Complete Game Notes in PDF Format
Auburn hosts Southern Miss Saturday in the first meeting between the schools since 1993. Both teams are coming off big victories in their respective season openers, as Auburn shut out Louisiana-Monroe, 34-0, and Southern Miss throttled Louisiana-Lafayette, 51-21.
* Auburn leads the all-time series with Southern Miss 16-5, but the last four games played in the series were decided by a total of just 22 points.
* Auburn has won 17 of its last 20 games played during the month of September and is 31-7 in the month under Tommy Tuberville.
* Auburn's shutout in the season opener against ULM was the ninth shutout by the Tigers during the Tommy Tuberville era.
* Nineteen players played in their first collegiate game at Auburn during the season opener against ULM, and six players made their first career starts.
* Rodgeriqus Smith needs four receptions to move into the top 10 on Auburn's career receptions list.
* Brad Lester needs 48 yards rushing and Ben Tate needs 90 yards rushing to become the 22nd and 23rd backs in Auburn history to amass 1,500 career rushing yards.
* Auburn snapped the nation's longest streak without a punt return for a touchdown when Robert Dunn scored on a 66-yard return against ULM.
* Under Tommy Tuberville, Auburn is 45-0 when scoring 30 or more points in a game. Auburn has won 50 consecutive games when scoring 30 or more points in a game.
* Auburn has scored in 64 consecutive games since being shut out in the 2003 season opener.
* Auburn ranks tied for fourth in the nation for most graduates on its roster with eight.
* Auburn is currently ranked 10th in the Associated Press top 25 poll and 11th in the USA Today coaches poll. This season marked the sixth straight season that Auburn was nationally-ranked in the preseason polls, and the third time with a top-10 AP ranking.
* Now in its 69th year as home to the Auburn football team, Jordan-Hare Stadium is the nation's ninth-largest on-campus stadium with a capacity of 87,451 fans. The Tigers are 262-64-7 (.797) at Jordan-Hare Stadium, including a 48-10 (.828) mark since 2000.
* Tommy Tuberville is in his 10th season at Auburn in 2008 and his 14th as a head coach in the Southeastern Conference. Tuberville has the third-longest tenure in the SEC behind Phillip Fulmer of Tennessee and Steve Spurrier of South Carolina, both of whom are in their 16th season in the SEC.
SOUTHERN MISS QUICK HITTERS
Head coach Larry Fedora is in his first season as head coach at USM after serving the previous three seasons as an assistant coach at Oklahoma State, and the three prior to that as an assistant at Florida ... The Golden Eagles opened the season with a 51-21 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette ... USM rolled up an impressive 633 yards of offense in the opener, including 427 on the ground, with both totals ranking third nationally ... RB Damion Fletcher ran for 222 yards and two scores at Louisiana-Lafayette, while LB Gerald McRath led the defense with 15 tackles ... Fletcher and McRath were named Conference USA's Preseason Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, respectively ... The Golden Eagles have six starters returning on offense and four on defense from last year's team that finished 7-6 overall, 5-3 in C-USA, and played in the Papajohns.com Bowl ... Southern Miss was picked to finish third in the East in the C-USA preseason poll.
* Southern Miss defensive line coach Art Kaufman was the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Ole Miss from 1994-99, which included Tommy Tuberville's stint as head coach at Ole Miss from 1995-98. Auburn assistants Don Dunn, Eddie Gran, Greg Knox, Hugh Nall and Terry Price were also part of that staff.
* Auburn defensive end Michael Goggans and Southern Miss quarterback Martevious Young were teammates at Benjamin Russell High School in Alexander City.
ALABAMA GOLDEN EAGLES
USM has 14 players on its roster from the state of Alabama: RB Josh Barton (Mobile), OL Micah Brown (Troy), DL Andrew Burns (Columbia), OL Jimmy Driskell (Semmes), DL Logan Hickman (Gulf Shores), LS Andy Hill (Spanish Fort), DL Cordarro Law (Whitfield), OL Ryan McKee (Spanish Fort), DB Cameron O'Neal (Citronelle), WR Freddie Parham (Margaret), DL Eric Phillips (Birmingham), WR William Spight (Montgomery), WR Justin Whiddon (Dothan) and QB Todd Wilson (Mobile).
