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Auburn Vs. Tennessee Preview

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AUBURN (4-0, 1-0 SEC) VS. TENNESSEE (2-2, 0-1 SEC)
OCTOBER 3, 2009 • 6:45 PM CT • TV: ESPN

Gene Chizik (Florida, 1985)
Auburn Record 4-0 (1st year)
vs. Tennessee First meeting
Overall Record 9-19 (3rd year)
vs. Tennessee First meeting

Lane Kiffin (Fresno State, 1998)
Tennessee Record 2-2 (1st year)
vs. Auburn First meeting
Overall Record 2-2 (1st year)
vs. Auburn First meeting

Auburn leads, 26-21-3
at Auburn AU leads, 7-2-1
at Knoxville, TN UT leads, 14-8-1
Neutral sites AU leads, 11-5
at Atlanta, GA Series tied, 1-1
at Birmingham, AL AU leads, 10-4
Last Meeting AU 14, UT 12
Sept. 27, 2008 in Auburn, AL
Current Streak AU, W4

Auburn Receiving Votes
Tennessee N/A

Brad Nessler Play-by-play
Todd Blackledge Analyst
Erin Andrews Sidelines

The Auburn ISP Sports 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 travels to Knoxville for the first time since 2004 to play Tennessee in the first road game of the season for the Tigers. The game will kick off at 6:45 p.m. CT and be televised nationally by ESPN.

* Auburn is looking to start a season 5-0 for the third time in the last six seasons and first time since 2006.
* Auburn has won 19 consecutive games overall and 11 consecutive games at Jordan-Hare Stadium with Gene Chizik on the coaching staff.
* Auburn has won four straight games against Tennessee, which ties the longest streak in series history for the Tigers.
* Auburn has come from behind to win in all four of its games this season.
* Auburn is third in the nation in scoring offense (45.3) and tied for third in total offense (526.3 yards per game).
* Auburn has scored 181 points this season, which is the most in the first four games of any season in school history, and just 27 points fewer than Auburn scored all of last year.
* Auburn has scored in every quarter this season, including touchdowns in 15 of 16 quarters, including 14 in a row.
* Auburn ranks sixth in the nation in rushing offense (261.3) and has two of the top four rushers in the SEC in Ben Tate (103.0 ypg) and Onterio McCalebb (91.2 ypg).
* Auburn has recorded four straight games of 400 or more yards of offense for the first time since the first four games of the 2000 season.
* Auburn is tied for eighth nationally in first downs (24.3) and has had at least 20 in all four games.
* Auburn is tied for fifth in the nation in turnover margin (+1.75), tied for fourth in interceptions (eight) and tied for fifth in turnovers forced (12).
* Chris Todd has nine touchdown passes in his last two games. Last year, Auburn had just seven touchdown passes as a team during the entire season.
* Todd ranks second in the nation in yards per completion (16.32), tied for third in TD passes (11) and sixth in passing efficiency (171.05).
* Senior Ben Tate ranks 17th nationally in rushing (103.0), and is ninth in school history with 2,371 career rushing yards.
* Senior defensive end Antonio Coleman has 17.0 career sacks, which ranks tied for sixth in Auburn history for career sacks.

Auburn and Tennessee played every year from 1956-91. The two teams didn't play from 1991 until the 1997 SEC Championship game because of the league expansion and the rotating opponents' setup. The two played in 1998 and 1999, and in 2003 and 2004 before rotating off each others schedule until 2008.

The two schools dominated the SEC in the mid-to-late `80's. In six of the eight seasons from 1983-90, either Auburn (1983-87-88-89) or Tennessee (1985-89-90) claimed an SEC Championship.

Nine of the last 12 games in the series have been decided by 10 points or less ... Auburn's current four-game winning streak against Tennessee matches the Tigers' longest winning streak against the Vols in series history (1961-64) ... Auburn has averaged 28.5 points during its four-game winning streak against Tennessee ... Tennessee has only thrown three touchdown passes in the last six meetings ... Auburn has held Tennessee to fewer than 300 yards of total offense in each of the last three meetings ... This will be the first meeting since 1982 in which neither team is ranked, and prior to last year, the previous 13 meetings all included at least one top-10 team ... From 1956-1991, every meeting was on the last Saturday of September except in 1968.

