August 12, 2008

2008: Grading the non-conference schedules


We've created a vicious cycle in college football. Sure we all love the fact that just about every game is on TV nowadays. And because coaches and athletic directors want their teams to look good on TV, so they schedule a lot of limp fish opponents. Because wins beget bowl games. Bowl games begets job security. Job security begets more money. Thus, more money is insured by wins. You spin me right round baby right round, like a record.

No longer do college football teams across the country take chances. Or, well, rarely do they. Have you noticed how boring Septembers have become, except for the occasional Appy State upset of Michigan or Ohio State showdown with Texas?

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December 31, 2007

Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Auburn Wins 23-20

ATLANTA -- In overtime, the Auburn Tigers defeated Clemson 23-20 after quarterback Kodi Burns ran the ball into the end zone from five yards out to win the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.

Continue reading "Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Auburn Wins 23-20" »

Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Free Football

ATLANTA -- As the clock ticks down to zero in regulation, the score is tied at 17. Both Clemson and Auburn had chances to win the game in regulation. However, neither offense was able to put themselves in field goal range. In fact, each defense narrowly missed picked off interceptions.

This is the first overtime game in the history of the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. So one thing is for certain, the "Tigers" will be making history, one way or another.

Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Auburn has the Last Chance

ATLANTA -- With 1:32 to go in the game, Auburn has the ball at their own 36 yard line with a chance to win the game in regulation after Clemson went three and out. More to come soon...

Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Kodi Burns Brings Auburn Back

ATLANTA -- The majority of the drive saw backup quarterback Kodi Burns in the game, and his quickness helped revitalize the Auburn running game. With 8:27 to go in the fourth quarter, his 15 yard run set up a 1 yard touchdown run by Ben Tate to tie the game up at 17.

The key play on the drive came from Brandon Cox though. On a 3rd and 5 from the Auburn 47, he completed an 18 yard pass to Robert Dunn to the Clemson 35 giving Auburn the key first down.

Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Critical Mistake by Auburn Leads to Clemson Touchdown

ATLANTA -- Quarterback Brandon Cox threw his first interception of the game and allowed the game's first turnover. The play occurred after Brandon Cox was forced out of the pocket by Clemson defensive end Ricky Sapp. His throw was intended for tight end Cole Bennett, but was deflected by Clemson cornerback Crezden Butler, and then he caught his own tipped ball.

Clemson was able to take ball down the field and punch the ball into the end zone on 4th and goal from the 1 to retake the lead 17-10. With 11:24 to go in the 4th quarter, the game has taken on a much different look than it had in the middle of third quarter.

Clemson's offense has been able to mix the run with the pass effectively, and has stopped Auburn's rushing attack. With Auburn playing from behind now, the game may now be placed on quarterback Brandon Cox's shoulders for Auburn.

Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Clemson Ties Game

ATLANTA -- At the start of the fourth quarter, Clemson place kicker Mark Buchholz hit a 22 yard field goal after Clemson's Cullen Harper was stopped at the five yard line on a third and goal play from the two yard line.

Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Defensive Struggle Through Second Half

ATLANTA -- Auburn is controlling the tempo of the second half. The Tigers have failed to pick up a first down in five straight possessions. In the third quarter, Auburn has outgained Clemson 121-9 in total yardage.

Both teams have turned back to their strengths on offense to move the ball. While Auburn's rushing attack has been effective in the early going in the second half, Clemson's passing attack has not done much as quarterback Cullen Harper has been under pressure for much of the half and his receivers are just not getting open.

Even with Clemson's inability to move the ball, the score is still just 10-7 in Auburn's favor, and they have been able to gain the field position advantage via special teams after a 59 yard punt by Jimmy Maners put Auburn inside of their own 5 yard line.

Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Auburn Strikes First in 2nd Half

ATLANTA -- On the first drive of the second half, the Tigers drove the ball down the field and scored on a 22 yard pass from backup quarterback Kodi Burns to freshman running back Mario Fannin.

Burns rolled to his right on the play hitting Fannin in stride on a crossing route over the middle, and ran untouched into the far corner of the end zone to give Auburn a 10-7 lead early in the second half.

Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Half Time

ATLANTA -- Clemson leads at the end of the first half 7-3. The difference in this ball game was one play. C.J. Spiller's 83 yard touchdown early in the second quarter is the only offensive spurt that this game has seen.

