September 17, 2009

Putting the fun back in AU football

College football is a way of life for many Auburn students, alumni and fans.

Saturday's in the fall are spent tailgating at Jordan-Hare and watching the Tigers battle-it-out against other top teams.

The pre-game, Tiger Walk, eagle's flight, the ups-and-downs of an exciting SEC matchup and rolling Toomer's Corner after a big win are all part of the Auburn experience.

But for the past couple of years that experience had become more frustrating than fun for many Auburn fans. Last year's losing season coupled with an offense that got progressively worse since the 2004 undefeated season -- AU ranked 104th in total offense in 2008 -- had taken some of the joy out of watching Auburn play.

"It was very discouraging to watch them the last couple of years," said Auburn alumni and resident Eric Sanderson, who has attended nearly every home game for the past 20-plus years.

"You almost hoped the offense didn't turn it over or lose yards so they could punt it to the other team and let the defense take over."

But with the arrival of head coach Gene Chizik and offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, the outlook for the offense has made a 180-degree turn -- 86 points and 1,145 yards in two games has way of boosting the spirits of any forlorn fans.

Now, the gameday atmosphere and the anticipation for the next game are filled with more excitement.

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