1956--The Modern Auburn-Tennessee series begins in Birmingham over the objections of Vol AD Gen. R.R. Neyland. Johnny Majors, who would finish second in the Heisman Trophy balloting, led Tennessee to a 35-7 win over Auburn before a crowd of 44,258.

1957--In its first trip to Knoxville since 1939, Auburn was expected to be little match for Tennessee, the defending SEC champions. Yet, the Tigers won 7-0 and started their march toward the National Championship.

1958--Defending National Champion Auburn 13, Tennessee 0 in Birmingham. Tennessee made no first downs and was held to minus 30 yards of total offense. Lindsey Nelson and Red Grange described it to the nation on NBC-TV.

1959--Tennessee ended Auburn's 24-game unbeaten streak with a 3-0 upset victory at Knoxville. Time and time again, the Tigers assaulted the Tennessee goal line. Time and time again, Tennessee's Volunteers pushed them back. Cotton Letner's field goal won it for the Vols.

1961-63--Auburn fell behind by two touchdowns or more three years in a row, 0-21 in 1961, 0-14 in 1962, and 0-12 in 1963, only to storm back and win all three games, 24-21 in 1961, 22-21 in 1962 and 23-19 in 1963. The modern Auburn-Tennessee series had been born.

1965--Auburn defensive tackle Jack Thornton intercepts not one, but two passes as Auburn struggles to a 13-13 tie with Tennessee in Knoxville.

1968--In the first Auburn-Tennessee game to be played at night, Auburn upsets the unbeaten Vols 28-14 in Birmingham. Halfback Mike Currier from Oneonta scored on three of his first four plays in the game.

1969--Vols jump to a big lead in Knoxville, 24-3 at the half, but Auburn, behind first-year quarterback Pat Sullivan, came storming back to cut the Vol lead to 24-19 in the fourth quarter. The Vols pull away, however, and won 45-19.

1970--Auburn overcame a 10-0 Tennessee lead and defeated the Vols 36-23 in Birmingham. It was the only loss of the year for Tennessee and cost the Vols an SEC Championship.

1971--Tennessee dominated Auburn for 58 minutes, but in the final two minutes, Pat Sullivan drove Auburn 86 yards for a touchdown and a 10-9 victory. The next day, Jack Doane of The Montgomery Advertiser wrote: "Blindfolded, hands tied behind his back, Pat Sullivan would be a one-point favorite at his own execution."

1973-74--Tennessee defeated Auburn 21-0 in Knoxville in a driving rainstorm. Tennessee punted on first down throughout the fourth quarter, infuriating Auburn coaches. At the end of the game, Auburn coach Ralph "Shug" Jordan refused to shake hands with Vol coach Bill Battle saying Battle refused to shake hands with him before the game. In 1974, Tennessee, reluctantly, made its first trip to Auburn. Auburn won, ironically by the same 21-0 score. Throughout the first quarter, Auburn fans chanted "Punt...Punt...Punt" whenever Auburn had a first down.

1977--Leads are never safe in the Auburn-Tennessee game. Tennessee jumped to a 12-0 lead in Johnny Majors' first SEC game as head coach of his alma mater, but Auburn won 14-12 when a Vol field goal attempt was wide right on the final play of the game.

1980--Tennessee defeated Auburn 42-0 before the then largest crowd in Auburn history. It was, perhaps, the darkest day in Auburn's long and glorious football history.

1983--Auburn, 20-7 losers to Texas a week earlier, came to Knoxville labeled as the SEC's disappointment of the year after only two games. Auburn reestablished itself with a 27-14 win over the Vols, highlighted by an 81-yard Trey Gainous punt return.

1985--Auburn went to Knoxville undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the nation. That ranking lasted as long as Tennessee's first possession. The Vols led 24-0 at the half and Auburn has not been ranked No. 1 since that day, Sept. 28, 1985.

1990--Proving once again that leads, big or small, do not hold up in the AU-UT series, Auburn spotted Tennessee a 17-point fourth quarter lead, 26-9, only to storm back to tie the game, 26-26. Tennessee missed a potential game-winning field goal with 15 seconds to play.

1991--A series that had been contested 35 consecutive years came to an end thanks to the expansion of the SEC from 10 schools to 12 and the formation of two divisions. Vol receiver Carl Pickens caught four balls for 172 yards, including TD receptions of 87 and 67 yards in Tennessee's 30-21 win.