Auburn has three players on its team from the state of Mississippi: DL Andre Wadley (Hernando), OL Chaz Ramsey (Madison) and DB Drew Cole (Picayune).
AUBURN-SOUTHERN MISS SERIES HISTORY
Auburn and leads the all-time series with Southern Miss 16-5, but the two teams have not met since 1993. The teams played four straight close games from 1990-93, with each team winning two. Southern Miss won in 1990 (14-12) and 1991 (10-9), before Auburn earned victories in the last two meetings in 1992 (16-8) and 1993 (35-24). The last 18 meetings have all taken place in Auburn, dating back to 1959.
AGAINST CONFERENCE USA
Auburn has an all-time record of 42-30-6 against the 12 schools that currently make up Conference USA, with 58 of those 78 games coming against Southern Miss (16-5) and Tulane (14-17-6). The Tigers have also played against Houston (5-1), SMU (0-3), Rice (0-2), Memphis (0-2), UAB (1-0), East Carolina (3-0) and UCF (3-0).
The only C-USA teams that Auburn has played during the Tommy Tuberville era are UCF (28-10 victory in 1999) and Tulane (38-13 victory in 2006).
ON THIS DATE
Auburn has only played twice previously on Sept. 6, with the last occurrence happening in 2003 when the Tigers fell at Georgia Tech, 17-3. Auburn also played on Sept. 6 in 1986, defeating UT-Chattanooga, 42-14, in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Auburn is 141-46-5 (.747) all-time in the month of September, including a 31-7 mark under Tommy Tuberville. The Tigers have won 17 of their last 20 games played in September, and are currently on a two-game winning streak during the month.
Six players made their first career starts in the season opener against Louisiana-Monroe, and 19 players played in their first collegiate games at Auburn. Starting for the first time were DL Mike Blanc, RB John Douglas, DE Michael Goggans, OL Byron Isom, S Mike McNeil and WR James Swinton. Douglas played in his first collegiate game, as did WR Darvin Adams, WR Quindarius Carr, DB Drew Cole, OL Jared Cooper, H Chas Crofoot, P Clinton Durst, RB Ryan Hastie, LB Adam Herring, DB D'Antoine Hood, WR Philip Pierre-Louis, LB Spencer Pybus, DL Jomarcus Savage, DB Mike Slade, RB Eric Smith, TE Vance Smith, DB Christian Thompson, DB Neiko Thorpe and QB Chris Todd.
Auburn shut out Louisiana-Monroe in the season opener, 34-0, for its first shutout since a 27-0 win against Arkansas State on Nov. 4, 2006. It marked the ninth shutout by Auburn during the Tommy Tuberville era, and was the first shutout in a season opener since a 31-0 victory over ULM in the 2004 opener.
Entering the season, Auburn had the nation's longest streak for most games played without a punt return for a touchdown (blocked punts excluded), which spanned 144 consecutive games. That streak came to an end on the first punt return of 2008, when Robert Dunn streaked 66 yards for touchdown, which was the first for Auburn since 1996 when Dunn was just 10 years old. It was the 10th-longest punt return in Auburn history.
SCORING FROM ALL SIDES
Auburn achieved a rare feat during the opener against Louisiana-Monroe, scoring touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams. The Tigers scored on a fumble return for a touchdown by Michael Goggans on their first defensive play, then added a punt return for a score by Robert Dunn later in the first quarter. When Brad Lester rushed for a touchdown in the third quarter, it marked the first time Auburn scored touchdowns in all three facets of the game since during a 73-7 victory over ULM in 2003.
CLIMBING THE CHARTS
Senior Rodgeriqus Smith grabbed five passes during the season opener against Louisiana-Monroe, moving him in to 13th place in school history with 89 career catches. Smith needs just four more catches to move into the school's top 10, and 11 catches to become just the seventh player in school history with 100 career receptions.
