Monday, October 03, 2011

New at Rivals: Chicken Soup for the Auburn Soul

My Monday-morning column for the South Carolina game is up over at Rivals' A preview:

The defense that couldn't get Utah State off the field allowed only two third-down conversions against Carolina. The secondary that had spent four games with its backs to the line of scrimmage suddenly turned around to look for the football, allowing only nine completions and reeling in two interceptions. Linemen and linebackers who'd been diving at feet and clutching at air were now wrapping up and gang-tackling, holding the remarkable Marcus Lattimore well below the century mark for the third time in 12 months.

To call it a turnaround would constitute a landmark of understatement. How completely bottled up was South Carolina? This much: Prior to their last, desperation drive, the Gamecocks snapped the ball in Auburn territory exactly once; although to be fair, that one play was Lattimore's only notable run of the day, the 15-yard third quarter touchdown scamper through most of the AU defense.

The rest of the day, Carolina was playing with their backs in close proximity to their own end zone, and while the Tiger defense can take justifiable pride in keeping the Gamecocks backed up, I'd wager they don't have a bit of a problem in complementing the stellar day had by punter Steven Clark and his special teams compatriots.

Carolina had exactly one kick return (and it was on a kickoff) the entire game. For old-line Auburn, having suffered through the ridiculous surrendered yardage and points of September, play and numbers like that were a soothing tonic.
 The rest is on the subscription side.  Rivals is offering a free first month to new subscribers coming over from FTB.

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