1997--In the SEC Championship game in Atlanta, Auburn scored 20 unanswered points to take a 20-7 lead. Tennessee scored two touchdowns late in the third quarter and early in the fourth to win 30-29. Tennessee's Peyton Manning threw for 373 yards and four TDs, while Auburn signal caller Dameyune Craig passed for 262 yards and a pair of scores.

2004--Auburn raced to a 31-3 halftime lead en route to a 34-10 win over No. 10 Tennessee for the Tigers' first win in Neyland Stadium since 1983. Auburn QB Jason Campbell was 12 of 15 for 240 yards and two TD strikes in the first half. Safety Junior Rosegreen set a school record and tied an SEC mark with four interceptions in the game. The teams met again in the SEC Championship, with Auburn prevailing 38-28 behind Campbell's 374 yards passing and three TDs.

Tennessee improved to 2-2 overall with a 34-23 win over Ohio last Saturday ... Tennessee was picked to finish fourth in the East by the media in the SEC Media Days poll ... The win over Ohio was the Vols' 500th all-time win in Knoxville ... Senior Montario Hardesty leads the SEC and ranks eighth nationally averaging 121.3 yards rushing per game ... Tennessee ranks eighth nationally in total defense, allowing just 233.0 yards per game ... The Vols are 11th nationally in pass defense (146.0 yards per game) and 15th in rushing defense (87.0) ... Chris Walker is tied for second in the SEC with four sacks this season ... Junior middle linebacker Nick Reveiz, who entered the Ohio game ranked third on the team in tackles, suffered an apparent season-ending injury ... Freshman Nu'Keese Richardson is second in the SEC averaging 11.4 yards per punt return.

The 2009 Auburn roster includes three players who hail from the state of Tennessee. Freshman Daren Bates is from Memphis, junior OL Mike Berry is from Antioch and sophomore OL A.J. Greene is from Madison.

The 2009 Tennessee roster includes two players who hail from the state of Alabama. Freshman OL Carson Anderson is from Florence, redshirt freshman DE Willie Bohannon is from Mobile and senior DT Wes Brown is from Athens.

* Auburn assistant head coach/wide receivers coach Trooper Taylor was at Tennessee from 2004-07, coaching running backs from 2004-05 and serving as assistant head coach/player development/wide receivers coach from 2005-07.
* Tennessee special teams coordinator/running backs coach Eddie Gran served as Auburn's running backs coach and special teams coordinator from 1999-2008.
* Tennessee linebackers coach Lance Thompson coached the defensive line at Georgia Tech in 1998 when Auburn defensive coordinator Ted Roof coached Tech's linebackers. Thompson returned to Georgia Tech in 2001 to coach the defensive line while Roof was the defensive coordinator.
* Auburn special teams coordinator/tight ends coach Jay Boulware and Tennessee defensive backs coach Willie Mack Garza were teammates at the University of Texas from 1991-92, and both started their coaching careers at Texas from 1994-96 - Garza as a graduate assistant and Boulware first as a student assistant, then a graduate assistant in 1996.
* Auburn video coordinator Brent Thomas was a deep snapper for Tennessee from 1996-2000, and was a video graduate assistant for the Volunteers from 2002-03.

Saturday's game will mark the 15th straight meeting between Auburn and Tennessee that football fans will be able to watch on television.

Auburn's game at Tennessee will be the fifth straight night game for the Tigers, marking the first time Auburn has ever played five consecutive games at night. In 2007, the Tigers played four of their first five games at night and eight overall, marking the most night games in a single season in school history. Auburn played just four night games all of last season.

Auburn has an all-time record of 10-3-1 on Oct. 3. The Tigers last played on this date in 1998, also against Tennessee, falling 17-9 to the third-ranked Vols. Auburn has a 3-1 record on Oct. 3 when the Tigers are ranked, and is 1-1 when playing a ranked opponent. Auburn's biggest upset on Oct. 3 was a 13-0 shutout of No. 15 Ole Miss in 1953 in Auburn.

Auburn, which just concluded its sixth consecutive winning month of September, is 287-146-18 (.656) all-time in the month of October. The Tigers are 23-9 (.719) in their last 32 games in October.

Auburn will be looking to start the season with a 5-0 record with a victory at Tennessee. If the Tigers win, it would mark Auburn's third 5-0 start in the last six seasons (2006, 2004), and the seventh in the last 17 seasons. In the previous 18-year period from 1975-92, the Tigers only started 5-0 one time (1986).