MORE SEASON OPENER NOTES
Auburn improved to 89-25-2 all-time in season-opening games with a 34-0 victory over ULM, including a 7-3 mark under Tommy Tuberville ... Since 1977, Auburn is now 22-5 in season openers against non-conference opponents ... Auburn's 89 season-opening victories is tied for second best in the SEC, just one behind Alabama.
IN THE POLLS
For the sixth consecutive year, Auburn was nationally ranked to begin the season. The Tigers are currently ranked 10th in the Associated Press poll, and 11th in the USA Today coaches poll.
This season marked the first time since the 1986-91 seasons that Auburn was ranked at the start of six consecutive seasons. The Tigers, at No. 10, were also ranked in the top 10 of the AP Preseason Poll for the third time since 2003. The Tigers were the preseason No. 6 team in 2003 and ranked No. 4 in the initial 2006 poll.
Now in its 69th year as home to the Auburn football team, Jordan-Hare Stadium is the nation's ninth-largest on-campus stadium, with a capacity of 87,451 fans. The Tigers are 262-64-7 (.797) at Jordan-Hare Stadium, including a 48-10 (.828) mark since 2000. AU went 7-0 at home in both 2000 and 2004, and posted a 6-1 mark in 2005.
TWENTY MILLION SERVED
Auburn surpassed the 20 million mark in all-time total attendance at Jordan-Hare Stadium during the game against Louisiana-Monroe. The Tigers, now in their 69th season at Jordan-Hare Stadium, have drawn 20,073,664 fans. It took 51 seasons for Auburn to draw its first 10 million fans, but took just 18 more to draw the second 10 million. The Tigers surpassed 10 million fans during the fourth home game of the 1990 season - a 56-6 victory over Vanderbilt on Oct. 13.
TUBERVILLE IN TENTH SEASON
Tommy Tuberville enters his tenth season at Auburn in 2008 and his 14th as a head coach in the Southeastern Conference. Tuberville has the third-longest tenure in the SEC (second-longest active streak) behind Phillip Fulmer of Tennessee and Steve Spurrier of South Carolina, who will each coach his 16th season in the league this year.
Tuberville has amassed a record of 81-33 in nine previous seasons at Auburn and an overall mark of 106-53. He has led the Tigers to eight straight bowl appearances.
Tuberville is fourth all-time at Auburn in wins, and is the fourth-longest tenured coach in school history.
TUBERVILLE'S TOP 10
In recognition of Tommy Tuberville's 10th season at Auburn, Auburn fans had the opportunity to vote for the 10 biggest wins during the Tommy Tuberville era this summer on www.auburntigers.com. More than 4,500 votes were cast, and the results were as follows:
No. 10 Auburn 17, Alabama 10 11/24/07
No. 9 Auburn 34, Tennessee 10 10/2/04
No. 8 Auburn 7, LSU 3 9/16/06
No. 7 Auburn 28, Alabama 18 11/19/05
No. 6 Auburn 17, Alabama 7 11/23/02
No. 5 Auburn 31, Georgia 30 11/12/05
No. 4 Auburn 27, Florida 17 10/14/06
No. 3 Auburn 20, Florida 17 9/29/07
No. 2 Auburn 10, LSU 9 9/18/04
No. 1 Auburn 23, Florida 20 10/13/01
NEW LOOKS ON "O" AND "D"
Both the Auburn offense and defense have new looks this season, as the Tigers have new offensive and defensive coordinators. Tony Franklin joined the squad as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach prior to the Chick-fil-A Bowl last season, and in just eight practices, installed a portion of his spread offense and helped Auburn amass 423 yards of offense on 90 plays during a 23-20 overtime victory over Clemson.
Paul Rhoads joined the staff as defensive coordinator/secondary coach in January after eight seasons in that position at Pittsburgh. His Panthers ranked fifth nationally in total defense (297.7) and third in pass defense (167.3) in 2007.
