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October 13, 2012

Brenner: Auburn still feeble in the fourth

OXFORD, Miss. – Clint Moseley said he, like any other athlete, craves getting the ball in his hands with the game on the line, and a chance to be the hero.

Six times this year, someone or another for Auburn has been called upon in those moments.

Six times, they’ve fallen short. Woefully short. Historically short.

Sixty-two to three.

Auburn has allowed opponents 62 points in the fourth quarter – its chief rival, Alabama, has given up 35 all year entering Saturday.

And that’s not even the most embarrassing fourth-quarter statistic.

Auburn has scored three points in 90 minutes with a big ‘4’ in the quarter display on the scoreboard.

“I don’t know if there’s any one thing I can put my finger on,” Moseley said. “Both teams make adjustments, and we’ve just got to finish.”

Three little points. One 36-yard field goal by Cody Parkey, with 12 minutes, 50 seconds remaining in the season opener against Clemson, which gave the Tigers a 19-16 lead and put them on the brink of fulfilling what looked like a seriously promising year.

Hope has been reduced to dust. This anemic season is on life support – and perhaps that’s being generous – because in the 87 minutes and 50 seconds of fourth-quarter action since that kick Sept. 1, the Auburn Tigers have not scored a single point when it counts.

That’s 22 consecutive drives involving the fourth quarter without scoring. Ghastly.

Again, they have been gashed for 62 fourth-quarter points in that timeframe. Unsightly.

Auburn hasn’t been muzzled in the fourth quarter. It’s been utterly and atrociously absent.

Head coach Gene Chizik’s at a loss for words to explain the fourth-quarter follies, as is pretty much everyone else in that locker room.

“It’s different things, but it’s execution,” Chizik said. “We’re not executing at a high level in the fourth quarter, and …” his voice trailed off, following a long pause, “It’s disappointing.”

How bad was it Saturday? Ten plays, four yards. Against an Ole Miss team graciously letting opponents march 380 yards per game.

No, really, how bad was it Saturday? After Auburn summoned a phenomenal second quarter (hey, no pressure when the game’s not on the line, right?) with 17 unanswered points, Ole Miss outscored Auburn 27-3 the rest of the way, including 17-0 in the fourth. In case this was forgotten, Ole Miss hadn’t beaten an SEC team since Oct. 2, 2010.

Not a single team in the past decade has finished a season with more fourth-quarters than fourth-quarter points.

By the way, guess which FBS team scored the least 4th-quarter points in the country in 2011? That would be Ole Miss. Which, by the way, scraped by Saturday with a measly 149 fourth-quarter yards.

“We’ve got to be a four-quarter team,” sophomore safety Jermaine Whitehead said. “I think that’s been a problem all season.”

If that’s not understatement of the year …

Aaron Brenner, abrenner@ledger-enquirer.com

7 Comments

  1. Aaron,
    Most of your articles are refreshing because they provide unbiased insight. This article just seemed over critical.

    Comment by AUnMS — October 13, 2012 @ 10:45 pm

  2. Overly critical? Of a team that beat ULM in overtime and has lost every other game? Aren’t you a sunshine pumper.

    Comment by TennesseeTiger — October 14, 2012 @ 8:36 am

  3. Overly critical?! This is the worst team I’ve seen since the Doug Barfield days. In fact, I don’t recall seeing anything this bad under Barfield. This team has set a new low.

    What needs to happen to turn this program around? 1)Jay Jacobs must go. Away. Far away. 2)Coach Chizik needs to resign and forfeit any buyout. 3)A new head coach needs to be hired as soon as the season is over. This coach should have an actual winning record and have a proven record of turning around a program in disarray.

    Comment by Stan McCullars — October 14, 2012 @ 10:46 am

  4. “over critical” ?…..you have got to be kidding. It not even that Auburn loses…..it’s the pathetic way they are not even competing. I’d argue the Aaron is being too nice. The players at Auburn have great talent……the recruiting has been fantastic…..but as an Alum I’m sick and tired of hearing the excuses from the coaches. Other teams with far less are doing far more. If Chizik hadn’t won a national championship and have such stellar recruitng classes he’d be out the door anywhere else. The question remains….when does AD hold his feet to the fire to produce on the field with the talent he is getting ?

    Comment by Eric — October 14, 2012 @ 11:19 am

  5. BTW……everyone needs to get a grip on this reality….3-9 record. Auburn will lose to Vandy, Texas A&M, Alabama & Geogia. You can only argue that maybe Vandy they pull out. The wins are New Mex and Al A&M. But with this team you have to argue do they mess up one of those. How does a 3-9 season sit with the Aburn faithful that had a National Championship two years ago and record recruiting classes.

    Comment by Eric — October 14, 2012 @ 11:28 am

  6. It’s not sitting well with my mother and me. I haven’t wanted to see a coach fired since Barfield but am ready to contribute to a fund to get the current regime out of Auburn. My mom said she saw some individual bad games when she was a student there in the mid-60s but never a series of games where the play was so sorry. This is embarrassing to the Auburn family.

    I was there from 83-86 and never saw anything like this. There was one game during that period in which we were embarrassed. This season it has been every game.

    With the talent we have you can only look to the coaches. Lefty has NO business coaching at this level. He is certainly NOT a QB guru. What a load of crap that PR job was. His play calling is what I would expect from a middle school coach. Seriously. Even then it would be predictable. What are the position coaches doing? Can you look to ANY player and note ANY improvement? Tre Mason would be on my list of improved players. How about the O-line? The D-line? The linebackers? The secondary? The QBs? The receivers? The secondary?

    I’m tired of all the “All In” crap I’ve been hearing. I care about Auburn and because I care I want a new group of coaches to come in and put this embarrassment of a team behind us.

    Does the administration have what it takes to right the ship? Let’s hope so.

    Comment by Stan McCullars — October 14, 2012 @ 3:22 pm

  7. I’m “all in”…….all in to get them “all out”….the coaches that is.

    Comment by Eric — October 14, 2012 @ 6:00 pm

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