With a 4-0 start to his head coaching tenure at Auburn, Gene Chizik has now been a part of 19 consecutive victories as a member of the Auburn coaching staff. His final season as Auburn's defensive coordinator was during the Tigers' 13-0 2004 season, and Auburn also won its final two games in 2003.

Chizik, who has seen 12 straight wins at Jordan-Hare Stadium, also became the fifth consecutive Auburn head coach to win his debut with the Tigers, and the 24-point margin of victory over Louisiana Tech was the largest in an Auburn head coaching debut since Carl Voyles won his first game as Auburn's head coach by a 32-0 score over Samford in 1944.

Senior quarterback Chris Todd is off to a blazing start to this season. He has established a career high in passing yards three times in four games, first with 255 yards against Louisiana Tech, then with 284 yards against West Virginia, then with 287 yards against Ball State. He also threw for what was then a career-best four scores against the Mountaineers, before tying the school record with five the next week against Ball State. Daniel Cobb is the only other Auburn player to throw for five scores, doing it against Louisiana Tech in 2001.

Todd is the first Auburn quarterback in history to throw at least four touchdown passes in consecutive games, and his nine TD passes in the last two weeks are two more than Auburn had as a team during the entire 2008 season.

Todd ranks second in the nation in yards per completion (16.32) and sixth nationally in passing efficiency (171.05). His 11 touchdown passes are tied for third most in the NCAA behind Texas Tech's Taylor Potts (13) and NC State's Russell Wilson (12).

Year   Cmp-Att-Int   Pct.   Yds    TD   Eff.
2008   86-156-6      55.1   903    5    106.64
2009   62-106-1      58.5   1012   11   171.05

Auburn ranks third nationally in scoring offense at 45.3 points per game, and has scored 181 points this season, which is the most through the first four games of a season in school history. The previous high was 176 points in 1996. Auburn would need 38 points against the Vols to surpass the 5-game mark of 218 set in 1995.

The Tigers have also scored 40+ points in three straight games, marking the first time the Tigers have ever scored 40 or more points in three consecutive contests.

Through four games, Auburn has already accumulated 181 points. The 181 points are more than Auburn scored in its first nine games combined last season, when the Tigers had 158 points after nine contests. In fact, Auburn needs just 27 points to match its point total from the entire 2008 season.

The Tigers also have 2,105 yards of offense already this year, which is more than the Tigers had in their first seven games combined last year (2,048).

Auburn's offense has not only been explosive, it has been consistent. The Tigers have scored at least once in all 16 quarters this season, and have scored between 41 and 53 points for the season in each of the four quarters. In fact, Auburn has scored a touchdown in 15 of the 16 quarters played this year, including each of the last 14. The only quarter this season in which Auburn didn't reach the end zone was the second quarter of the season opener, when the Tigers settled for a field goal against Louisiana Tech.

The current streak is the Tigers' longest since 2005, when Auburn scored in 16 straight quarters during games 2-5.

Auburn has been proficient at scoring points just before halftime, with scores in the last two minutes of the second quarter in all four games this season. In the season opener, Wes Byrum capped a quick three-play drive with a 49-yard field goal on the last play of the first half. Against Mississippi State, Auburn marched 78 yards on eight plays in just 1:13 before Kodi Burns scored on a 1-yard run with 16 seconds left in the half.

Against West Virginia, Darvin Adams' 4-yard TD catch with 1:34 left before halftime finished a 11-play, 68-yard drive in 3:24. Byrum connected from 32 yards out with seven seconds left in the half against Ball State after a nine-play, 49-yard drive.

Auburn ranks tied for third nationally in total offense, averaging 526.3 yards per game. The Tigers started the season with back-to-back games of more than 500 yards, totaling 556 yards in the season opener against Louisiana Tech and 589 yards in the SEC opener against Mississippi State. It marked the first time Auburn had back-to-back games with at least 500 yards of offense since 1970, when the Tigers had 566 yards against Florida and 664 against Mississippi State.

Auburn totaled 400 yards Sept. 19 against West Virginia and 560 yards last Saturday against Ball State. It marks the first time Auburn has had four straight games with at least 400 yards of offense since the first four games of the 2000 season.