OFFENSE BY THE NUMBERS
Auburn's offense needs to fill the void left by three-year starting quarterback Brandon Cox, but the Tigers still return nearly all of their leading rushers and receivers, as well as players responsible for more than 90 percent of their points scored in 2007.
Category 2007 Ret. Percent
Passing Yards 2,317 145 6.3%
Rushing Yards 2,040 2,099 102.9%
Receptions 204 168 82.4%
Receiving Yards 2,317 1,873 80.8%
Scoring 315 1284 90.2%
Touchdowns 38 33 86.8%
Total Offense 4,357 2,244 51.5%
All-Purpose Yards 5,809 5,087 87.6%
OFFENSIVE LINE RETURNS INTACT
The offensive line was a concern for Auburn entering the 2007 season after the Tigers lost four senior starters from the 2006 squad. But three true freshmen joined a pair of juniors in the starting lineup beginning with the season's fourth game, and the Tigers went on to win eight of their last 10 contests. Inexperience is far from an issue this season as the entire group returns for 2008, although sophomore guard Chaz Ramsey has been battling a back injury. Senior center Jason Bosley and senior guard Tyronne Green anchor the group after starting every game last year, while sophomore Lee Ziemba switches from right tackle to left tackle after also staring every game in 2007 as a true freshmen. Sophomore Ryan Pugh, who started the final 10 games last year, will switch from left to right tackle, and junior Byron Isom appears poised to move into the other guard slot if Ramsey is unable to start.
RUNNING BACK U.
Auburn looks to continue its tradition of producing high-caliber running backs, as the top four ground gainers from last season return in 2008. Junior Ben Tate led the team with 903 yards rushing, while senior Brad Lester had 530 yards in just seven games for a team-leading average of 75.7 per contest. Sophomore Mario Fannin switched to wide receiver after totaling 448 yards on the ground last year, while sophomore quarterback Kodi Burns added 203 yards rushing.
Lester ranks 23rd in Auburn history with 1,452 career yards rushing, while Tate is 25th with 1,410. They are the first pair of Auburn running backs to enter a season with more than 1,000 yards rushing each since Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown in 2004.
GONE ON D
Defensively in 2008, Auburn is replacing four starters from last year's squad that led the SEC and ranked sixth in the nation in scoring defense (16.9), including two interior linemen and two members of the secondary. Defensive tackles Josh Thompson and Pat Sims combined for 104 tackles including 16 for losses, while safety Eric Brock and cornerback Patrick Lee ranked fifth and sixth on the team with 59 and 55 tackles, respectively. In addition, NFL draft picks Quentin Groves and Jonathan Wilhite were seniors in 2007.
However, three of the top four leading tacklers return in sophomore safety Zac Etheridge (65), senior linebacker Chris Evans (64) and junior cornerback Jerraud Powers (63). Powers also shared the team lead with four interceptions.
Other key returners include juniors Antonio Coleman and Sen'Derrick Marks on the defensive line. Coleman had team highs of 18.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks, while Marks has been named to several preseason All-America teams.
Other returning starters are junior linebacker Tray Blackmon and sophomore linebacker Craig Stevens.
In addition to ranking sixth in the nation in scoring defense, the 2007 Auburn defense also ranked sixth nationally in total defense (297.9) and pass defense (173.2).
DURST JOINS YOUNG STABLE OF KICKERS
Sophomore Ryan Shoemaker was a first-team preseason All-SEC selection this season after averaging 42.4 yards per punt last year, but was supplanted as the starting punter by redshirt freshman Clinton Durst, who burst onto the scene in the spring and was the Special Teams MVP of the A-Day game after averaging 48.3 yards on three punts. Durst averaged 43.4 yards per kick against ULM with two punts of over 50 yards and four placed inside the 20-yard line.
Auburn's group of young kickers also includes kicker Wes Byrum, who led Auburn in scoring last year with 86 points, including 17 field goals which is tied for third most in a single season in school history. He made game-winning field goals in the closing seconds at Florida and at Arkansas.