While both teams have been able to drive the ball into the opponent's territory, neither side has been able to turn those drives into points. Clemson place kicker Mark Buchholz is 0-2 missing field goals from 45 and 53 yards each.

Auburn place kicker Wes Byrum is 1-2 with made field goal attempt from 38 yards out, and a miss from 45 yards out.

Clemson's offense has turned a complete 180 from their play calling during the season. After relying so heavily on the pass during the season, Clemson's offense has made every effort to move the ball down the field on the ground. Clemson has a much more balanced attack as they have run the ball 15 times for 141 yards, while passing the ball 16 times for just 37 yards.

Auburn has also had opportunities to score as their passing game has been effective. Quarterback Brandon Cox is 13-22 on the game for 111 yards. On the ground, Auburn has been somewhat less effective as they have only 36 yards on the ground.

Neither team has been able to play to their strength in the first half, which is the most likely reason for the 7-3 score. It will be interesting to see what each team does to make adjustments. Will each offense continue with what plays are working best for them right now, or will they try to go back to their strengths?

Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Auburn Stumbles

ATLANTA -- After Clemson was able to score their first touchdown of the game, Auburn responded by driving the ball to the 28 yard line in Clemson territory.

On a key 3rd and 3 at the 28, Auburn running back Ben Tate had a hold up the middle on a dive play, but stumbled on his own falling short of the first down.

On the next play, place kicker Wes Byrum missed a 45 yard field goal wide right in essentially the same location that Clemson place kicker Mak Buchholz did. The score is still Clemson 7-3.

Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Clemson Growls Back

ATLANTA -- After both offenses stalled for the majority of the first quarter, Clemson hit a home run on a 2nd and 5 play from their own 17 yard line.

On a delayed draw play up the middle, running back C.J. Spiller ran straight into the line, but was not taken down. After bouncing back to the outside, Spiller sprinted down the near sideline past the Auburn defense to give Clemson their first lead of the game 7-3.

Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Buchholz Wide Right

ATLANTA -- After Clemson drove the ball inside the Auburn 30 yard line, they were unable to put points on the board as placekicker Mark Buchholz's kick missed wide right. The score is still Auburn 3-0.

Chick-Fil-A Bowl: More On Scott

ATLANTA -- Clemson defensive tackle Dorrell Scott has a high right ankle sprain and he is listed as questionable to return to the game.

Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Auburn Pounces First, Clemson DT Scott Injured

ATLANTA - After a key 28 yard pass from Auburn quarterback Brandon Cox, the Navy blue clad Tigers were able to push the ball inside the Clemson 20 yard line. However, they were able to go no further and ended up kicking a 38 yard field goal to take the early 3-0 lead.

To add injury to insult, Clemson just suffered a major blow as defensive tackle Dorrell Scott was cut down to the ground by an illegal chop block from behind. He walked off of the field, favoring his right knee, with the help of two Clemson trainers.

Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Tiger Brawl

ATLANTA - The ACC and SEC are getting together once again on New Year's Eve in Atlanta as the 9-3 Clemson Tigers face off against the 8-4 Auburn Tigers.

Clemson comes into tonight's contest winning five of their last six contests including a win over their in-state rival South Carolina 23-21 on a late field goal.

While Auburn struggled early on in the season with a 1-2 record in their first three games. However, Auburn finished strong in SEC play with key wins at Florida and at home against their in-state rival Alabama.

For Auburn, this game comes down to stopping the ACC leading passing attack that Clemson will throw at them. Defensive end Quentin Groves will be the key to putting pressure on Clemson quarterback Cullen Harper.

On the offensive side off the ball, Auburn will most likely keep the ball on the ground to keep Clemson's offense on the sidelines. Look for tailback Brad Lester to get many touches in this game.

For Clemson, the offense will need to keep the pressure off of Cullen Harper by allowing their stellar running back tandem of James Davis and C.J. Spiller to get going.

On defense, Clemson's front seven is the key to their success. Clemson will be without the services of their two star linebackers in Tremaine Billie and Nick Watkins. Replacements Scotty Cooper and Kavell Conner will be tested early and often during the course of this game.

