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Auburn Flashback - Pat Dye's Last Stand


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During the Pat Dye era, Auburn developed an intense rivalry with Florida State. Though Auburn and FSU had played one another before 1983, the series wasn’t very competitive as Auburn held a 9-1-1 record. From 1983-1990, Auburn and FSU met seven times with Auburn winning 4 out of the seven meetings. The final regular-season meeting in the series occurred on October 20, 1990. The two teams would meet again during the 2013-14 season in the BCS National Title Game.

Auburn won the 1990 meeting, 20-17, and it would be Pat Dye’s final victory over a ranked opponent. Big things were expected of the 1990 Auburn Tigers, coming off three consecutive conference titles. Including their victory over FSU in 1990, Auburn began the season with a 6-0-1 record but finished the season with three losses during their final five games. Auburn finished the season with a respectable 8-3-1 record, and Florida State compiled a 10-2 record.

The Auburn Tigers fell behind FSU, 17-7 by halftime as the second quarter was the worst period of the Auburn defense during the 1990 season. Of all the points allowed during the season, 41 percent was surrendered during the second quarter. The defense stood their ground during the second half, enabling the offense to rally for the come-from-behind victory. The Tigers finished the 1990 season ranked No. 8 in total defense and No. 24 in scoring.

The Auburn offense was directed by redshirt freshman Stan White, who threw three interceptions during the game. Though White struggled against the Seminoles, he did make several vital completions to aid in the victory. The 1990 win over Florida State was the most significant victory of the season. Pat Dye’s record against ranked competition after October 20, 1990, was 0-8.

https://youtu.be/8CGHH1LXWyA

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This is about 3 years before I was old enough to really know what was going on with Auburn football.  I know all the Eric Ramsey stuff reared it’s head but were there other reasons the Tigers fell so hard in 91 & 92?  I have to believe Auburn was bringing in top level talent after the run they’d been on since Dye got there.  I’m sure Stan White bring young played a big part but I’d imagine the team would get better and not worse under his leadership?  Any insight is appreciated.

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1 hour ago, Win4AU said:

I’m sure Stan White bring young played a big part but I’d imagine the team would get better and not worse under his leadership?  Any insight is appreciated.

From what I can remember about the 91-92 seasons is that the Eric Ramsey story just created so much controversy that the team suffered from it and it took a huge toll on Coach Dye. The team just never looked the same. The Florida game in 90 really started the slide. Got our rears handed to us. I think it was more a question of heart than a talent drop. Their collective hearts weren't in it in my opinion. Man that seems like forever ago. I was at this FSU game. We sat just about even on the line where the fumblerooski happened. Great game. Had forgotten Herbert Casey, he was a weapon. 

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This is one of my favorite games to have attended. Bobby Bowden ran the “Fumblerooskie” and big Walter Tate came up with the ball. Ricky Sutton sacked the FSU QB for about a 20 yard loss. My seats were in the upper deck above the FSU fans and band. Was so sick of that chant by the end of the game.

If I remember correctly this was right after FSU decided to go to the ACC instead of joining the SEC. 

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2 hours ago, Win4AU said:

This is about 3 years before I was old enough to really know what was going on with Auburn football.  I know all the Eric Ramsey stuff reared it’s head but were there other reasons the Tigers fell so hard in 91 & 92?  I have to believe Auburn was bringing in top level talent after the run they’d been on since Dye got there.  I’m sure Stan White bring young played a big part but I’d imagine the team would get better and not worse under his leadership?  Any insight is appreciated.

The first factor to look at is recruiting during 1988-1990, which had dropped off. Only 39.7 percent of the players signed during those three years were considered highly touted (4-5 star) players. Of the ones that did sign, 41 percent started no more than one season during their collegiate career. Overall, 28.8% of the players signed during those three seasons saw no playing time. Dye was dealing with health issues and the Ramsey stuff was a dark cloud over the program. Auburn had enough talent to be competitive but lacked the quality depth it possessed during the mid to late 1980's. IMO, the offense lacked identity and was too conservative and there wasn't a dominating defense to mask the offensive issues.

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1 hour ago, StatTiger said:

The first factor to look at is recruiting during 1988-1990, which had dropped off. Only 39.7 percent of the players signed during those three years were considered highly touted (4-5 star) players. Of the ones that did sign, 41 percent started no more than one season during their collegiate career. Overall, 28.8% of the players signed during those three seasons saw no playing time. Dye was dealing with health issues and the Ramsey stuff was a dark cloud over the program. Auburn had enough talent to be competitive but lacked the quality depth it possessed during the mid to late 1980's. IMO, the offense lacked identity and was too conservative and there wasn't a dominating defense to mask the offensive issues.