In addition, sophomore Patrick Tatum averaged 43.4 yards on 16 punts last season while Shoemaker was out with an injury, and sophomore Morgan Hull has also handled the kickoff duties part-time in each of the last two seasons.
AUBURN BY THE NUMBERS
The Tigers return 46 lettermen from last season, including 22 on offense, 20 on defense and four specialists. Auburn returns eight starters on offense and seven on defense.
Auburn's current roster of 113 players includes 16 seniors, 18 juniors, 35 sophomores, 15 redshirt freshmen and 29 freshmen. The underclassmen (79) represent 69.9 percent of the Tigers' roster.
A number of walk-ons joined the program after the first day of classes on August 18.
14 AND COUNTING
In his 14th year as a head coach, Tommy Tuberville has five assistant coaches who have been with him all 14 years. That group includes: defensive tackles coach Don Dunn, running backs/special teams coach Eddie Gran, wide receivers coach Greg Knox, offensive line coach Hugh Nall and defensive ends coach Terry Price.
THE SENIOR CLASS
Head Coach Tommy Tuberville has a senior class that includes 16 players at Auburn in 2008. The Tigers' group of 16 seniors is the fourth most during the Tuberville era. The largest group of seniors was 21 in 2006, while the 2004 group had 18 and last year's squad had 17. During Tuberville's tenure, Auburn's other senior classes have consisted of: 15 in 2005, 13 in 2003, 15 in 2002, 10 in 2001, 14 in 2000 and 14 in 1999.
The 2008 seniors include: C Jason Bosley, RB Tristan Davis, DT Tez Doolittle, WR Robert Dunn, LB Chris Evans, OL Tyronne Green, LB Courtney Harden, TE Bryan Harris, FB Ryan Hastie, LB Merrill Johnson, RB Brad Lester, WR Charles Olatunji, DS Robert Shiver, WR Rodgeriqus Smith, WR James Swinton and DB Jonathan Vickers.
GOING FOR SIX
The 2008 season marks the third straight year that Auburn has had a sixth-year senior on the squad due to injury. Tez Doolittle is back for his second stint as a senior after missing last year with an achilles injury. In 2007, Cole Bennett was a sixth-year senior after breaking his ankle during the third game of the 2006 season. David Irons was granted a sixth year of eligibility for 2006 after suffering a season-ending knee injury in the 2004 preseason.
Of Auburn's 16 seniors, seven have seen time in at least 30 games during their careers. Courtney Harden leads the group, having played in 35 of a possible 39 games over the past four seasons, and is followed closely by Merrill Johnson (34), Rodgeriqus Smith (34), Robert Dunn (33), Tyronne Green (31), Brad Lester (31) and Chris Evans (30). Green, Smith and Robert Shiver are the only three members of the senior class to have played in all 27 games over the past three seasons.
Senior Rodgeriqus Smith and junior Sen'Derrick Marks currently own the longest staring streaks on the squad, as both players have started all 27 games over the past three seasons. No other player has a starting streak that dates back to the 2006 season.
Four other players have started all 14 games dating back to the start of the 2007 season. Seniors Jason Bosley and Tyronne Green, junior Jerraud Powers and sophomore Lee Ziemba have all started every game since last season.
A number of players have changed positions from last year entering the 2008 season.
Junior Sen'Derrick Marks moved back to defensive tackle, where he started all 13 games as a freshman before starting every game as a defensive end last year.
Sophomore Mario Fannin, who played running back last season, will split out as a wide receiver in Auburn's new spread offense this year.
Sophomore tackles Lee Ziemba and Ryan Pugh switched spots on the offensive line, with Pugh moving to the right side and Ziemba to the left.
Junior Gabe McKenzie, who had played tight end during each of his first three seasons at Auburn, switched to defensive end Aug. 19 during preseason camp.
WINNING THE CLOSE ONES
Auburn has had a knack for winning close ball games since Tommy Tuberville arrived as the Tigers' head coach. In his 10 seasons at the helm, Auburn is 28-13 in games decided by seven points or less and has won 16 of its last 21.