October 21, 2007

wave of hand does wonders in LSU victory

BATON ROUGE, La. - With one wave his hand to the press box, LSU wide receiver Demetrius Byrd put the fate of the Tigers' season on his shoulders.

In the final minutes of LSU's contest with Auburn, Byrd wanted to run a go route to the endzone. After Jacob Hester's 10-yard run on the final drive, Byrd waved his hand toward the sky, instructing offensive coordinator Gary Crowton to call the play.

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LSU wins, 30-24

BATON ROUGE, La. - Wide receiver Demetrius Byrd caught a touchdown pass with one second left to give LSU a 30-24 victory.

Check back later for stats, analysis and comments from coaches and players.

Auburn back on top, 24-23

BATON ROUGE, La. - Rodgeriqus Smith just caught a 3-yard touchdown pass from Brandon Cox to give Auburn a 24-23 advantage with 3:21 left in the game.

Smith beat LSU cornerback Chevis Jackson on the play. Jackson went for the interception, and the pass was thrown perfectly over his fingertips.

LSU now has the ball, first-and-10 on its own 42-yard line.

Purple and Gold Tigers stretch lead to six

BATON ROUGE, La. - LSU has looked like a completely different football team in the second half.

Colt David just connected on his third field goal of the night to give LSU a 23-17 lead against SEC rival Auburn.

LSU quarterback Matt Flynn is having a career night. So far, he has completed 20 of his 31 passes for 295 yards.

October 20, 2007

LSU takes lead in fourth quarter

BATON ROUGE, La. - LSU has taken its first lead of the game on a 5-yard reception by Jacob Hester.

The play was under official review for a few minutes after the initial call on the field. Officials decided that the play would stand as initially called.

The Tigers now lead Auburn, 20-17, with 12:55 left in the game.

LSU's defense has just taken the field, and All-American Glenn Dorsey is still on the sidelines.

Dorsey hurt again ... LSU cuts lead

BATON ROUGE, La. - LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey was injured for the second time in the game on a second down play by Auburn.

Dorsey injured his right leg and limped off the field on his own power.

Following Auburn's drive, the injury seemed to spark the Tigers' offense as Matt Flynn connected with Demetrius Byrd for a 58-yard gain that led to another LSU field goal.

With 2:03 left in the third quarter, Auburn leads LSU, 17-13.

Drops hurting home team

BATON ROUGE, La. - LSU wide receivers have dropped three passes in the third quarter, including one that hit Brandon LaFell in the numbers and was intercepted by Patrick Lee.

LSU has five dropped passes so far in the game.

Auburn has the ball on LSU's 36-yard line with 5:39 left in the third quarter.

LSU cuts lead to 7 points

BATON ROUGE, La. - LSU took the opening drive of the second half 56 yards and converted a 29-yard field goal to cut Auburn's lead to 17-10.

The big play of the drive was a 33-yard pass into three defenders from Matt Flynn to Early Doucet.

It was Doucet's second catch of the night. His first went for no gain.

LSU trails at half, 17-7

BATON ROUGE, La. - LSU could very well be watching its national title hopes taken away.

LSU trails Auburn at home, 17-7, at halftime.

LSU has been plagued by turnovers and dropped passes in the first half. Quarterback Matt Flynn completed his first six passes, but finished the half 9-of-12.

Continue reading "LSU trails at half, 17-7" »

field goal gives Auburn 17-7 advantage

BATON ROUGE, La. - Auburn's offense wasn't supposed to be this potent.

The Tigers just drove 90 yards on 12 plays and converted a 22-yard field goal to increase their lead over LSU to 17-7 with less than two minutes left in the first half.

Auburn quarterback Brandon Cox is 11-of-15 for 115 yards and has led his team to 11 first downs.

Auburn has not committed a penalty in the first half.

Physical nature in full force as Auburn takes lead

BATON ROUGE, La. - The term "physical" might be an understatement for what's going on here in Baton Rouge.

Three players have already been shaken up less than 25 minutes into the game.

For LSU, Glenn Dorsey and linebacker Darry Beckwith both left the game for a short time with minor injuries.

For Auburn, cornerback Patrick Lee was shaken up but soon returned.

LSU quarterback Ryan Perrilloux just fumbled in LSU territory. Auburn cornerback Jerraud Powers returned the ball to the 3-yard line before being tackled by LSU wide receiver Trindon Holliday.

