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Vanderbilt 17, Auburn 13: Not as Close as the Score Indicates

Auburn should have lost this game by more than four points. So what do the Tigers do now?

Frederick Breedon

This game could have been worse. And perhaps that's the most damning statement about what has become the slow-motion unraveling of Gene Chizik's tenure in his fourth season on the Plains: A four-point loss to Vanderbilt is an example of a game that could have been worse.

After all, Vanderbilt fumbled the ball three times and turned it over on downs twice. Vanderbilt outgained Auburn by 170 yards. In fact, the Tigers only outgained Zac Stacy by 19 yards. Of course, that's saying a lot -- Stacy was once again all but the entire Vanderbilt offense, rushing for 169 yards on 27 carries and grabbing a couple of passes for 24 yards. But it's still a sign that one Vanderbilt player is better than Auburn's entire offense.

And that's the other side of this story. Despite the floundering record of the first half of the season, the Commodores are at least good enough to make a bowl if things break the right way. These teams are moving in different directions, and Auburn has a decision to make if they want to stop the slide.