Saturday night wasn't a normal night though as the Tigers failed to score a touchdown despite several trips inside the red zone and Wes Byrum missed two field goals to keep this one interesting until the final minute. While they got the victory, Auburn's offensive players were less than pleased with the performance with senior wide receiver Robert Dunn at the top of the list.
"I know how good the offense is," Dunn said. "Three points is not Auburn. I was kind of disgusted. For us to come out and score three points as an offense, we've worked way too hard for that. I was kind of mad because of the situation. I think we're supposed to score 30 points a game. It didn't work that way so I guess things start getting to the offense. We pulled out a close victory."
For quarterback Chris Todd it was a game of hit and miss. Completing 14-26 passes for 154 yards without a turnover, Todd made some big throws down the field but also had some errant passes at times trying to stretch the defense. On several occasions the offense shot itself in the foot with penalties and turnovers, but overall Todd said he saw some things to build on despite scoring just three points.
"We definitely had some big plays and we had some called back," Todd said. "We showed that we can throw the ball down the field and hit some different guys. A lot of guys are making plays. The O-line is doing great. The receivers are doing a good job. It just seems like every play one guy is doing this and one guy is doing that. I still have to improve on a lot of stuff. Once we get it all together we'll get this thing rolling. Piece by piece we're putting it together right now."
One of the things that was different offensively Saturday night was the number of deep balls thrown by the Tigers. Off the goal line and in the middle of the field Todd launched several deep balls with one just off the fingertips of Rod Smith and completions to Montez Billings for 31 yards and Quindarius Carr for 28. Todd said that was something they wanted to focus on after they saw how the MSU defense was going to play Saturday night.
"We took some chances," Todd said. "We saw some opportunities to do that. They were biting on the flats a lot harder than they were last week. We took some chances and got some hits on that. We've got to do that and keep improving."
Those big plays combined with a solid rushing attack put a very slim silver lining on an otherwise forgettable night for the offense. Dunn said while it's frustrating, looking back it's easy to see why the struggle occurred and he believes it will be corrected.
"I think we're a lot closer (than the scoreboard showed)," Dunn said. "We started off too many drives first and 15 or first and 20. Then we would get third and five and get an offsides penalty. We can't have those kinds of mistakes in the SEC. We've just got to pick up the little things and the big things will come naturally."
Saved by Auburn's strong defensive performance, Dunn said instead of building a gap between the two units, Saturday night's game is one he thinks helped to build some team chemistry as the Tigers head into the tough test with LSU.
"The defense was spectacular tonight," Dunn said. "After all those big stops they came back to the offense and said ‘hey just pick it up and finish the game'. Nobody was fussing at anybody or pointing the finger. I think that was real good from the defense."