On the third play after the turnover, running back Carl Stewart dove in from the 1-yard line to give Auburn a 14-7 lead with 9:34 left in the first half.

LSU uses big plays to tie score

BATON ROUGE, La. - With the use of two big plays, LSU quickly put itself back into the game.

A 13-yard catch by Brandon LaFell followed by a 46-yard touchdown from Keiland Williams tied the score at 7.

LSU's drive lasted four plays and covered 62 yards.

Dorsey misses second drive

BATON ROUGE, La. - LSU failed to score on its first drive of the game, and Auburn went three and out on its second drive.

LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey missed Auburn's second drive and was taken to the locker room after Auburn jumped to a 7-0 lead.

Dorsey just returned back to the sidelines as LSU prepares for its second possession of the game.

Auburn jumps out to 7-0 lead

BATON ROUGE, La. - It doesn't seem like the Tiger Stadium atmosphere is affecting the Auburn Tigers.

The Tigers took the opening kickoff and drove 63 yards on 11 plays to take a quick 7-0 lead over LSU five minutes into the game.

LSU All-American defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey was shaken up on the sixth play. It appeared to be a minor cramp, but Dorsey missed the remainder of Auburn's scoring drive.

Ready for some football

BATON ROUGE, La. - The excitement is building here in Tiger Stadium as fans prepare for an SEC battle between No. 4 LSU and No. 17 Auburn.

The LSU marching band has just completed its pregame ritual and both teams have taken the field.

There are five minutes remaining until kickoff.

It was just announced that LSU wide receiver Early Doucet will start tonight.

It's Tigers vs. Tigers tonight in Baton Rouge

BATON ROUGE, La. - Fans who enjoy high-powered offense and tons of points probably shouldn't look for tonight's LSU-Auburn matchup to give them what they need.

Historically, the yearly contest between these two teams is one of the most physical in the Southeastern Conference.

Continue reading "It's Tigers vs. Tigers tonight in Baton Rouge" »

September 29, 2007

Byrum wins it for Auburn

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Auburn did it again.

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Florida cuts lead to 17-10

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The crowd is getting amped, and the Gators are getting close.

Thanks to a 6-yard touchdown pass from TIm Tebow to Cornelius Ingram, Florida has narrowed the deficit to 17-10 with 14:56 remaining in the fourth quarter.

This is setting up to be an amazing finish.

Auburn answers

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Auburn just regained its two-touchdown lead with a 30-yard field goal by Wes Byrum with 6:39 left in the third quarter.

The Tigers drove 52 yards on 10 plays and brought in backup Kodi Burns for a Tim Tebow-like sneak at the Gators' 9-yard line, but he was stuffed for a 5-yard loss to help force the field goal.

Auburn leads 17-3.

Florida gets some momentum back

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The host Gators opened the second half by forcing an Auburn three-and-out and putting up their first points of the game on a 24-yard Joey Ijjas field goal.

With 11:50 left in the third quarter, Auburn has possession at its own 30-yard line to start its second drive of the half.

All Tigers at halftime

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The first half eerily resembled Auburn's win over Florida from a year ago.

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Questionable call on Auburn's 2nd TD

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Auburn running back Ben Tate just scored a controversial 3-yard touchdown run with less than 7 minutes remaining in the first half.

Tate ran through the right side of Auburn's offensive line, dived over a pile of players and reached his arm over the goal line for a score.

The play was reviewed and it was apparent on replays that Tate's knee hit the ground before he stretched for the score.

Still, the play was upheld at Auburn leads 14-0.

Auburn leads at end of first quarter

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- In the first quarter, Florida's high-powered spread attack was showcased for all of six plays as Auburn played keep away with the football.

The Tigers are up 7-0 with 13:41 left in the second quarter. Florida has the ball at its own 28-yard line.

Could Caldwell play?

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Injured Florida wide receiver Andre Caldwell, expected to miss the game with a sprained MCL, is in pads and catching passes in pregame warmups.

Caldwell is the Gators' top receiving threat and would provide a huge boost for quarterback Tim Tebow if he indeed does play, and it looks like he will.

Florida looks for revenge against Auburn

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Nothing went right for the mighty Gators on Oct. 14 at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

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