Arkansas Review: Not Just A Loss…A Bad Loss.
The Arkansas game might be the worst loss I’ve seen in the Chizik era, and there have been quite a few. We came out flat offensively – scratch that, we came out downright asleep. Considering the competition, and considering the amount of time we’ve had to prepare for this defence (worst in the SEC, 113th in the country) it was the worst offence I’ve seen Auburn play under Chizik.
The game was quite a defensive stalemate for the most part. Arkansas jumped out to a 10-0 lead and kept it until the third quarter. By half-time, Chizik decided to take out Frazier and sub in Mosely (which didn’t make much if any sense considering the offensive line wasn’t blocking well). To Mosely’s credit, he did score the only touchdown of the game after he threw a touchdown to Blake. At that point, hope crept back in and the feeling of “maybe we can squeak this one out” was present. Auburn couldn’t capitalise, and after numerous turnovers, Auburn gave up 14 unanswered points and lost 24-7.
It’s very unnatural for me to sum up the whole game in one paragraph, as I just did, but there really isn’t much else to say. Auburn came out flat against a poor opponent in a must-win game, and only garnered 7 lousy points. I thought the defence played well, and there is clear improvement week-to-week. The offence isn’t helping, hence these late game defensive collapses (see Clemson, LA Monroe, Miss. State as well). It was a discombobulated Arkansas offence, but was still capable of doing some damage. So that’s a plus. We held them to just 328 yards, which was a step forward. The passing game is inept, the blocking is questionable and we have zero identity on offence. It’s a big problem.
The one bright spot on offence was probably Emory Blake, who finished with 10 receptions for 118 yards and a score. Not too shabby, considering the offensive output.
It’s a rebuilding year, I know. I expected to experience some bumps and bruises along the way but now we’re coming to a point where we may not even win ONE SEC game. The feeling of going 0-8 in the SEC is down-right unthinkable, but right now it’s a distinct possibility, whether you like it or not.
So where do we go from here? Well, that’s probably a question of opinion. There is still a slim chance that things are turned around, but as of right now, I just don’t see that happening. Auburn has to travel to Ole Miss and Vanderbilt in the next two weeks, before returning home to face Texas A&M. I wrote not too long ago how important October was towards Auburn’s end of season record, and it’s started off down-right miserably.
Gene Chizik’s seat is now officially warm – and though I don’t think he’ll be fired all-considering – I am starting to ponder whether he is the man for the job. This was supposed to be a rebuilding year, where we’d see the team constantly improve week by week and become competitive by the end of the year. I now expect us to finish the season with no more than 4 wins, if that.
There’s a difference between rebuilding and improving, to rebuilding and regressing — right now, it’s the latter.