Although Auburn showed clear improvements when they faced LSU on Saturday, September 22, they were not satisfied with their performance. As reported by Charles Goldberg at AL.com, head coach Gene Chizik was disappointed that his team failed to secure the win that at times seemed to be within their grasp.
Despite providing Auburn with their third loss of the season, the game illustrated the fact that Auburn can and will improve. Auburn's defense especially shined against LSU. In fact, comparing the game notes to those from LSU's game against Washington suggests that most of Auburn's improvement was owed to the defense.
Both Auburn and Washington achieved a total of 183 offensive yards against the Tigers. While most of Washington's yardage stemmed from passing, Auburn favored a roughly equal mix of passing and rushing plays. Kiehl Frazier appeared to be more relaxed and confident than during previous games, and his offensive line protected him fairly well considering LSU's defensive rankings. However, a total of 183 offensive yards shows that Auburn's offense continues to struggle.
Auburn's defensive game was a different story. In my opinion, this was where Auburn showed true promise heading forward. Whereas Washington allowed LSU to achieve a total of 437 yards, Auburn limited the Tigers to 351 yards. I have to note, however, that this statistic was aided by the fact that LSU cost themselves a total of 80 yards due to penalties. If not for that setback, the score may not have been quite so close.
In general, I think this weekend's game illustrated two basic facts: LSU was overrated and had not been given a chance to show their weaknesses before facing Auburn; and Auburn could potentially improve enough this year to end the season with an 8-5 record. That's obviously not where they want to be, and I as a fan had hoped for a better start to the season, but improvement is always welcome.
My biggest concern at this point is still Kiehl Frazier. He looked much better against LSU than he did against Clemson or Mississippi State, but he continues to struggle - especially in high-pressure situations where he's forced to make snap decisions. Inexperience at the quarterback and offensive line positions seems to be the key element holding Auburn back at this point.
However, if Auburn's offense can begin to show some of the improvement that was illustrated by their defense when they held the line against No. 2 LSU, perhaps the season will end much better than it began.
Christopher Brown is an avid, almost rabid college football fan. More importantly, he is a fan of the Auburn Tigers, a team that always seems to provide its fans with an unpredictable and even frustrating roller-coaster ride.
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