Auburn ranks fifth nationally in rushing offense, averaging 261.3 yards per game. The Tigers collected 301 yards rushing against Louisiana Tech in the season opener before running for 390 yards against Mississippi State the following week. The last time Auburn had back-to-back games with at least 300 yards rushing was in 1985, when Auburn had three straight games with more than 300 yards rushing (Ole Miss, 438; Florida State, 413; Georgia Tech, 377).

Auburn has two of the nation's top 31 rushers, including two of the top four in the SEC. Senior Ben Tate, who ranks ninth in Auburn history with 2,371 career rushing yards, averages 103.0 yards rushing per game, which is third in the league and 17th nationally. He needs just 441 more yards rushing to crack Auburn's all-time top five. Freshman Onterio McCalebb is fourth in the SEC and 31st nationally, averaging 91.3 yards rushing per game. McCalebb also ranks third in the SEC in all-purpose yards, averaging 131.0.

Sophomore wide receiver Darvin Adams has emerged as Auburn's top target downfield, leading the team in catches (20), receiving yards (334) and touchdown receptions (five). Adams caught three touchdown passes against West Virginia, becoming the first Tiger to haul in at least three scores in a game since Alexander Wright caught four TD passes against Pacific in 1989. Adams, who entered the season with three catches for 18 yards during his career, ranks tied for third in the SEC in receptions per game (5.0) and third in receiving yards per game (83.5). His five receiving TDs are tied for the SEC lead.

Auburn has been able to wear down its opponents in the second half of its games, helping the Tigers post a large scoring differential in the second half. Auburn holds a 94-58 scoring edge in the first half of its games this year, but has outscored its opponents 87-39 in the second half, including a 42-20 margin in the fourth quarter.

Auburn is currently eighth nationally in first downs per game, averaging 24.3. The Tigers had 27 in the season opener against Louisiana Tech, 29 Sept. 12 against Mississippi State, 20 against West Virginia Sept. 19 and 21 against Ball State last Saturday. Last season, Auburn only reached 20 first downs in a game twice all year, with a high of 26 against UT Martin. Auburn had not had as many as 27 first downs in a game since collecting 28 at Arkansas in 2005, and the last time Auburn had at least 29 first downs was in the 2004 SEC Championship game against Tennessee.

Auburn's offense has excelled at both striking quickly and putting together sustained drives. The Tigers have had 14 scoring drives that used less than two minutes on the clock, including 12 that resulted in touchdowns. In 12 games last year, Auburn had just 10 scoring drives that took less than two minutes, and only six of those ended with touchdowns.

The Tigers also already have six scoring drives of at least 10 plays this season, including three that took 13 plays. Last year, Auburn only had two scoring drives all season that used at least 13 plays. In addition, all six of the Tigers' scoring drives against Mississippi State Sept. 12 covered at least 72 yards.

Much of Auburn's offensive success can be attributed to the Tigers' offensive linemen. Tackles Andrew McCain and Lee Ziemba, guards Mike Berry and Byron Isom and center Ryan Pugh have a combined 78 starts under their belt. They have not only helped Auburn rank among the national leaders in scoring offense, total offense and rushing, but have allowed just two quarterback sacks this season, which ties for the national lead. Virtuanly the same group last year surrendered 21 sacks.

Auburn's offense has been efficient in the red zone, as the Tigers have not only scored on 14 of 15 possessions in the red zone (93.3), but 12 of the 14 scores have been touchdowns. Auburn's TD percentage of 80.0 ranks second in the SEC behind only Ole Miss, and six of the scores have come on the ground and six through the air.

Auburn's gaudy offensive numbers are nothing new to first-year offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn. His Tulsa teams led the nation in total offense in both 2007 (543.9 yards) and 2008 (569.9). Last year's Tulsa team also led the country in third-down conversions (57.0 pct.) and yards per play (7.27). Two of the three previous college squads that he coached finished in the top 10 in the nation in rushing, as the 2008 Tulsa team ranked fifth (268.0 yards) and his 2006 Arkansas squad was fourth (228.5).

It's easy to overlook the job Auburn's defense has done because of the offensive output, but the unit has excelled despite a rash of injuries. In addition to the 12 turnovers and eight interceptions forced by Auburn, the Tigers rank 28th in pass efficiency defense (101.26) and tied for 31st in sacks (2.5).

