Auburn shockingly blew out Purdue 63-14 in the Music City Bowl breaking numerous program and bowl records along the way. Auburn entered the game as a 3.5 point favorite over Purdue and quickly stunned the college football world by unleashing havoc within 63 seconds of first touching the ball. Auburn and Purdue fans alike stared at the 56-7 halftime score in disbelief. Who was this Auburn team and where did they come from?
I'd spent the greater part of my Christmas holiday watching Auburn practice film and Purdue regular season game film. I predicted safely within the spread that Auburn would beat Purdue by a field goal: 24-21. Even then I thought Auburn's anemic offense would be lucky to even produce 24 points against a Power 5 non-conference opponent, but something strangely felt different.
I initially felt it in my gut on Friday evening December 14th when photos emerged on social media of the Auburn team practicing in the pouring rain. Gus Malzahn stood on the practice field soaked with a play sheet in hand and a look of stern conviction in his eyes. Malzahn's eyes were like those of a tiger's whose eyes were fixated upon it's next kill and it's kill was redemption.
Tigers LB Deshaun Davis described their 2 weeks of intense bowl practice as being "the best he'd ever had" in his Auburn career.
And it showed.
After only having the ball for 4:59, Auburn scored 42 points. Oh, and that was with 12 minutes still left in the 2nd quarter. Every time Auburn touched the ball the press box echoed with the sounds of frantic keyboards attempting to update stats and play-by-plays. The Tigers broke the Music City Bowl record for most points scored in the first half. They also now hold the record for most points scored in the first half of any bowl game.
It was "unbelievable" as the man sitting next to me said.
Here was a team that the college football world had left for dead after they lost at home to Tennessee, and the rumors swirling around the program at the conclusion of the regular season marked them as "doomed" and "toxic."
The Tigers had officially come undone. Showing absolutely no mercy, the Tigers converted twice on 4th down while they were ahead by 35. They were frustrated, they were infuriated, and they came to send a message. This was retribution for everyone who left them for dead.
People can say what they want to about Gus Malzahn, but it is no secret that Auburn's offense is a more cohesive unit when he is calling the shots. They can also say that Purdue is "overrated and lacks talent" but this is the same Purdue team that defeated 3 top 25 teams with a wide receiver in the 2019 Heisman conversation.
They played with their hair on fire and the Tigers showcased young talent in a dominant win over a reputable Power 5 team and are trending upward. Plain and Simple.