I know, it was one of the wildest games we've ever seen. Auburn tried to lose it, but they came away with the victory, their eighth of the season and that's all that matters at the end. The fumbles, the penalties drove all Auburn fans crazy I'm sure, but the Tigers never quit trying and Neiko Thorpe's tackle at the end of the game was great recognition of the fake and a great tackle. It was such a fun game, but I'm sure exhausting for Auburn fans. You've got to give Northwestern credit. They were outmanned, but kept coming back. Their quarterback threw it 78 times; amazing. He completed 47 for 532 yards and four tds, but had five interceptions. There were some great plays in the secondary: Walter McFadden's 100-yard interception return was a beauty, two ints by redshirt frosh T'Sharvan Bell and one by Thorpe, a sophomore.
Chris Todd played a solid game I thought: 20-of-31 for 210 yards and a td. He played within himself and made some great throws. Ben Tate ran hard, fumbled as usual–one which really hurt–but he put his usual 100 percent effort in and got over 100 on the ground. Darvin Adams is phenomenal: 12 catches for 142 yards.
You can look at the glass half empty and be hard on Auburn, or you can look at the half full glass and see that the Tigers won their eighth game of the season on a team that was short on players defensively with a secondary that was decimated by injuries and linebackers who were short on depth. Gus Malzahn, in my opinion, is a terrific coach. I liked what Coach Chizik said afterwards. He praised Northwestern but was so proud of his players; particularly his seniors.
It was great to see guys like Antonio Coleman, McFadden, Todd, Tommy Trott and Tate go out as winners. They were great leaders and devoted to the program. Seeing them go out like this is what makes the win special.
I did think the Northwestern coach made a mistake going for the fake at the end. I know it was his backup kicker, but it was a 22-yard field goal. I think he should have tried to make the field goal. He outthunk himself on that one in my view.
Still great win for AU as they celebrate this and look at one of their best recruiting classes since the Pat Dye years. It's a recruiting class that is ranked No.3 by Rivals and will probably get better with a few more additions. This five star junior college qb, Cameron Newton out of Brenham, Texas, sounds very interesting. The qb competition in the Spring and summer should be very interesting with Caudle, Trotter, Moseley and Rollison–if he gets it together–battling it out with Newton. There are some solid players coming back and some frosh who could make significant impacts next year. The offense should be explosive and the defense improved.
I think AU can win 10 games next year if, and that's an if, the qb comes through. If he does, expect good things on the Plains. Two years from now should even be better.