NO SHUTOUTS ALLOWED
Auburn has scored in 64 consecutive games, which is the second-longest streak in school history. The Tigers have not been shut out since a 23-0 loss to USC to open the 2003 season. It will be a while before Auburn could challenge the school record. The Tigers scored in 149 straight games from Oct. 4, 1980 through Nov. 14, 1992.
FIFTH-YEAR SENIORS GO FOR NEW MARK
Auburn's group of fifth-year seniors has a chance to match last year's fifth-year seniors as the only classes to win 50 games in five years. With 42 wins in the previous four seasons, the Tigers need eight wins to reach 50 victories over the past five seasons, and nine wins to surpass that class as the winningest five-year class in school history. Members of the squad that have been at Auburn since 2004 are Tristan Davis, Tez Doolittle, Tyronne Green, Courtney Harden, Merrill Johnson, Brad Lester, James Swinton and Jonathan Vickers.
Auburn began the season with eight graduates on the roster.
The Tiger graduates include: OL Jason Bosley (finance), RB Tristan Davis (criminology), DL Tez Doolittle (criminology), OL Tyronne Green (criminology), LB Courtney Harden (criminology), LB Merrill Johnson (criminology), WR Rodgeriqus Smith (business administration) and WR James Swinton (public administration).
Listed are the top 10 programs in terms of number of players who have completed their bachelor's degrees prior to the start of the 2008 season.
1. Miami (Fla.) 13
2. Boston College 10
Virginia Tech 10
4. Auburn 8
7. Arizona State 7
Ohio State 7
Penn State 7
UNDER THE LIGHTS AT JORDAN-HARE
Auburn's season-opening victory against Louisiana-Monroe continued the trend of Auburn being tough to beat in night games at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Tigers have accumulated a record of 15-2 since the 2000 season in home games starting at 6 p.m. or later. That stretch includes a 4-0 record against ranked opponents, with wins over No. 1 Florida in 2001, No. 2 Florida in 2006, No. 7 Tennessee in 2003 and No. 14 Georgia in 2000. The Tigers currently own a three-game winning streak in home night games.
Auburn has demonstrated a proficiency for placing players in the National Football League. As of Aug. 20, 44 former Auburn Tigers were listed on NFL rosters. The Seattle Seahawks have the most former Tigers, with five former Auburn players on the roster, while the Washington Redskins have four. Twenty-seven of the 32 teams had at least one former Auburn player on the roster.
WHEN SCORING 20+ POINTS
Under Tommy Tuberville, Auburn is 67-7 when scoring 20 or more points in a game, including a 64-6 mark in the regular season. Dating back to 1995, Auburn is 88-14 when scoring 20 or more points in a game.
30+ POINTS EQUALS VICTORY
Under Tommy Tuberville, Auburn is 45-0 when scoring 30 or more points in a game. Auburn has won 50 consecutive games when scoring 30 or more points.
The last time the Tigers lost when registering at least 30 points was a 56-49, four overtime loss to Georgia in 1996.
In the last 23 years, Auburn is 119-2 when scoring 30 points.
TIGERS ON CSS
Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast (CSS) will broadcast encore presentations of Auburn football every Sunday at 6 p.m. ET/5 p.m. CT with Andy Burcham handling play-by-play duties and Cole Cubelic doing color commentary. CSS will also air the Auburn Football Review every Tuesday at 5 p.m. ET/4 p.m. CT and the Auburn Football Preview every Friday at 4:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. CT.
CSS is a 24-hour regional sports network serving approximately 5.8 million households across 12 Southeastern states.
DID YOU KNOW?
Linebacker Courtney Harden and defensive tackle Jermarcus Ricks are brothers ... Brad Lester was a high school teammates of the Atlanta Braves' Jeff Francoeur ... Walter McFadden's older brother Bryant plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers ... Clinton Durst was recommend to the Auburn staff by former Auburn and PGA golfer Buddy Gardner ... Neiko Thorpe's last name was Lipscomb until he had it legally changed to his father's last name this summer.