Stewart On Auburn

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 10, 2002

Open weeks are boring

By Andy Stewart / Selma Times – Journal

Man, I hate open dates. I’m sure it’s good for the football team, but they are BORING for the fans.

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Why don’t we use this open date to reflect on how the season is going so far. Kind of a midseason report on the Tigers.

Auburn is currently 4-1 and 2-0 in the Southeastern Conference play. Our four game winning streak has us ranked 21st and 24th in the USA Today/ESPN and AP polls respectively. That sounds great. Right.

Not so fast my friend.

I hate to be a glass half full guy, but we need to take a closer look. Auburn’s four victories came over teams who are a combined 0-13 against Division 1-A opponents, and our conference victories are over lowly Vanderbilt and Missy State, Our next four games (Arkansas, Florida, LSU and Ole Miss) will give us ample opportunity to show that we are contenders, not pretenders.

A look at the stats show that Auburn has excelled in certain areas.

The strength of our team is our rushing offense, our opportunistic defense and the punting of David Duval. We are 13th in the nation in rushing offense and 19th in total offense.

Carnell Williams is ninth in the nation with a 127.8 yards per game average and is eighth in the nation in scoring with nine touchdowns.

The defense has struggled at times, but we have intercepted 10 passes and recovered five fumbles.

Did you know that we have a +10 turnover ratio?

Also, Damon Duval has been superb this year in punting the football.

He is averaging 45.52 yards per kick and ranks as the third best punter in the nation.

Enough with the stats. Arkansas is coming to town.

It’s revenge game number two for the Tigers this week.

Last year, the favored 6-1 Auburn team traveled to Fayetteville to cook some Hogs.

Unfortunately, it was the Tigers who got barbequed 42 to 17.

However, I think this year will be a different story. Auburn has been listed as a six point favorite this week and for good reasons.

The Arkansas Razorbacks lost a grueling six overtime game to Tennessee last week. While they were playing, we were resting. Advantage Tigers.

Also, Auburn defends its home turf with a passion. We are 15-1 in our last 16 games at Jordan-Hare. Advantage Tigers.

The only problem I see in this game are the quarterbacks, both ours and theirs. My sources tell me that Daniel Cobb will be back under center this week. Oh no! If he plays like he did against Syracuse, we will be in big trouble.

On the other side of the ball you have Matt Jones. He is tall and goofy and looks like he is running under water.

That is a fact, but he ran the option attack to perfection last year and lit the Auburn defense up in the second half.

We need to do a better job of containing the lank Razorback this week.

Auburn needs this game to go 3-0 in the SEC before a difficult game on the road against Florida. It will be a close game, but the rested Tigers will pull away in the fourth quarter. I’m picking Auburn by 10. War Eagle.