Sunday, September 28, 2008

Surviving the scare

Here's my game story from Auburn's 14-12 win over Tennessee. It's wrapped in a different package, but the themes sound awfully familiar: Offense struggles, defense bails it out. It doesn't matter how good you are as a writer when you're trying to review the same bad movie with the same bad script.

The big story today will be, SURPRISE, quarterbacks. Who's starting this week? HC Tommy Tuberville promised the coaching staff would re-evaluate the QB situation. Here's the problem: Chris Todd looked as good as he has ever looked at Auburn during the first half. Kodi Burns came in late in the second quarter and Todd was not the same. He struggled badly in the second half, including a costly interception that set up Tennessee's only touchdown. Late in the fourth quarter, Tuberville or OC Tony Franklin had to make the call to replace Todd with Burns.

Did Todd pout on the sideline? You be the judge:

"You can look at that different ways, but whatever issues are going through
your head or whatever when you're on the sideline, I've got to do a better job
of controlling that," Todd said. "If that's the case, that's on me. The fact of the matter is when you're in the game, you've got to make plays. I thought we were pretty
smooth in the first half. We came out slow after that. That's just part of

Give Todd credit for saying what he said and not denying his benching was a problem. Also give credit to Todd for answering every questions reporters had for him. I personally got over to Todd late after a large wave of reporters was leaving. He graciously stayed a little longer to let me ask him more questions, including the one that yielded that quote.

Burns, on the hand, played OK when he was called upon to relieve Todd. In his first drive of the fourth quarter, Burns kept on three rushes. UT easily stopped Burns and the drive for a three-and-out. Burns did, however, complete the game-clinching pass to Montez Billings on third-and-5.

Just to be clear about how poorly the offense played in the second half, the 10-yard completion was easily Auburn's biggest offensive highlight after halftime.

Much more to come later.

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