After a frustrating rain delay and a competitive game, Auburn pulled out a win against West Virginia Saturday, beating the Mountaineers 41-30.
“I’m really, really proud of our football team because we had to overcome more adversity than probably we did in either of the previous two weeks,” said head coach Gene Chizik. “It is a sign of a football team that is believing and coming together when you can overcome some of that adversity. We are growing as a football team. We didn’t play well tonight in so many ways, but we won the game, and at the end of the day, I am so proud of our guys because they had to fight and claw and scratch back to win it. That is who they were tonight.”
Chizik also credited the crowd with pumping up the team and said that he wishes he had 87,000 game balls to give to the fans.
Because of the monsoon-like conditions, Jordan-Hare Stadium became the headwaters of a river, but the crowd stuck it out, especially the students.
Once the game was under way, more than an hour after the scheduled 6:45 p.m. kickoff, the Tigers had a tough time getting points on the board.
Sophomore wide receiver Darvin Adams shined, catching six passes for 80 yards and scoring three touchdowns.
The first of his three touchdowns was with 5:16 left in the first quarter and was the only Tiger touchdown of the first quarter.
“Darvin has really come on,” Chizik said. “Again, he had another good night tonight. We were proud, not just him, but offensively when we need to have some big plays in there to get us back in the game and some momentum swings. He was obviously a part of a few of those.”
Adams had help from senior quarterback Chris Todd, who threw four touchdowns.
Throughout the game, Todd threw for 284 yards and completed 16-of-31 attempts, with one interception.
“We had some really good games running the ball for our last two games and West Virginia did a lot to take care of that,” Todd said. “Because of their rushing pressure, we were able to put the ball in the air and put up some points.”
Because of the wet field conditions, tackling was tough for the Tigers while the Mountaineers had an easier time.
“We had a lot of mistakes, but we finished,” said senior right tackle Jake Ricks. “We’ve got to work on eliminating all the missed tackles. We had a lot of chances to bring the quarterback down, but we weren’t able to do that.”
Auburn’s defense did, however, excel at creating turnoveres, intercepting West Virginia’s quarterback Jarrett Brown’s passes four times.
The defense forced six turnovers overall.
Junior linebacker Craig Stevens returned an interception 15-yards for a touchdown with 3:41 left in the fourth quarter.
Steven’s touchdown all but insured the Tigers’ 41-30 win over the Mountaineers.
“We knew they were going to run a screen during that series,” Stevens said. “I knew once I came off the blitz and I did not feel anyone pick me up that it was going to be a screen. He ended up lobbing the ball and I tipped it. It fell back in my hands, and I’ve always said that once it gets in my hands, I’m getting in the end zone.”
After three straight wins, the Tigers are full of confidence heading into the game against Ball State University. Auburn’s last meeting with Ball State in 2005 was a 63-3 Tiger win. Saturday’s game is set for a 6 p.m. kickoff and will be aired on Fox Sports South.