The Scoreboard Paints a Pretty Picture, But The Stat Sheet and Eye Test Fall Short in Auburn’s Win O
Auburn covered the spread against massive underdog Arkansas, the defense held the Razorbacks to just three points, special teams made a big impact with Noah Igbinoghene running a kickoff back 96 yards, and Ryan Davis made several dynamic punt returns. Even still, Auburn’s 34-3 victory against Arkansas feels like yet another warning sign to a season of which so much was/is expected.
The same questions that Auburn entered the season with have remained. An Auburn offense, with dynamic wide receivers, and a returning quarterback feel disconnected. A rushing attack, that, under Gus Malzahn has been as tough as any in the country to stop is now easily stopped. And an offensive line, which has always been an enabler for the high powered Auburn offense, is now its greatest problem.
Typically, a 34-3 victory over an SEC opponent would be met with great excitement and optimism for the future. But with the Auburn offense compiling just 225 yards of offense against an Arkansas team with not much going for it, Auburn feels more like a pretender ready to crumble, rather than a giant waiting to rise.
All shouldn’t be doom and gloom, this Auburn team is talented, its defense is excellent, capable of doing many different things to win and stay in ball games. Special teams are good in every facet, covering, kicking, and returning.
But without a typically potent Auburn offense, this team simply won’t be able to go into Athens, Georgia and win, and it certainly will not be able to go into Tuscaloosa and come out victorious. A 9-3 record wouldn’t be the worst thing that ever happened.
But it is the absolute worst three for Auburn fans to watch their Tigers lose to.
With one of the biggest three rivals in LSU already in the loss column, and the two biggest rivals still remaining, can Auburn really go to sleep at night knowing they struck out on all three?
Some nationally might think so, especially in the case of Georgia and Alabama. They are elite teams, with elite talent, and elite coaching. But not to the Auburn faithful. Auburn has truly elite talent, they have a great defense, and a coach known for high powered offenses.
That is why it’s so hard to stomach what is happening with Auburn, a team that is an offense away from being playoff caliber and with a coach that is supposed to be an offensive guru is lacking in that category.
There is still time to save it. Georgia is a month and a half away, and Alabama is two months away. But if the Arkansas game was any indication, the Auburn offense is still far away as well.
Will Gus Malzahn figure out how to steady his offense and prove the doubters wrong, or will Auburn once again fall short of what could have been? I don’t know the answer for sure, but I have a bad feeling many sleepless nights are ahead.