Game 317: Mercer @ Auburn

Mercer @ Auburn

Concern had been brewing on The Plains as the 2022 season neared. A painfully mediocre 2021 campaign was followed by a loss of many players through the transfer portal, the loss of key members of the coaching staff, and negative allegations against head coach Bryan Harsin causing Auburn to launch an internal investigation.

Lord, have Mercer.

Despite many prognostications that have Auburn in the cellar of the SEC West, no one had concerns about the Mercer Bears coming to town. It had to be a relief to open with an FCS school that posed little threat. Auburn needed a win on many levels.

On a sunny, but muggy day, thousands of fans gathered for the Tiger Walk to see their team make their way in Jordan-Hare Stadium. The herd of Auburn faithful then proceeded into the stadium for the season opener. Auburn had control of this game from the moment the pregame eagle flight concluded with that majestic bird landing on the midfield logo. The Tigers were not going to allow the tumultuous offseason to affect their on-field performance. 

The Tigers mainly kept the ball on the ground as Tank Bigsby took control. In fact, nine Auburn players recorded rushing yards. With a little over one minute left in the third quarter, lightning had been detected nearby forcing the stadium to empty for an 87 minute delay. Only a few thousand remained to witness the game’s resumption which began with Bigsby scoring from 39 yards out on the first play after the delay.

As Auburn fans rolled the trees at Toomer’s Corner after the 42-16 victory, many did so with a lower energy. Perhaps it was the stormy weather combined with the realization that the games ahead would pose significantly more intense challenges. But, opening with a solid win was a great start to an impending season drowning in question marks.

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