no matter what the odds maybe, this team has the talent and the heart to fight back into any game.

Heart can carry a team to hope. Hope can lead to confidence.

Confidence will lead to more victories for this young Auburn team.

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