The Tigers have managed despite missing projected starters or second-stringers S Mike McNeil, CB Aairon Savage, LB Spencer Pybus and DE Nosa Egaue for all four games, DE Antonio Carter and DB D'Antoine Hood for three games each, and LB Eltoro Freeman and DL Zach Clayton for one game each.

Auburn currently is tied for fifth in the nation in turnover margin, with a margin of +1.75 per game. The Tigers have forced 12 turnovers in their first four games and committed just four. As a result of that differential, Auburn has scored 45 points off of opponent turnovers, and allowed just 10 points.

Auburn ranks tied for fourth in the nation with eight interceptions, and tied for fifth with 12 total turnovers forced. Last year, Auburn had just 11 interceptions during the entire season and forced 18 turnovers in 12 games. The Tigers have spread the wealth, with eight different players grabbing one interception each. Auburn picked off five passes against West Virginia, marking the first time since 2004 (at Tennessee) that Auburn intercepted five passes in a game. Antonio Coleman and Josh Bynes both have an interception and a fumble recovery this season.

Antonio Coleman, a first-team preseason All-SEC selection, is off to a strong start to the season. He has 19 tackles including 4.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, an interception which he returned for a touchdown against Mississippi State and a fumble recovery. Coleman ranks tied for sixth in school history with 17.0 career sacks, and this season, he is tied for eighth in the league in tackles for loss and and tied for 10th with 2.5 sacks.

Although Auburn is without several expected contributors on defense due to injury, several veterans are still leading the charge, including a trio of juniors. Junior linebackers Josh Bynes and Craig Stevens have 34 and 32 tackles, respectively, to lead the team, while junior safety Zac Etheridge is fourth with 22. Bynes and Stevens both have interceptions, while Stevens is second on the team with 4.0 tackles for loss, Etheridge has 1.5 and Bynes recorded a safety against Ball State.

Junior Wes Byrum has been perfect so far during the 2009 season, connecting on all six of his field goal attempts and 23-of-23 extra points. Byrum, who ranks second in the SEC in scoring (10.3) and tied for 21st in the nation with six field goals made, now is tied for sixth in school history with 34 career made field goals.

Auburn has had to come from behind in each of its four victories, including a fourth-quarter comeback to defeat West Virginia Sept. 19. The Tigers trailed Louisiana Tech, 7-3, late in the first quarter before pulling away for a 37-13 victory. Auburn fell behind Mississippi State, 17-14, late in the second quarter before storming back for a 49-24 victory. Against the Moutaineers, Auburn trailed by 14-0 less than five minutes in, and 21-10 at the end of the first quarter. West Virginia still led 30-27 entering the fourth quarter before Auburn ended the game on a 14-0 run. The Tigers trailed Ball State 7-0 in the first quarter before scoring the game's next 30 points.

A whopping 31 Auburn players have played in their first career games as Tigers so far this season. The list of first-timers included: DB Gabe Barrett, DB Daren Bates, DB T'Sharvan Bell, WR Deangelo Benton, WR Emory Blake, OL Jorell Bostrom, LB Watson Downs, LB Jonathan Evans, DL Nick Fairley, LB Eltoro Freeman, DE Dee Ford, LB Harris Gaston, WR Anthony Gulley, OL Andre Harris, DS Josh Harris, DE Robert Hill, RB Davis Hooper, DL Chris Humphries, TE Philip Lutzenkirchen, DL Derrick Lykes, RB Onterio McCalebb, DB Ikeem Means, DB Blake Poole, LB Ashton Richardson, OL Darrell Roseman, WR Travante Stallworth, OL John Sullen, DL Jamar Travis, DB Demond Washington, WR Jay Wisner and TE Bailey Woods.

In addition, 11 players have made their first career starts: WR Darvin Adams, DB Daren Bates, DL Nick Fairley, LB Eltoro Freeman, LB Adam Herring, OT Andrew McCain, RB Onterio McCalebb, DL Jake Ricks, RB Eric Smith, OL John Sullen and WR Terrell Zachery.

Freshmen are playing a key role in determining Auburn's level of success this year, as 10 true freshmen are listed on the depth chart.

The depth chart includes DB Daren Bates, WR Deangelo Benton, WR Emory Blake, LB Jonathan Evans, DE Dee Ford, WR Anthony Gulley, TE Philip Lutzenkirchen, RB Onterio McCalebb, QB Tyrik Rollison and OL John Sullen.

