Auburn imposed their collective will on Tennessee so much that the Tigers could have won in Neyland Stadium without even attempting a single pass. Auburn dominated the line of scrimmage and made the Vols’ defense effectively quit late in the second half as they ran right through a demoralized Tennessee defense.
Auburn entered Saturday’s game with the No. 5 rushing offense with an average of 306.2, but had no problem cruising past that mark, as they racked up 444 rushing yards and five touchdowns while only throwing it seven times for 35 yards in the 55-23 win.
The points are the most points Auburn has ever scored against Tennessee as they picked up their sixth straight win over them, and Nick Marshall was three yards shy for running for the most yards against Tennessee in their history.
How bad did things look for Tennessee? During the third quarter, Brian Griese, who was the analyst for ESPN broadcast, said Auburn was running through Tennessee like a hot knife through butter. It doesn’t get more demoralizing than that, and it looked like Tennessee was resigned to their fate and quit.
You win in the trenches, and lately, Tennessee has been poor in the most important area on the football field, and a lot of players are losing money in regard to their NFL draft stock.
The off week could not come at a more perfect time for a mentally fatigued and physically beat up Tennessee team, who just ran through a gauntlet of five straight opponents ranked in the top 11 and seven of their last eight against teams in the top 19.
The goals for Tennessee set at the beginning of the season for six wins and a bowl are still within reach for Butch Jones’ team, who host Vanderbilt and travel to Kentucky for the season finale. Each of those games are winnable, but if the play at the line of scrimmage does not improve, then nothing can be taken for granted.
Patrick’s a college football writer for Rant Sports and radio host on Sportstownchicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt and Google and email him at SchmidtPatrick@gmail.com for media inquiries.