Wonder what happened to recruiting?  Rise of Florida and Tennessee?  Did we lose a coordinator?  Maybe we can break out the AUFamily archive and see what @ellitor was saying.

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My senior year, and that team struggled most of the year...dodged bullet after bullet. We didn't exactly wallop Cal-State Fullerton in the opener, and that was a sign of things to come.

Got by what ended up being a decent Ole Miss team 24-10 in one of the hottest games I've ever attended. 1:30 kickoff on September 15 in Jackson...miserable.

Escaped with a tie against Tennessee. Good thing their FG kicker got the yips. I think it was the only time I recall Toomer's being rolled after a non-win.

Last-second FG to beat Louisiana Tech

Yanked one out of the grease against FSU...and returned the favor of their band playing "War Eagle" in 1989 by chopping them out of the stadium.

Beat MSU the next week by 1...blocked a PAT to keep from getting tied.

The next week was Florida, and the wheels came off...total obliteration.

Lost HC to Brett Favre-led Southern Miss.

Iron Bowl felt like running in quicksand all game...we handed them a TD (think it was about a 5-yard drive) and just could get nothing going offensively.

Gutted out a win against Indiana in the Peach Bowl on a cool, drizzly, foggy day at old Fulton County Stadium.

The Florida State game was absolutely the highlight of that season, but the cracks were starting to show, and it got worse in 1991 and 1992.

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27 minutes ago, SLAG-91 said:

 

Lost HC to Brett Favre-led Southern Miss.

and it got worse in 1991 and 1992.

I was looking earlier and Auburn lost to Southern Miss in back to back years.  I don’t know if Favre was the Qb both years but that’s unacceptable even in a bad year.  There were a couple other close games against teams that Auburn had no business playing close with.  Maybe Louisiana?

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4 hours ago, Win4AU said:

Wonder what happened to recruiting?  Rise of Florida and Tennessee?  Did we lose a coordinator?  Maybe we can break out the AUFamily archive and see what @ellitor was saying.

I was a Bama fan back then. I didn’t keep up with Auburn recruiting and can’t be a help here.

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i just ordered pat dye's after the arena. i hope it is half as good as his first book. i am stocking up on books in case they want us to keep our behinds at home again. so "What it means to be a tiger" pat dye and auburns greatest players AND "game of my life auburn tigers"....memorable stories of tigers football are both in my cart waiting for me to pull the trigger. anyone got any input on those books? i know this goes in market place but by the time someone see's it i will have already moved on one way or the other. i appreciate any comments.

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19 hours ago, SLAG-91 said:

Got by what ended up being a decent Ole Miss team 24-10 in one of the hottest games I've ever attended. 1:30 kickoff on September 15 in Jackson...miserable.

This. I was at that game

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7 hours ago, aubiefifty said:

i just ordered pat dye's after the arena. i hope it is half as good as his first book. i am stocking up on books in case they want us to keep our behinds at home again. so "What it means to be a tiger" pat dye and auburns greatest players AND "game of my life auburn tigers"....memorable stories of tigers football are both in my cart waiting for me to pull the trigger. anyone got any input on those books? i know this goes in market place but by the time someone see's it i will have already moved on one way or the other. i appreciate any comments.

Where did you find a copy?

 

7 hours ago, aubiefifty said:

i just ordered pat dye's after the arena. i hope it is half as good as his first book. i am stocking up on books in case they want us to keep our behinds at home again. so "What it means to be a tiger" pat dye and auburns greatest players AND "game of my life auburn tigers"....memorable stories of tigers football are both in my cart waiting for me to pull the trigger. anyone got any input on those books? i know this goes in market place but by the time someone see's it i will have already moved on one way or the other. i appreciate any comments.

 

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AMAZON. they had a few copies. the other two they have but are like right at five bucks a piece. the after the arena is full price which i have no problem with. it was sold out for a long time.

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On 7/15/2020 at 3:27 PM, gr82be said:

From what I can remember about the 91-92 seasons is that the Eric Ramsey story just created so much controversy that the team suffered from it and it took a huge toll on Coach Dye. The team just never looked the same. The Florida game in 90 really started the slide. Got our rears handed to us. I think it was more a question of heart than a talent drop. Their collective hearts weren't in it in my opinion. Man that seems like forever ago. I was at this FSU game. We sat just about even on the line where the fumblerooski happened. Great game. Had forgotten Herbert Casey, he was a weapon. 

Herbert scored our only TD in that steaming pile of a game in Gainesville.

I didn't know until I saw it later on TV how close Von Wyl was to missing that last FG against FSU...just tucked it inside the left upright. This was the last year with the wider goalposts, and thank goodness for that.

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Remember this game vividly.  I was in middle school and all week all us AU folks heard from the bams was how bad FSU was going to thump us. We spent the next week doing a mock chop in the halls...it was glorious...of course, bama had the last laugh unfortunately.

