AuburnSports – STULTZ: A series of fortunate events


AUBURN | No, it wasn’t a night game under the lights in Jordan-Hare Stadium, but the weirdness factor reached a maximum level in the waning moments of the fourth quarter and into overtime. It’s a game that both teams won’t want to watch the film of, that’s for sure. And for Missouri, it was a punch in the gut several times over.

The visiting Tigers should have walked out with the victory for many reasons. First, a 26-yard field goal attempt as time expired missed by last season’s most accurate kicker in the SEC. Then, in overtime, a pass from Robby Ashford seemed to be intercepted but hit the ground. Mizzou jumped offsides on Anders Carlson’s 44-yard field goal attempt that he missed to give him another chance which he took advantage of.

And yes, the fumble. Auburn was mere inches from a 2-2 record and, let’s admit it, a horrible loss. Nathaniel Peat had the angle and was ready to seal the deal, possibly for the Bryan Harsin era. But in an ill-advised moment that he will likely never forget, he reached for the pylon, losing the ball without getting hit, the ball recovered by Cayden Bridges for the Auburn win.

It wasn’t even close, either. It was clear from the first replay that the ball was out. Auburn knew it. So did the fans, who stayed until the bitter end.

A series of crazy events. It wasn’t pretty, as Robby Ashford admitted during postgame interviews. The quarterback said he had never been in a game as wacky as this one, and frankly, I think we can all say we haven’t seen anything like it before. While the first 59 minutes were sluggish, dull and downright painful, the ending was pure chaos.

How did Missouri choke so badly? How did a sure victory for them turn into an Auburn win? What in the world just happened?

It’s not a good win for Harsin and the Tigers by any means, but it could have been a lot worse so easily. One of those moments doesn’t go horribly awry for Mizzou, and we could be looking at a coaching change just four games into the season. As I walked down to the field afterward, fans were relieved more than happy, and some were angry, yelling at the Auburn coach as he exited the field, and those words weren’t encouraging.

There’s no telling where Auburn goes from here. The offense has a lot of problems that don’t seem fixable. While playing well on Saturday, the defense won’t be able to count on opponents to have inept offenses in future games.

An easy chip-shot field goal. A dumb penalty. And a fortuitous fumble. Things had to turn weird for Auburn to win this game. Luckily, nothing is ever normal in Jordan-Hare Stadium.

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