Saturday, October 15, 2011
Auburn wins an ugly one against Gators
By Edward Aschoff
Pretty certainly isn't a word that will be used to describe much of Auburn's 17-6 win over Florida Saturday.
The game was full of penalties, execution issues, erratic quarterback play and special teams blunders.
Florida made most of those mistakes, especially when it came to coughing up the football on routine punt returns, but both teams really struggled to move the ball.
Auburn and Florida combined to use six players at quarterback, and got just 251 yards and a touchdown out of it. Both starters were replaced at halftime with Clint Moseley coming in for Barrett Trotter and Jeff Driskel filling in for Jacoby Brissett. Moseley finished with a game-high 90 yards, while Driskel had 75.
Both offense sputtered along Saturday night, but both defenses also made it hard for either offense to get into a rhythm. Not all of the sloppiness was due to offensive inefficiency, as both defenses had a hand in the poor numbers.
Once again, we saw an Auburn team go down to the wire, fighting every step of the way. There were moments when I -- and probably most of those inside Jordan Hare Stadium -- thought neither team wanted to win this game. As soon as one team's offense stumbled, the other team got it right back into the game with mistakes of its own.
Florida helped Auburn by muffing four punts, including three by Chris Rainey. Robert Clark was responsible for the final one, which came with just more than three minutes remaining after Florida's defense stuffed Auburn inside its own 10-yard line.
Auburn tried to get the Gators back in it with penalties, stalling offenses and missed field goals. As long as Florida wasn't moving the ball, those mistakes really didn't matter.
This has been a tough month for Florida and its new coach. We knew there would be hiccups along the way with a new coaching staff, but without starting quarterback John Brantley, the Gators have had absolutely no offense. Two true freshmen are throwing the ball, but neither has looked all that good. And the running game is nonexistent. The Gators have gotten just 65 rushing yards per game during their three-game slide.
There was supposed to be more Mike Gillislee to add some bulk to the ground game against Auburn, but it appeared as though the coaches forgot he was there as he carried the ball just three times. Using fullback Hunter Joyer might have even helped, but he touched the ball just once.
The Trey Burton wildcat formations worked, but without the threat to pass, Auburn loaded up when he lined up.
Charlie Weis has to have something better to show with his offense with the bye week coming up, right?
As for Auburn, this team just knows how to win. The Tigers are far from pretty and probably won't be for the rest of the season, but they are 5-2 and have smiles plastered on their faces. Talk all you want about Auburn's issues on both sides of the ball, but winning is the most important thing and the Tigers are doing it.
They may have found a new quarterback as well Saturday. Chizik said after the game that he felt he had to make a change at quarterback and Moseley wasn't too shabby out there. He only threw the ball seven times, but completed four of them.
The talk last week centered around a possible quarterback controversy brewing between Trotter and Frazier, but now the real battle could be between Trotter and Moseley.
Moseley passed his first test Saturday.