Back Auburn’s Iron-Clad Momentum

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Auburn’s Iron-Clad Momentum

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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These Tigers haven't just changed their fortunes, they have shifted the college football paradigm.

Following a mid-October loss at LSU, Auburn was 5-2, Gus Malzahn was on the hot seat and the Tigers were eying consecutive SEC road games. There were questions about the infrastructure, concerns about the offense and doubts, looking at what remained, about a successful finish to the year. Since that point, Auburn has more than just responded; the Tigers have been college football's best team. Auburn, after a convincing 26-14 Iron Bowl triumph, has won five in a row, with two wins over top-ranked teams by a combined total of 35 points.

In three weeks, the Tigers have topped the nation's number one team -- twice. Before beating archrival Alabama, Auburn overwhelmed Georgia 40-17 in a game where the Tigers scored 30 unanswered points. Against the Crimson Tide, Auburn rallied to finish with the game's final 16 points, forcing the Crimson Tide to two turnovers on downs, a punt and a fumble on their final four offensive drives. The Tigers became the first team to beat Alabama by double digits in a non-bowl game in the Crimson Tide's last 95 such outings.

Dating back to the aforementioned loss in Death Valley, Auburn, while playing the nation's toughest schedule, has outscored its foes by an average of 22 points per game.

Nothing has been able to stop the Tigers as of late, including two of the nation's top defenses. Against two top five units, and most-recently Alabama's top-ranked defense, Auburn compiled 896 offensive yards and 50 first downs. The Tigers will head into an SEC Championship Game rematch with Georgia in an all-out sprint. This record-setting run has the pages of the history books still turning.   

"We're going to keep the hammer down," Gus Malzahn explained Saturday evening. "That fourth quarter was fun. We're playing our best football right now. We've got to continue to do that."

Only a handful of teams have beaten two number one teams twice in the same season, much less twice in one month. Simply put, the game hasn't seen what Auburn is currently doing very often. Should the Tigers beat the Bulldogs for a second time, Auburn, even with two losses on the resume, will have inarguably, undoubtedly earned a prominent position in the final four. With one more win, the Tigers would likely be the national championship favorite.

Malzahn and Auburn now have two signature victories this fall. These Tigers haven't just changed their fortunes, they have shifted the college football paradigm.

Who knows what the future holds, but not long after a very different conversation was being had on the Plains, whose hands it's in is now quite clear. 

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports