Sunday, 10 April 2011

Gene Chizik's Top 5 Auburn Games: No 5 - Clemson '10

Drivel season doesn't always mean there is NOTHING to write about does it? Of course not, in so I've decided to create a series outlining Gene Chizik's top 5 Auburn games in his two year tenure. Up first, we have Clemson.

Two games into the 2010 season, Auburn remained unbeaten after their wins against Arkansas State, and their close road win in Starkville. Over a week later Auburn met Clemson in Jordan-Hare Stadium. This was a big one, because it was the main OOC (out of conference) game that had the students and fans loud and riled up, and was also the first big home game of the season.

Auburn started off slowly, they gave up 17 points in the first half due to an 8 yard pass from Kyle Parker to Jamie Harper, a 42 yard kick from Catanzaro, and another touchdown pass to Jamie Harper. Auburn were unsettled, nervous and shaky, they couldn't handle Clemson, and Auburn needed to get some points up on the board by halftime. Who else than Wes Byrum kicked a 35 yard FG to cut the lead down to 14.

At halftime, Auburn did what they do best. They adjusted. Ted Roof had to make changes to the defense, and Gus Malzahn shuffled some pieces around on offense. You wouldn't BELIEVE the abuse these two men were getting. Roof was classed as "useless", and Malzahn was likened to being "overrated".

The second half had begun, and Auburn came out fighting. Auburn's very own Onterrio McCallebb scored on a 12-yard run to cut the lead down to 7. Suddenly, Auburn were back in the game! Auburn then scored AGAIN to tie it up at 17-17. This time, it was a precise throw from Cam Newton to Darvin "Smoove" Adams, the touchdown pass will forever be one of my personal favorites, as Adams did a great job on keeping his feet inbounds as he caught it. You can see the picture of the catch on the top right of my blog.

Then came the big play. The game was tied at 17 a piece and Gus Malzahn ordered the play that almost never fails. The Hitch 'n go. On 2nd & 5 Cam Newton stepped back, pumped the fake, and hit Terrell Zachery on a 78 yard catch, which resulted in him skipping into the end zone.

The touch down sent the crowd crazy, Auburn was in the lead for the first time during the game, and by then you knew this team had something special, but the game was not over just yet...

The game went into over time after Andre Ellington tied it at 24-24 with a 2 yard TD run, with 12:52 left to play. Wes Byrum hit a 39 yard FG in Auburn's OT possession, but Catanzaro couldn't match that as his FG hooked wide left. Auburn had won the game.

You could say Auburn escaped a close call, or you can say Auburn made a sensational comeback. I'll choose the latter, as being down 17-0 in your own house can de-moralise the crowd and the team. Auburn made a statement that said they aren't never out of it until they are out of it.

I hope I didn't bore you by recapping the game (since we all know how it started and ended) but this game was important because Chizik proved that he could rally his troops when times were low and bring them back from the dead. I truly believed that this comeback was the catalyst for an unforgettable season.

Auburn were 3-0 and the show went on.