There are a number of reasons why and unfortunately no real answers for this team after a 17-7 defeat to Ole Miss, a game in which Auburn threw for 319 yards and had 394 yards of total offense but managed just seven points thanks to three interceptions. Turnovers, penalties, mental mistakes, lack of production on offense, poor tackling, coaching, playing, all have contributed to one of the most disappointing seasons in recent Auburn history and it all came together against Ole Miss.
"It's tough," Auburn junior tight end Tommy Trott says. "It's real tough. We've got to win some football games. Obviously we're struggling. I didn't think we played bad today. I thought we moved the ball. I thought the defense played good for the most part. You've just got to put points on the board.
"Things sure would be a lot easier if you could pinpoint something and we could correct it," he adds. "Right now it's a different thing every week. We've struggled to throw the ball some weeks. Today I think we tallied up a bunch of yards throwing the ball. We didn't run the ball as effectively. I wish it was easy to pinpoint something but we've got to get back on the practice field and try to salvage the season."
That begins this week with a game against FCS team UT-Martin for homecoming. What was once an afterthought game has suddenly become a huge game for the Tigers if they hope to go bowling following the season. Even then it would take a win over a ranked Georgia or Alabama team to make that a reality. Safety Zac Etheridge says because of that they are all equally as important from now on.
"It's definitely a must-win," Etheridge said. "Today was a must-win and we came up short. These last three games we just have to play with our backs to the wall and get a victory. We just have to go back to work next week and start making plays."
Trott agrees. With the hopes and dreams of a championship season now turned to dust, Auburn's chance to make something special happen comes down to a three week season.
"Hopefully the way our team is going to look at it is that we haven't played so good, but man we've got a chance against a really good Georgia team and a really good Alabama team to end the season on a high note and really get something going for next year," Trott says. "We need to end this season beating those teams. It would be a great statement and nearly salvage the season. We had high hopes for us as a team this year. If we win these last three games coming up you don't end the season feeling awful about your year."