I wish I could split this grade, giving one to the actual players and another to the coaches. The players, like Tre Mason, who picked up 152 yards, and Onterio McCalebb, who had over 100, get an A. The coaches, for their continued stupidity in play calling, get an F. Mason and McCalebb were steadily picking up five or six yards per carry, but at halftime, those two had only 15 carries combined.
There were moments that New Mexico State was able to get a little momentum and pick up rushing yards. But those times were few and far between. The Aggies had very little consistency running, and Auburn had one of its best statistical days of the season.
I can’t give it an F. I’ve seen F performances from Auburn this season. This was better. New starter Jonathan Wallace didn’t set the field ablaze with his accuracy, but he was decent at times. Actually, he was just good enough to keep a bad New Mexico State defense from stacking the line. That was plenty.
New Mexico State could have run the five-yard buttonhook every play and moved down the field with no issues. That the Aggies didn’t do that was more on them and had much less to do with tight, well-coached AU pass D. Georgia will have a lot of fun with this pass defense next week.
The special teams weren’t bad, but they weren’t exactly the difference in the game, either. There was finally a positive punt return, but it followed an odd fair catch on a line-drive punt that Quan Bray caught with about 20 yards between him and the closest defender. It was that sort of day for the AU special teams – one step forward, one step back.
This is still one of the worst coached teams in the country. All the problems from Game 1 are present here in Game 9. The defensive ends overrun plays. The coverage is awful. The play calling is befuddling. There are stupid penalties. And the lines are soft on both sides of the ball. No other coaching staff in the SEC would be getting little out of this talented group of players.
I know a B grade means this was an above-average performance, and Lord knows Auburn was far from above average on Saturday. That first half might have been the worst half of major college football I’ve ever seen. But still, it was a win. And for this team this year, that’s more important than the way it came about.
Compiled by Josh Moon