Somewhere in the world, a lesser fan, sitting on his couch waiting for the last games of the day to get started said to himself, "well that rainstorm down in Auburn will just kill the atmosphere of that game. I'll bet this will really play into West Virginia's hands and take the crowd out of the game." But somewhere in section 25--and 26, and 27, and all the way back to section 18--15,000 Auburn students showed how much they really do believe in Auburn. It started with just a few drops, but our spirits never dampened. And when the bottom really dropped out, that only fueled the party. It seemed like it would never stop, but no one left. And the harder it rained, the louder that student section got.
Meanwhile, 72,000 older, and more sane Auburn fans, rode the storm out in the jammed but dry concourses under the stadium. Some had four or even six hour drives to make after the game ended, but they toughed it out.
And when the team finally took the field, imagine how they felt when they looked up and saw all 87,451, still there, still loud, still pulling for their Tigers. Coach Chizik knows what that meant to the team and said he wished there were 87,000 game balls to hand out.
That was absolutely the most fun I've had as a student since the 2006 Florida game. When the game finally got underway, it was every bit as dramatic as the pregame. When the Auburn D came out flat in the first quarter, we were stunned and worried. Is this what we waited an hour in a hurricane for? Surely this team wasn't going to lay down and give up like last years team. Of course they won't! So we stuck around a little longer, and Chizik, Malzahn, and the boys in navy blue and burnt orange gave us a better reason to believe than they'd given us the two weeks before--or all offseason--that this was a different Auburn team from last year. They showed toughness. They did not say, "here we go again" and accept defeat. And for three and a half quarters, they fought back.
It wasn't always pretty. Noel Devine, Jarrett Brown and an excellent Mountaineer gameplan picked out our weaknesses, exploited them, and hit us in the mouth early. And they continued to land blows until the third quarter. But the team didn't back down. Eventually, the pressure on Brown forced him into mistakes. And Auburn capitalized.
The West F Virginia defense also played a great game, taking away Malzahn's/Auburn's beloved running game. How did the Tigers respond? Instead of doing what last year's staff called "sticking to the gameplan", Auburn took what the defense gave us, and put it in the air. WFVU dared us to beat them through the air, and in several pressure filled drives where everyone was saying "this drive is critical" Todd and the Tigers delivered.
In the end, we got beat in the X's and O's department. We were out-gained by 100 yards. But when it counted, Auburn made their own luck, and showed guts, toughness, and resolve. And that's a bigger reason to believe in this Auburn team than any other.
So bring on the rain! It may not turn out as a win every time, but I know that Auburn is going to stick it out and leave it all in the stadium on gameday; in the stands AND on the field, and that makes me damn proud to be an Auburn Tiger.