By Jeff Shearer
NEW ORLEANS - Football's first rule for touchdown celebrations – act like you've been there before – was easy for Chandler Cox to follow. He has been there before. Plenty of times. Just not on this big of a stage.
"I was trying to celebrate," Cox said. "I just didn't know what to do. Just celebrate with my teammates because those are the guys who blocked for me. They're the reason I got in the end zone. I just kind of loved on them and thought, 'Man, this is awesome.'"
Cox's first Auburn touchdown gave the Tigers a 7-0 lead in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
"It was incredible," Cox said. "I didn't really think about it during the game, but afterward it was like, 'Man, I scored a touchdown in the Sugar Bowl.' It was my first college touchdown, so that was exciting. It was kind of a dream for me."
After Auburn won the toss and chose to receive, the Tigers drove 75 yards on 14 plays, including 12 runs. Cox capped the drive with a 3-yard scoring run.
"We said, 'If we get the toss, we're getting the ball, and we're going to score.' We did that," Cox said. "That was definitely a spark of the game. I wish we could have kept doing it. All of us wanted to win really badly. It's life."
Cox was a touchdown machine in high school in Apopka, Florida, where he ran for 21 scores and threw for 15 TDs in his final two seasons.
"I think the last time I scored was the state championship my senior year in the Citrus Bowl in Orlando," Cox said. "But to score in a big game like this, I was like, 'What do I do?' Celebration is not really big for me. Just love on my teammates. It was just a fun time for me and fun time for this team."
Auburn was unable to reach the end zone again until the game's final play. An arm injury to starting quarterback Sean White contributed to the offense's struggles.
"We're all hurting for him," Cox said. "He's a good player and a good leader for this team. When he's in there, we click."
Cox said he will room with incoming quarterback Jarrett Stidham, who practiced with the Tigers on campus in December after transferring.
"He's my roommate. He's a good kid. Got a good head on his shoulders," Cox said. "He's a great football player, but what stands out to me is the person he is. The way he just connects with everybody. He comes in the locker room. Everyone loves him already. He's going to be a good attribute to this team."
— Jeff Shearer (@jeff_shearer) January 3, 2017
Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @jeff_shearer