Well with week 3 on the books Auburn is now 3-0 after a very hard fought win over a pretty good West Virginia team. Before I go into my analysis of the game I just have to say the guys that get that field at Jordan-Hare Stadium ready for play are miracle workers. That field was completely under water at the scheduled kick off time due to heavy rain storms in the area. The storm forced the evacuation of the stadium due to lightning with a few dedicated fans from both sides remainin in the stadium at their own risk. Kick off was delayed an hour and five minutes until 30 minutes after the last strike of lightning. Yet once it was game time the field was clear of water and I don't remember seeing one instance of players losing their footing during the game. The field held together the entire 60 minutes which was amazing to me. Hat's off to the grounds keepers.
On tot he game itself. The first thing I have to say is Noel Devine is one of the fastest and slippery backs I have ever seen. Combine that with some very poor tackling technique by the Auburn defense on this night and the results are Devine had a pretty big game. The West Virginia QB earned my respect in that he may not be near as fast as what Pat White was when he was there but he is just as hard to corral and bring down. Auburn brought heat on this guy all night long but he managed to scrammble out of trouble on most occasions. He isn't the most accurate passer in the world as his 4 interceptions showed. Auburn took advantage on every one of them and scored points.
West Virginia's defense wasn't at full strength with their starting middle lineback and one of the defensivie lineman out for the game, but they still did a great job of stopping the Auburn rushing attack that before this game had two running backs averageing over 100 yards per game. They held Ben Tate to only 75 yards on the ground much of which came in the second half. They completely shut down the freshman Onterrio McCaleb on this night. In the previous two games Mario Fannin was a big target in the passing game, but West Virginia seemed to notice this too and held him in check recieving wise to just one reception, but it did go for 82 yards and a TD. Auburn seemed to find a different weapon this game though in fourth running back Eric Smith who had 3 receptions for 67 yards. Each one of those receptions seemed to come on 3rd and long situations to extend drives. With the running game held in check all night Chris Todd compensated with 4 TD passes answering some questions about whether or not he could actually lead the team to victory and not just manage a game and keep the team from losing. He completed passes to nine different people which is going to only help the team down the road. Opposing defenses won't truely be able to key on one person.
I think the achilles heel of this team is going to be defensive depth and the fact that it doesn't play extremely well in the first half on offense. After the first quarter West Virginia was up 21-10 and the defense was looking pretty tired. They seemed to dig down and pitched a shutout in the 2nd quarter though once the offense had drives that took a little time off the clock and allowed them to get a little break. For the second game in a row Auburn had a defensive lineman grab an interception and return it for big yardage. I think this game showed the team they could win a hard fought close game which they proved on multiple occasions they really couldn't do last year so this was a big confidence booster for the team. All in all I think the game was there for West Virginia to win, but you can't turn the ball over 5 times against many teams and still expect to win. Auburn's defense came alive again in the 2nd half like they have done in all three games this year and held a pretty decent West Virginia offense to just 10 second half points after giving up 21 in the first half continueing the trend so far this season.
They have a relatively weak opponent this coming week in Ball St. before beginning the meat and potato's of the schedule with Tennessee the following week. Which I will be at Neyland Stadium to witness them in person surrounded by a bunch of orange clad Vols fans. Hopefully I won't have to hear Rocky Top playing after the first kick off of the game and the Tigers will run their win streak over Tennessee up to 5 games. That's all for this week.