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On 7/16/2020 at 5:53 PM, aubiefifty said:

AMAZON. they had a few copies. the other two they have but are like right at five bucks a piece. the after the arena is full price which i have no problem with. it was sold out for a long time.

I'm good at $5.  $25 seems a little steep.  Thanks for the info.  I'll keep an eye out for it. 

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On 7/15/2020 at 6:00 PM, StatTiger said:

The first factor to look at is recruiting during 1988-1990, which had dropped off. Only 39.7 percent of the players signed during those three years were considered highly touted (4-5 star) players. Of the ones that did sign, 41 percent started no more than one season during their collegiate career. Overall, 28.8% of the players signed during those three seasons saw no playing time. Dye was dealing with health issues and the Ramsey stuff was a dark cloud over the program. Auburn had enough talent to be competitive but lacked the quality depth it possessed during the mid to late 1980's. IMO, the offense lacked identity and was too conservative and there wasn't a dominating defense to mask the offensive issues.

Stat, I'm immediately wondering what our % of highly touted guys was before 1988. Also, how the heck do you get recruiting data that far back? I'm a junky when it comes to those sort of numbers, so any help for my addiction would be most appreciated. 🤣

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On 7/15/2020 at 7:49 PM, Win4AU said:

Wonder what happened to recruiting?  Rise of Florida and Tennessee?  Did we lose a coordinator?  Maybe we can break out the AUFamily archive and see what @ellitor was saying.

I was wondering this too. Seems like we must have recruited well beforehand and the decline Stat mentions were before Ramsey. Why did we drop? Pat Dye was ad, so he probably had a ton of input on athletics and academic requirements, so probably nothing related to that. But I dunno....

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14 minutes ago, twilli13 said:

I was wondering this too. Seems like we must have recruited well beforehand and the decline Stat mentions were before Ramsey. Why did we drop? Pat Dye was ad, so he probably had a ton of input on athletics and academic requirements, so probably nothing related to that. But I dunno....

Maybe he was too busy?

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On 7/15/2020 at 6:49 PM, Win4AU said:

Wonder what happened to recruiting?  Rise of Florida and Tennessee?  Did we lose a coordinator?  Maybe we can break out the AUFamily archive and see what @ellitor was saying.

I’m not sure on the recruiting Backstory, but I know Stallings was setting a new tone at Bama and Spurrier was heating up at Florida. Also, I remember after a couple of tough losses in 91 and 92 Dye talking about how much talent he had but how young it was.  He may have been right as TB came in and reeled off 20 straight wins with that roster. 

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11 hours ago, Gowebb11 said:

I’m not sure on the recruiting Backstory, but I know Stallings was setting a new tone at Bama and Spurrier was heating up at Florida. Also, I remember after a couple of tough losses in 91 and 92 Dye talking about how much talent he had but how young it was.  He may have been right as TB came in and reeled off 20 straight wins with that roster. 

Dye commented on their talent level in the locker room after Auburn defeated Alabama in 1993. He states the roster was not loaded but there was enough talent to be very competitive. I think our starting 22 from 1991-1992 was decent but Auburn did not have the quality of depth they had during 1986-1989. At the time of their signing, the 1991 class was not rated very high but ended up being one of Dye's best classes. Auburn had 10 All-SEC players and 4 All-Americans from the 1991 class.

 

  Here is the primary list of contributors from the 1991 Class.

 

James Bostic - RB

Anthony Harris -LB

Matt Hawkins - PK

Calvin Jackson - CB

Ramon Luster - DE

Dell McGee - CB

Andre Miller - DE

Harold Marrow - RB/FB

Patrick Nix - QB

Brian Robinson - S

Shannon Robique - C

Frank Sanders - WR

Chris Shellings - CB / S

Jason Taylor - OL

Gary Walker - DT

 

  Not taking anything away from the 1993 team. IMO, they were not a great team but a team that rose to the occasion to play great. Strength of schedule was Auburn's best friend that year. Auburn played only two teams out of eleven that finished the season with a winning record. I don't think we will ever see that again.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, StatTiger said:

  Not taking anything away from the 1993 team. IMO, they were not a great team but a team that rose to the occasion to play great. Strength of schedule was Auburn's best friend that year. Auburn played only two teams out of eleven that finished the season with a winning record. I don't think we will ever see that again.

 

 

 

Auburn has a history of not fielding the most talented teams but coming together to play as a team.  2010 is a great example.  Obviously Cam was a big part of that year but the rest of the team grew stronger and stronger together as the season progressed.

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Was watching the history of the SEC this weekend and it was fascinating to see the footage from the 80s.  I had no idea a player died from heat exhaustion.  The majority of the 80s episode was about Auburn and the revival of the Iron Bowl.  

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