In a game that had all the makings for a loss for the young Auburn Tigers they still walked into and out of Knoxville with a W. It would have been easy for the Tigers to blow it at Neyland Stadium. 108,000 fans, first game on the road, and the offense still had not played 4 good quarters of ball. Yet the great Monte Kiffin had no answer for Gus Malzahn's offense. In the elder Kiffin's defense though when your offense produces as many 3 and outs as Tennesse's offense did fatigue was setting in early in the game.
Malzahn provided some new wrinkles to his offense just for Tennesse including lining up Kodi Burn at running back for a couple of plays just to keep the defense guessing. Ben Tate had a monster game on offense against a very capable defense. For the record Auburn put up more points and more yardage against Tennessee than what the number 1 team in the country Florida did just two short weeks ago.
The balance on offense is amazing to see for the Tigers this year. Tennesse has to do something on offense though. I am not so sure that Crompton is there whole problem. Yes he is pretty bad, but when you have recievers not running correct routes, running lazy routes, and just not catching the ball your offense is going to be in trouble. Hardesty was his normal self for most of the game running hard and picking up good yardage. I don't think he is totally healthy though as he never ran hard two carries in a row. Two plays in the game stand out for me in this game. The first was on a Ben Tate sweep to the right Tennessee's all-everything safety Eric Berry comes up to try and tackle Tate only to eat a nice stiff arm while Berry dived at his legs resulting in positive yards for Auburn. Then later on in the game Berry again trying to tackle Tate with a dive at his shoulders and only knocking Tate off balance a little bit and Tate continueing for positive yardage.
Right now Auburn is spreading the ball out so much on offense there is no one for defenses to key on. This was easily the toughest test to date for Auburn and the game wasn't as close as the score indicated with Tennesse only having two really good drives the entire game at the end of each half. So far so good.