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Auburn Vs. Mississippi State Preview

Sept. 7, 2008

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#9/9 AUBURN (2-0, 0-0 SEC) vs. MISSISSIPPI STATE (1-1, 0-0 SEC)
SEPTEMBER 13, 2008 • 6 PM CT • TV: ESPN2


Tommy Tuberville (Southern Arkansas, 1976)
Auburn Record 82-33 (10th year)
vs. Mississippi State 6-3
Overall Record 107-53 (14th year)
vs. Mississippi State 8-5

Sylvester Croom (Alabama, 1975)
MSU Record 18-31 (4th year)
vs. Auburn 1-3
Overall Record Same

AU leads, 56-23-2
at Auburn AU leads, 25-6
at Starkville AU leads, 10-4-1
at Neutral sites AU leads, 21-13-1
at Birmingham, AL AU leads, 14-11-1
at Columbus, MS AU leads, 1-0
at Jackson, MS AU leads, 5-2
at Montgomery, AL AU leads, 1-0
Last Meeting AU 34, MSU 0
Sept. 9, 2006 in Starkville, MS
Current Streak MSU, W1

Auburn 9th AP/9th USA Today
Mississippi State Not ranked

ESPN2 (Live)
Play-by-play Mark Jones
Analyst Bob Davie

The Auburn Network provides radio coverage to over 50 stations that cover the Southeast. Rod Bramblett (play-by-play), Stan White (color), Quentin Riggins (sideline), Paul Ellen (studio) and Andy Burcham (locker room) provide gameday analysis.


Live audio & stats

Auburn visits Mississippi State Saturday in the Southeastern Conference opener for both schools. It will mark the fifth consecutive season that Auburn will open the SEC slate against the Bulldogs.

* Auburn leads the all-time series with Mississippi State, 56-23-2, but MSU won last year in Auburn, 19-14.
* Auburn is 41-28-5 in SEC openers, but had its 14-game winning streak in SEC openers snapped last year by MSU. Auburn is 5-0 under Tommy Tuberville when opening SEC play on the road.
* Auburn has won 15 of its last 16 games when wearing all white uniforms.
* Auburn leads the SEC in opponents' third-down conversion percentage, surrendering just three first downs in 32 attempts (9.4 percent).
* Auburn's nine shutouts since the 2000 season are tied with LSU for the most in the SEC during that span. No other SEC school has more than four shutouts since 2000.
* Robert Dunn leads the SEC and ranks sixth nationally in punt returns (24.4), and his 171 punt return yards is the most in the nation.
* Auburn leads the SEC and ranks ninth nationally in net punting (40.7), thanks largely to Clinton Durst's average of 43.8 with six fair catches.
* Rodgeriqus Smith needs three receptions and 52 receiving yards to move into the top 10 on Auburn's career lists in both categories.
* Brad Lester needs 3 yards rushing and Ben Tate needs 19 yards rushing to become the 22nd and 23rd backs in Auburn history to amass 1,500 career rushing yards.
* Auburn had 11 players catch passes last Saturday for the first time since 2005, and already has 13 players with at least one reception this season.
* Auburn has played 12 true freshmen already this season and 21 players have played their first game for Auburn this season.
* Auburn has scored in 65 consecutive games since being shut out in the 2003 season opener.
* Auburn is currently ranked ninth in the Associated Press top 25 poll and 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.
* Tommy Tuberville passed Pat Dye in winning percentage in Auburn history with the victory over Southern Miss, improving his percentage to .713 at Auburn.

Auburn is 41-28-5 in SEC openers, but had its 14-game winning streak in openers snapped last season by Mississippi State.

In its last 10 SEC openers, Auburn has outscored its opponents, 334-110. In 2006, Auburn blanked Mississippi State, 34-0, after beating the Bulldogs 28-0 and 43-14, in the two previous seasons. The Tigers defeated Ole Miss, 19-9, in 1997; 17-0, in 1998; 35-27, in 2000; and 27-21 in 2001. In 1999, Auburn defeated LSU, 41-7, and beat Vanderbilt 31-6 and 45-7 in 2002 and 2003.

