NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Auburn charged out of the locker room and down the field, finally showing signs of life on offense at the start of the second half.
Then the Tigers regressed. A sack followed a fumble as Auburn reverted to its old ways in a 17-13 loss to Vanderbilt on Saturday.
The failed opening drive foreshadowed the rest of the second half. The Tigers (1-6, 0-5 Southeastern Conference) failed to score a touchdown in the fourth quarter for the eighth straight game. As a result, they're off to their worst start since 1952, when Shug Jordan was in his second year as coach.
After hoisting the national championship in 2010, Gene Chizik's future with the Tigers could be in jeopardy. With its fourth straight loss, Auburn is the first team to start a season 1-6 within two years of winning a national title.
"This was another example of us having a chance at the end of the game to win the game and we couldn't close the door on it," Chizik said. "Again, we fell short. . At some point in time we're going to have to figure out how to get the game at that point and win it, and we're obviously struggling with that."
Auburn, the SEC's worst-scoring offense, failed to sustain drives, converting just 2 of 15 third downs and allowing five sacks.
The Tigers' 10 first-half points came off turnovers by Vanderbilt (3-4, 2-3). Tre Mason scored Auburn's only touchdown on a 2-yard run for a brief 10-7 lead late in the first half. The Commodores tied it 81 seconds later with a field goal heading into halftime.
Out of the break, the Tigers marched to Vanderbilt's 45 in four plays and appeared to be in rhythm. But freshman Jonathan Wallace, inserted in the Wildcat formation, fumbled and the ball went off the foot of a Vanderbilt defender. The Tigers recovered but lost 10 yards on the play. Quarterback Clint Moseley was sacked, which led to a punt.