A win is a win for Auburn
by Johnathan Bentley
Sep 05, 2011 | 1797 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print

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Sorry Auburn, this one is on me.

And maybe Ted Roof.

I nearly jinxed the Tigers Saturday.

Last week, a few of us at the office were discussing Auburn's odds against Utah State.

Earlier that day I noticed that one of the entrants in the paper's weekly football contest had picked Auburn to lose to Utah State.

I was surprised.

At that point I brought up the question, 'When was the last time Auburn lost to a team like Utah State?'

Little did I know that I had just jinxed the Tigers. I should have kept my mouth shut.

After going back and forth, we couldn't come up with an answer.

Dating back to the Pat Dye era I couldn't remember any losses to a schedule-filler like Utah State.

Auburn came close to losing to Central Florida twice, nearly lost to Appalachian State and I remember being at a game where the Tigers needed a last-minute score to beat Southeast Louisiana.

But the Tigers had never lost to a non-BCS team that entered the game at a three-touchdown underdog.

Sure, South Florida knocked off Auburn a few years ago, but that game was expected to be close. In fact, it seemed like every expert called for the upset heading into that game.

No one expected Utah State to beat Auburn -- with one exception, the lone entrant who had Utah State knocking off the defending champs at home.

In the end, he was wrong.

He shouldn't have been.

Auburn had to get an onside kick and score twice in the final 2:07 just to win.

The odds of that happening were about the same as Cam Newton sneaking onto the field wearing a No. 2 jersey.

Auburn was outgained by nearly 100 yards, gave up three fourth-down conversions, allowed four touchdown drives of 14 plays or more and had the lead for a grand total of six minutes and seven seconds.

That means Utah State led for 53:53.

All that aside, Auburn did win.

The Tigers did get that onside kick and indeed did score twice in the final 2:07.

As every coach has told me at one point or another, a win is a win.

Auburn will take it.

Defensive coordinator Ted Roof will take it.

If the defense doesn't get any better, and I mean a lot better, Roof won't be taking many more wins this season.

I should have known things were bad when Auburn made its first bump tackle on Utah State's first drive.

The truth is that over the last two years Roof's defense has been among the worst in Auburn football history.

It looks like more of the same in 2011.

Though it was an ugly win, I prefer to be an optimist when things look their worst.

The Tigers offense had its moments, especially passing the ball and Auburn's special teams play was a highlight reel waiting to happen.

Auburn will get better beginning next week.

They can't get much worse on defense.

I've got my yearly jinx out of the way early.

The next one is on Roof alone.

Johnathan Bentley is the Sports Editor for the Daily Mountain Eagle. He can be reached at johnathan.bentley@mountaineagle.com