Tommy Tuberville owns an 8-1 mark in SEC openers at Auburn and is 8-5 overall including his stint at Ole Miss. Five of his previous nine conference openers at Auburn have come on the road and Auburn won all five: 1999 at LSU (41-7), 2000 at Ole Miss (35-27), 2003 at Vanderbilt (45-7) and 2004 (43-14) and 2006 (34-0) at Mississippi State.

Auburn leads the all-time series with Mississippi State, 56-23-2 ... Saturday's meeting between the two schools will mark the 54th consecutive year the two schools have played each other ... Auburn has won 19 of the last 26 in the series ... Mississippi State has been held to 19 or fewer points in each of the last nine games in the series, averaging 12.1 points per game during that span ... Just 11 games in the last 38 years have been decided by seven points or less, including three consecutive from 1999-2001 ... Mississippi State has averaged just 83 yards passing against the Auburn defense in the last three meetings, and has not thrown for 200 yards against the Tigers since 2002.

Mississippi State bounced back from a disappointing 22-14 loss to Louisiana Tech in its season opener with a 34-10 victory over Southeastern Louisiana on Sept. 6 ... The Bulldogs rolled up 401 yards of offense, including 216 on the ground, while holding Southeastern Louisiana to just 148 yards of total offense ... MSU is ranked 17th nationally in total defense (208.5), and 15th in rushing defense, allowing only 63.5 yards per game on the ground ... Mississippi State was picked to finish fourth in the West in the SEC Preseason Poll conducted by the league's media ... DB Derek Pegues was a first-team Preseason All-SEC selection by the SEC coaches and media, while RB Anthony Dixon and LB Jamar Chaney were second-team picks ... DB Keith Fitzhugh is tied for the SEC lead with two interceptions.

Mississippi State has 19 players on its roster from the state of Alabama: DL Tyler Behel (Winfield), WR Aubrey Bell (Prichard), DL Nick Bell (Bessemer), OL Johnny Carpenter (Citronelle), TE Kendrick Cook (Attalla), SN Aaron Feld (Homewood), DB Robert Gurley (Dothan), LB Terrell Johnson (Cullomburg), QB Todd Kilpatrick (Monroeville), OL D.J. Looney (Birmingham), OL Mark Melichar (Birmingham), DB Chris Nance (Tuscumbia), QB Chris Relf (Montgomery), DB Andrew Shannon (Trussville), DB Zach Smith (Altoona), WR Major Sosebee (Warrior), RB Arnil Stallworth (Daphne), LB Bo Walters (Wilsonville), and DB Louis Watson (Mobile), MISSISSIPPI TIGERS
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).

* Mississippi State wide receivers coach Pat Washington played quarterback at Auburn from 1982-85, starting as a junior and senior and helping the team to four straight bowl games. He had a 17-8 record as a starting quarterback, and then served two seasons as a graduate assistant coach.
* Washington also coached the quarterbacks and receivers at TCU, where he worked with Auburn offensive line coach Hugh Nall in 1992 and 1993, and Auburn strength and conditioning coach Kevin Yoxall in 1992.
* Mississippi State safeties coach Charlie Harbison coached the defensive backs at Clemson in 1997 during Auburn tight ends/inside receivers coach Steve Ensminger's first season as the Tigers' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
* Mississippi State defensive backs coach Melvin Smith was on the Ole Miss staff in 1994 when Auburn running backs coach Eddie Gran began his stint with the Rebels.

Senior wideout Rodgeriqus Smith has 1,323 career receiving yards in 34 career games played (38.9 ypg), and 201 of his yards have come against Mississippi State in just three games played (67 ypg). In fact, Smith racked up those numbers with just seven total catches, for an average of 28.7 yards per catch against the Bulldogs. As a freshman in 2005 he caught just one ball against MSU, but it went for a 38-yard gain. In 2006 in Starkville, he caught only two passes, but one was a 62-yard TD reception and the other went for 23 yards. Last year he caught four balls for 78 yards against the Bulldogs.