Two redshirt freshmen are also on the depth chart: DB T'Sharvan Bell and DT Derrick Lykes.

Auburn has won 53 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 122-2 when scoring 30 points.

In the last 10 seasons, Auburn is 75-8 (.904) when scoring 20 or more points in a game. Dating back to the start of the 1993 season, Auburn is 118-15-1 (.884) when scoring 20 or more points in a game.

Auburn has had a knack for winning close games in recent seasons. Since the 2003 Capitol One Bowl, Auburn is 18-9 in games decided by seven points or less, even after posting just a 2-4 record in such games during the 2008 season. Nine of the 18 wins were by three points or less, with just four losses coming by that margin.

Freshman running back Onterio McCalebb became the first Auburn freshman to rush for at least 100 yards in each of the first two games in a season, totaling 148 in the opener against Louisiana Tech and 114 Sept. 12 against Mississippi State. His 148 yards in the opener was the seventh highest single-game total by a freshman in school history.

Auburn established several firsts during its game against Mississippi State Sept. 12. To begin, Ben Tate and Onterio McCalebb both went over 100 yards rushing for the second straight game, marking the first time in school history that the Tigers have had two 100-yard rushers in back-to-back games.

McCalebb established another first by becoming the first Tiger freshman ever to rush for 100 or more yards in each of the first two games of the season.

Finally, Darvin Adams had 116 yards receiving, marking the first time in school history that Auburn had two 100-yard rushers and a 100-yard receiver in the same game. It nearly marked the second straight game that Auburn accomplished that feat, as Terrell Zachery had 104 yards receiving at one point during the season opener, but lost 6 yards on his final reception and finished with 98 yards receiving for the game.

Auburn's total of 589 yards of offense against Mississippi State was a school record for the most yards ever in an SEC opener. The previous record was 527 yards in the 1995 season opener against Ole Miss. Auburn's 589 yards were tied for 11th most in any game in school history and tied for fourth most in an SEC game, and the most since the Tigers also had 589 yards at Kentucky in 2005.

Chris Todd and Terrell Zachery teamed up to make school history during Auburn's season-opening win against Louisiana Tech, connecting on a 93-yard touchdown pass. The play was the longest play from scrimmage in school history, surpassing a 92-yard rush by Ralph O'Gwynne vs. Loyola on Nov. 21, 1936. The longest pass play in school history had been an 87-yard pass from Jason Campbell to Silas Daniels on Oct. 9, 2004, also against Louisiana Tech.

A new era of Auburn football is underway as Gene Chizik is in his first season as Auburn's head coach. It marks Chizik's second stint on the Plains, as he previously served as defensive coordinator from 2002-04, helping lead the Tigers to a perfect 13-0 record in 2004 while earning the Frank Broyles Awards as the nation's top assistant coach. His defense led the nation in scoring that season (11.3 ppg) and the Tigers were 30-9 overall during his previous three-year stint.

Chizik went on to help guide Texas to the 2005 national championship while serving as assistant head coach and co-defensive coordinator for the Longhorns. After two seasons in Austin, he was named head coach at Iowa State, where he spent two more years prior to returning to Auburn.

Chizik's reputation as an outstanding teacher is evident by the fact that he coached three consecutive Thorpe Award Winners, starting with Auburn's Carlos Rogers in 2004, followed by Texas' Michael Huff and Aaron Ross in 2005 and 2006, respectively.

The Tigers return 46 lettermen from last season, including 24 on offense, 18 on defense and four specialists. Auburn returns seven starters on offense and seven on defense.

Auburn's current roster of 113 players includes 13 seniors, 31 juniors, 27 sophomores, 11 redshirt freshmen and 31 freshmen. The underclassmen (69) represent 61.1 percent of the Tigers' roster.

A number of walk-ons joined the program after the first day of classes on August 17.

Head coach Gene Chizik has a senior class that includes 12 players at Auburn in 2009. It marks the smallest senior class at Auburn since the 2001 squad had 10 seniors.

The 2009 seniors include: DE Antonio Coleman, H Clayton Crofoot, P Clinton Durst, OT Andrew McCain, CB Walter McFadden, TE Gabe McKenzie, DB Woody Parramore, DL Jake Ricks, DB Aairon Savage, RB Ben Tate, QB Chris Todd and TE Tommy Trott.

