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Auburn young defenders come through in clutch
Sept. 13, 2015

Auburn's Nick Ruffin denies the catch, with help from Carlton Davis on the backside on the last play of the game against Jacksonville State

By Charles Goldberg

AUBURN, Ala. ― Will Muschamp turned to his young guys to help Auburn win Saturday.

Wait, Auburn's defensive coordinator did more than that. True freshmen Carlton Davis and Tim Irvin and sophomore Nick Ruffin were asked to help defend the pass in overtime on the way to Auburn's 27-20 victory Saturday, and while injuries played a role in their extended playing time, they figure to play at LSU this weekend as well.

Ruffin played 88 snaps in the secondary. Irvin played 84. Davis played 65. Jeremiah Dinson, another true freshman, played 13.

Muschamp dealt with injuries over the weekend. Carl Lawson was on the sidelines on crutches. Tray Matthews didn't dress out after suffering an injury in the opener. Josh Holsey left early after being hurt. Justin Garrett left with a strained quad.

"All day to day. Game time decision on all of those guys," Muschamp said after Sunday's practice. "All those guys took part in parts of practice last week. We're expecting all of them to be able to go this week."

Blake Countess also left early after he was flagged for targeting.

Muschamp, who said last week he wanted to win a game with the defense on the field, did it over the weekend. Auburn got the ball first in overtime and scored. Jacksonville State's passes against the young secondary failed to find the mark.

"You made a couple of stops when you needed to so I'm really proud of those guys," Muschamp said. "Carlton Davis, a guy that the ball's getting thrown on him and they'd thrown it well throughout the day, and he makes a play there on fourth down, and on third down, made a fine play there.

"Those situations are going to come up, they're going to arise and we knew there's going to be some growing pains when you're going through this. Been through it before. We've just got to continue to pay attention to detail, focus on what we need to do to be successful, and that's what this football team is doing.

"We've got to improve, got to continue to improve and I know these guys are certainly willing to do so.

"I think we've got a good group. It's unfortunate that sometimes you have to go through these things at times. We're going to fight through it, band together and go down to Baton Rouge and face a really good football team."

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:



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