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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Final: Kentucky 21, Auburn 14

Ugly game for Auburn tonight. Here's how tomorrow's story starts:
AUBURN, Ala. — Kentucky kept its starting quarterback a secret all week, not wanting to give Auburn any idea of who might get most of the snaps Saturday night.

As it turns out, the Wildcats' best option wasn't even a full-time quarterback.

Wide receiver Randall Cobb played a prominent role out of the Wildcat formation and burned Auburn with a 61-yard run late in the fourth quarter, setting up his own touchdown run a few plays later in Kentucky's 21-14 upset on a chilly night at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

"We had our chances to win the game," Tigers coach Gene Chizik said. "We had our chances to close the door on several occasions, but we didn’t do it."

Cobb ran for 109 yards. Running back Derrick Locke added 126. Kentucky (3-3, 1-3 SEC) finished with 282 on the night, the most Auburn had allowed since giving up 426 to Arkansas in 2002.

It was Kentucky's first win in the series since 1966, snapping a 15-game losing streak. The Wildcats had not won in Auburn since 1961.

The Tigers dropped to 5-2 this year, 2-2 in the SEC.
Here are some others notes and quotes ...
  • Auburn had plenty of shortcomings, but I'll start on offense. The Tigers had a season-low 315 yards. Because Neiko Thorpe scored on a blocked field goal, the offense essentially only scored 7 points. That's the fewest by a Gus Malzahn-coached offense in his three-plus years at the college level. "They just played base defense and made us earn everything and we didn’t do a good job of earning anything tonight," Malzahn said. "We’re a work in progress. This is our first year here. We’re going through some growing pains. We’ve got to suck it up and eliminate those penalties and eliminate those mistakes. We made numerous mistakes against a good defense tonight."
  • Quarterback Chris Todd was woeful. the senior went 10-for-24 for 80 yards and an interception. Despite this, the coaches did not consider making a switch. "Never did," Malzahn said.
  • All of Auburn's players seemed to stand behind their quarterback through their post-game comments. "I’ve got confidence in him and he should have confidence in himself," running back Ben Tate said. "It starts with you. You have to have confidence in yourself."
  • Wide receiver Darvin Adams stood up for his quarterback too: "I don’t think he was off his game. Everybody can have a bad night and I’m not saying Chris had a bad night. Chris is not only a great football player, he’s a great leader."
  • Tate was the lone highlight, rushing for 132 yards and a touchdown, the fourth time in four SEC games he's topped the century mark.
  • Auburn's Achilles' heel was penalties. The Tigers had 10 for 76 yards. Kentucky had none. There's your ballgame. Plus, Auburn had them at crucial times. Trailing by seven with two minutes left, Auburn faced a third-and-1 situation from the Kentucky 43. It self-destructed from there, flagged twice for false start penalties to make it third-and-11 from its own 47. "Whenever we felt like we had momentum going, we'd get a penalty," wide receiver Kodi Burns said. "You've got to put a team away. ... Offensively, you've got to know the snap count. Look at the ball. The team with the most penalties usually loses."
  • Defensively, Auburn was solid for three quarters and stunk in the fourth. The Tigers gave up 142 rushing yards in the fourth quarter alone. "I thought we played well for three quarters," defensive coordinator Ted Roof said. "I was pleased with the defensive score. I was pleased with the third down. But the fourth quarter we missed some tackles. We got to find a way to finish a football game and put 60 minutes together."
  • Three different Kentucky quarterbacks scored on running plays -- Morgan Newton, Will Fidler and Cobb. Kind of interesting.
  • Neither Cobb nor Locke had a 100-yard rushing game to their credit prior to Saturday night. It was the first time the Tigers have allowed two 100-yard rushers in the same game since Darren McFadden (145 yards) and Felix Jones (104) did it for Arkansas in 2006.
  • Your offensive leaders who haven't been mentioned (and they aren't many):
  • Terrell Zachery: 4 catches, 24 yards
  • Darvin Adams: 3 catches, 57 yards
  • Mario Fannin: 2 catches, 9 yards
  • Onterio McCalebb: 22 rushing yards
  • Burns: 37 rushing yards, 15 passing yards
  • Your defensive leaders (and keep in mind "missed tackles" is not a stat that in the box score):
  • Josh Bynes: 9 tackles, 1 sack
  • Daren Bates: 8 tackles
  • Zac Etheridge: 7 tackles, 1.5 TFL
  • Craig Stevens: 7 tackles, .5 TFL
  • Antonio Coleman: 5 tackles, .5 TFL
  • And some telling stats:
  • Auburn had four passing first downs.
  • The Tigers had 95 passing yards against a team that was without its two starting cornerbacks.
  • Kentucky averaged 15.3 yards per kick return; Auburn averaged 7.0.
  • The Wildcats had four red zone opportunities and scored three times.
  • Auburn was in the red zone once.
  • Tate summed up the night like this: "We came out tonight and didn't play hard. We had too many mental mistakes. When a team does that, it is hard to defeat any other SEC team."
  • And one last comment from Todd about how to react from a loss like this: "Don’t hang your head and learn from your mistakes. A lot of times when you have a loss like this you tend to look a little deeper to find what’s going on."


Simmons B. Buntin said...

Wow. I don't understand how we can have such a breakdown. We adjusted offensively at halftime so well the first five games, and even against Arkansas, but this was a total collapse.

You don't want to hang your head, but there's not much to hold your head high about here.

Here's hoping we snap out of this funk, or try something that opposing defenses cannot so easily figure out.

Anonymous said...

The lack of depth is starting to show. And I think the players are starting to break down at the end of games because of it.

I put that on Tuberville and his staff. Poor recruiting the last 2 years is showing up now.

Arkansas looked pretty good today. They shoulda beat UF, so last week's game didn't look so bad. But now...it will be tough to win more than 7 games. I still think AU can handle LSU and UGA.

WokDontRun said...

" Todd about how to react from a loss like this: "Don’t hang your head and learn from your mistakes. A lot of times when you have a loss like this you tend to look a little deeper to find what’s going on."

What going on? Todd short-arming the ball to the receivers is what is going on...I dont know if Todd id hurt, or his shoulder is worn out, but he doesnt have the same zip he had before...Also there is no way KU went through that entire game without a penalty...Hard to defeat the other team and the refs at once

Anonymous said...

RJ . . . you just lost to a Kentucky team without its best defensive back and starting a true freshman in his first game . . . and you still think you will beat LSU and UGA? Wow. Why not Bama too?