Of Auburn's 12 seniors, eight have seen time in at least 30 games during their careers, including four with at least 40 games under their belt. Tommy Trott leads the group, having played in 43 career games, including 41 of a possible 42 over the past four seasons. Gabe McKenzie is the only player who has played in all 42 games over the past three seasons. Antonio Coleman is next with 41 games played, followed by Walter McFadden (40 games), Ben Tate (38), Jake Ricks (35) and Andrew McCain (31).

Junior Lee Ziemba has the longest staring streak on the Auburn squad, having started all 28 games over the past three seasons. Only three other players have starting streaks that date back to the 2007 season. Juniors Zac Etheridge and Ryan Pugh both have started 18 straight contests, while junior Craig Stevens has 16 straight starts under his belt

Two other players have started every game since the start of the 2008 season: senior Walter McFadden and juniors Michael Goggans.

Auburn began the season with eight graduates on its roster, which is tied for fifth most among all FBS schools.

The Tiger graduates include: WR Montez Billings (Public Administration), DE Antonio Coleman (Criminology), CB Walter McFadden (Public Administration), TE Gabe McKenzie (Criminology), DB Aairon Savage (Exercise Science), RB Ben Tate (Criminology), QB Chris Todd (Business Finance) and TE Tommy Trott (Public Administration).

Listed are the top 10 FBS programs in the nation in terms of number of players who have completed their bachelor's degrees prior to the start of the 2009 season.

1. Alabama         12
2. Boston College  10
   Virginia Tech   10
4. Miami (Fla.)     9
   Penn State       9
6. Auburn           8
   East Carolina    8
   Notre Dame       8
   Texas Tech       8
   UNLV             8

Three members of the Auburn team have been named to preseason watch lists for national awards.

Antonio Coleman leads the way, landing on four watch lists, including those for the Lombardi Award (best lineman or linebacker), Bronko Nagurski Award (best defensive player), Chuck Bednarik Award (best defensive player) and Ted Hendricks Award (best defensive end).

Ben Tate has been named to the Maxwell Award watch list, for the nation's outstanding player, and Tommy Trott is on watch list for the John Mackey Award, which goes to the nation's top tight end.

Auburn has demonstrated a proficiency for placing players in the National Football League. As of Aug. 24, 37 former Auburn Tigers were listed on NFL rosters. The Seattle Seahawks have the most former Tigers, with four former Auburn players on the roster, while the San Diego Chargers have three. Twenty-seven of the 32 teams have at least one former Auburn player on the roster.

Now celebrating its 70th year as home to the Auburn football team, Jordan-Hare Stadium is the nation's 10th-largest on-campus stadium, with a capacity of 87,451 fans. The Tigers, who set a school record by averaging 86,915 fans last season, are 269-67-7 (.794) all-time at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Auburn has had nine straight winning seasons at Jordan-Hare Stadium, posting a mark of 55-13 (.809) at home since the 2000 season. The Tigers were undefeated at home during two of those seasons, going 7-0 in both 2000 and 2004.

Auburn has been tough to beat in night games at Jordan-Hare Stadium, including victories this season over each of its first four opponents. The Tigers have accumulated a record of 19-3 since the 2000 season in home games starting at 6 p.m. or later. That stretch includes a 4-1 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.

Auburn is one of just two teams in the Southeastern Conference that is playing three non-conference games this season against teams that went to bowl games last season. South Carolina is the other.

Auburn opened the season with Louisiana Tech, which won the Independence Bowl last season. The Tigers' second non-conference game was against West Virginia, which defeated North Carolina in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. The following week the Tigers hosted Ball State, which fell to Gus Malzahn's Tulsa team in the GMAC Bowl, 45-13.

This season Auburn is debuting a new weekly 30-minute show offering fans a reality-based, behind the scenes style production that will chronicle the inner-workings of the Tigers' football program through the entire 2009 season. The program follows the high and lows of competing as an SEC football player, with wired up coaches and players and exclusive interviews.

The show may be viewed across the state of Alabama and the Southeast on television stations as well as the Comcast Sports Southeast (CSS) regional cable network. The show will also be streamed via the internet at The show will air either Friday nights or Saturday mornings in all markets.

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.

CSS is a 24-hour regional sports network serving approximately 5.8 million households across 12 Southeastern states.



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