Auburn has played four times on Sept. 13, posting a 3-1 record with three straight wins. The Tigers last played on Sept. 13 in 2003, winning at Vanderbilt, 45-7. The Tigers Ole Miss, coached by Tommy Tuberville, 19-9 in 1999 and won in 1980 at TCU, 10-7. The Tigers' only loss on this date came in 1975, when Memphis won in Jordan-Hare Stadium, 31-20.

Auburn is 142-46-5 (.749) all-time in the month of September, including a 32-7 mark under Tommy Tuberville. The Tigers have won 18 of their last 21 games played in September, and are currently on a three-game winning streak during the month.

Auburn has won 15 of its last 16 games when wearing all white uniforms. The Tigers had not lost when wearing white jerseys since the final road game of the 2003 season at Georgia, until the Bulldogs broke the 15-game winning streak in white in Athens last Nov. The Tigers went 5-0 in all white uniforms in 2004, 3-0 in 2005, 4-0 in 2006 and 3-1 in 2007. The streak includes the 2004 SEC Championship game against Tennessee, a 2007 AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic victory over Nebraska and last year's home victory over Vanderbilt when the team wore all white to honor the 1957 national championship team. Auburn also has road wins at Alabama (twice), Ole Miss (twice), Arkansas (twice), Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, Kentucky and Mississippi State during that span.

Robert Dunn currently leads the SEC and ranks sixth nationally in punt returns , averaging 24.4 yards per return, and his 171 punt return yards is the most in the nation. In the season opener against Louisiana-Monroe, Dunn snapped an Auburn streak of 144 consecutive games and 374 punt returns without a touchdown, which was the longest streak in the nation, by returning a kick 66 yards for a score.

Dunn, who was only 10 years old the last time Auburn had a punt return for a touchdown, appeared to accomplish the feat again last Saturday against Southern Miss, but what would have been a 65-yard return for a score was reduced to 47 yards due to a block in the back at the 18-yard line that occurred 5 yards behind Dunn, who was about to cruise into the end zone.

Dunn, who has four returns this season of at least 17 yards, finished the Southern Miss game with 103 punt return yards, becoming the first Tiger to have more than 100 punt return yards in a game since Joe Walkins against Ball State on Sept. 1, 2001.

Under first-year defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads, Auburn's defense has continued to perform as one of the nation's finest. The Tigers currently rank tied for eighth nationally in scoring defense (6.5) and are tied for 13th in rushing defense (60.5). The Tigers played nearly seven quarters this season without allowing a point, surrendering their first score of the season with just 2:33 left in the third quarter against Southern Miss after going 102:27 without being scored upon.

Auburn's defense has been especially stellar on third down this season, as the Tigers lead the SEC in opponent third-down conversions at just 9.4 percent. In 32 third-down plays, Auburn opponents have converted just three into first downs, including just 1-of-15 when the distance to go is between one and six yards. ULM was just 2-of-18 on third downs in the opener, before Auburn limited Southern Miss to just 1-of-14 on third downs last Saturday.

In the 12 games played by Auburn last season before Tony Franklin took over as offensive coordinator prior to the Chick-fil-A Bowl, Auburn averaged 67 plays per game and 4.9 yards per play. After running 90 plays in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, the Tigers are averaging 74 plays and 5.3 yards per play so far this season.

Auburn had 11 different players catch passes last Saturday vs. Southern Miss, marking the most players to catch a pass in a game for Auburn since 2005 against Ole Miss. The Tigers have already had 13 different players catch passes this season, including nine players with multiple receptions.

Chris Tood completed 21-of-31 passes for 248 yards in his first career start for Auburn last Saturday vs. Southern Miss. It marked the most yards passing by an Auburn quarterback since Brandon Cox threw for 251 yards against Arkansas State in 2006. Todd completed 7-of-9 passes for 90 yards in the first 10 minutes of the game, surpassing Auburn's entire passing yardage total from the season opener.

