Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
AUBURN, Ala. -- Chris Todd couldn’t have won a game like this for Auburn a year ago.
He didn’t have the strength in his throwing shoulder to do it. He didn’t have the confidence in his throwing shoulder to it. And most importantly, his teammates didn’t have the confidence in him to do it.
“He feels 100 percent comfortable with his shoulder, and we do, too. He knew he was bruised up last year. We knew he wasn’t right. But there are no problems this year, and he looks great.”
After gashing their first two opponents with the running game, the Tigers turned to the pass against the Mountaineers, who were determined early not to let Auburn run the ball.
Trailing 14-0, the Tigers and Todd never blinked.
“Coach (Chizik) always talks about impostors during a game, and we had to take them down with our will,” said Todd, who had surgery on his shoulder in December. “We had to react to the situation, and we always knew that we could come back from the deficit.”
Todd’s third touchdown of the night, a quick flip to Fannin that turned into an 82-yard score, tied the game at 27-27 midway through the third quarter.
And then Todd’s final touchdown pass, a 17-yarder to Darvin Adams on a third-and-8 play, put Auburn ahead to stay early in the fourth quarter.
Todd’s 284 passing yards were also a career high, and the Tigers needed every one of them because their running game netted just 100 yards on 41 carries.
“There were a lot of times the offense wasn’t moving the ball,” Chizik said. “But you never looked in his eyes and saw anything but confidence, and all he ever needed was another chance … and he came back and delivered.”
The truth is that Todd wasn’t completely healthy Saturday. He’d been fighting the flu the last couple of days.
But his arm and decision-making were razor-sharp.
“His eyes were puffy,” Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn said. “You could tell (he wasn’t feeling well). We were concerned two days ago. But he showed a lot of toughness.”