Senior Rodgeriqus Smith has a team-high six receptions for 78 yards this season. He needs just three more catches and 52 yards to move into the top 10 in both categories in Auburn history. He currently ranks tied for 12th with 90 career catches and 11th with 1,344 receiving yards. Ten more catches will also make him just the seventh player in school history with 100 career receptions.

Auburn has had 21 players play in their first collegiate games at Auburn this season, including 12 true freshmen. The true freshmen that have seen action this season include: DB Harry Adams, WR Darvin Adams, DB Drew Cole, DB D'Antoine Hood, WR Philip Pierre-Louis, LB Spencer Pybus, DL Jomarcus Savage, RB Eric Smith, TE Vance Smith, DB Christian Thompson, DB Neiko Thorpe and WR Derek Winter. Others who have played in their first games at Auburn include: WR Quindarius Carr, OL Jared Cooper, H Clayton Crofoot, RB John Douglas, P Clinton Durst, RB Ryan Hastie, LB Adam Herring, DB Mike Slade, and QB Chris Todd.

Auburn continues 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 now ranks 23rd in Auburn history with 1,497 career yards rushing, while Tate is 24th with 1,481. 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.

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, is averaging 43.8 yards per punt this year with four punts placed inside the 20-yard line. His kicks, which have included six fair catches, have helped Auburn lead the SEC and rank ninth nationally in net punting at 40.7 yards per kick.

Durst joins an impressive stable of young kickers that also includes sophomore punter Ryan Shoemaker, who was a first-team preseason All-SEC selection this season after averaging 42.4 yards per punt last year, before being supplanted as Auburn's punter by Durst.

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.

For the sixth consecutive year, Auburn was nationally ranked to begin the season, and the Tigers are currently ranked ninth in both the Associated Press Poll and 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, then 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.

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 82-33 in nine previous seasons at Auburn and an overall mark of 107-53. 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.

Auburn's 27-13 victory over Southern Miss last Saturday moved head coach Tommy Tuberville ahead of Pat Dye in all-time winning percentage as Auburn head coach. Dye finished his 12-year career at Auburn with a record of 99-39-4 for a winning percentage of .711. Tuberville now has a record of 82-33 on the Plains, giving him a winning percentage of .713.

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 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

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.

Auburn's nine shutouts since the 2000 season are tied with LSU for the most in the SEC during that span. No other SEC school has more than four shutouts since 2000.

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.

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.

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    Return   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%

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 has switched 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, switches from left to right tackle, and junior Byron Isom has moved into the other guard slot for Ramsey.

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).

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 more than 30 games during their careers. Courtney Harden leads the group, having played in 36 of a possible 40 games over the past four seasons, and is followed closely by Merrill Johnson (35), Rodgeriqus Smith (35), Robert Dunn (34), Tyronne Green (32), Brad Lester (32) and Chris Evans (31). Green, Smith and Robert Shiver are the only three members of the senior class to have played in all 28 games over the past three seasons.

Auburn has scored in 65 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.

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.

Senior Rodgeriqus Smith and junior Sen'Derrick Marks currently own the longest staring streaks on the squad, as both players have started all 28 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 15 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.

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
    Clemson          8
    Maryland         8
7.  Arizona State    7
    Memphis          7
    Ohio State       7
    Penn State       7

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 263-64-7 (.798) at Jordan-Hare Stadium, including a 49-10 (.831) mark since 2000. AU went 7-0 at home in both 2000 and 2004, and posted a 6-1 mark in 2005.

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 20,161,115 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.

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.

Under Tommy Tuberville, Auburn is 68-7 when scoring 20 or more points in a game, including a 65-6 mark in the regular season. Dating back to 1995, Auburn is 89-14 when scoring 20 or more points in a game.

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.

Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast (CSS) will broadcast encore presentations of Auburn football, typically 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. For the Mississippi State game, CSS will air two replays on Sunday, at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. CT. 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.

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.



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