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NO. 18/19 AUBURN (5-2, 3-1 SEC) vs. NO. 5/5 LSU (6-1, 3-1 SEC)
TIGER STADIUM (92,400) BATON ROUGE, LA
OCTOBER 20, 2007 8 PM CT TV: ESPN
GAME 8 QUICK FACTS
Tommy Tuberville (Southern Arkansas, 1976)
Auburn Record 76-31 (9th year)
vs. LSU 5-3
Career Record 101-51 (13th year)
vs. LSU 7-5
Les Miles (Michigan, 1976)
LSU Record 28-5 (3rd year)
vs. Auburn 1-1
Overall Record 56-26 (6th year)
LSU leads, 21-19-1
at Auburn AU leads, 9-5
at Baton Rouge LSU leads, 12-5-1
Neutral sites AU leads, 5-4
at Birmingham, AL AU leads, 3-2
at Mobile, AL AU leads, 2-0
at Montgomery, AL LSU leads, 2-0
Last Meeting AU 7, LSU 13
Sept. 16, 2006 in Auburn, AL
Current Streak AU, 1
Auburn 18 AP/19 USA Today/19 Harris/17 BCS
LSU 5 AP/5 USA Today/5 Harris/4 BCS
Play-by-play Mike Patrick
Analyst Todd Blackledge
Sidelines Holly Rowe
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.
SATELITTE RADIO SIRIUS 125
LOCALLY WKKR-FM (97.7)
Live audio & stats www.auburntigers.com
Auburn and LSU meet in a key SEC Western Division showdown Saturday at 8 p.m. CT in Tiger Stadium, in a game that will be nationally televised by ESPN. The two teams are tied for first in the SEC West with Alabama, with the winner of Saturday night's game getting a leg up on the competition to represent the division at the SEC Championship game in Atlanta. In five of the last seven seasons, the winner of the Auburn-LSU game played in the SEC Championship game.
* The last three Auburn-LSU games have been decided by a total of eight points.
* Auburn is 2-0 in road games this year and has now won eight consecutive SEC road games.
* Over the past five seasons, Auburn has the nation's second-best record in games played away from home (road or neutral site games) with a mark of 19-5 (.792).
* Over the last four seasons, Auburn has the fourth-best record out of all Football Bowl Subdivision teams with a mark of 38-7 (.844).
* Auburn is 3-0 this season in games nationally televised by ESPN, with victories over Kansas State, Florida and Arkansas.
* Auburn has won nine of its last 10 games against teams ranked in the Associated Press top 10.
* Auburn is ranked ninth nationally in total defense (279.0), 10th in scoring defense (15.6) and is 12th in passing defense (169.7).
* In its previous two road games, Auburn held Florida and Arkansas to an average of 33.9 points and 260.2 yards below their season averages entering the games.
* During Will Muschamp's
two seasons as defensive coordinator, Auburn has held 17 of its 20 opponents to 20 points or less.
* Auburn has a turnover ratio of +7 in its five victories and -9 in its two losses.
* Auburn has scored on its opening drive in each of the last three games, averaging 12.3 plays, 77.7 yards and 6:08 time of possession.
* Brandon Cox
has led Auburn on three game-winning scoring drives in the closing minutes this season, including victories over Kansas State, Florida and Arkansas.
* Auburn started three true freshmen on the offensive line each of the past four games, and has played 26 freshmen this season (15 true, 11 redshirt).
* Of Auburn's 179 points scored this season, 137 (76.5 percent) have been scored by underclassmen.
* Auburn has outscored its opponents 62-16 in the second quarter this season.
* Auburn has won 14 of its last 18 games decided by seven points or less.
LSU QUICK HITTERS
LSU has the nation's No. 2-ranked defense, allowing just 223.1 yards per game ... The Tigers are 10th nationally in rushing offense, averaging 232.1 yards per game ... LSU is No. 2 in the nation in turnover margin at +13 (19-6) ... LSU had a streak of 25 straight games with at least one sack broken during the loss to Kentucky last Saturday ... LSU has won 17 straight games at Tiger Stadium and 27 of its last 28 ... Les Miles has an 11-5 record at LSU in games against nationally-ranked teams ... LSU has five players that have rushed for at least 200 yards this season ... Junior kicker Colt David leads the SEC in scoring, averaging 10.3 points per game ... Six different Tigers have at least four tackles for losses this season.
AUBURN-LSU SERIES NOTES
The visiting team won four consecutive games from 1996-99, but the home team has won the last seven meetings from 2000-06 ... In the last three meetings, the winning team has averaged just 12.3 points per game, after the winning team had scored at least 31 points in the six previous games ... Six of the last 12 games have been decided by a touchdown or less, including the last three in a row ... Dating back to 1973, only five of the 19 meetings have been decided by 14 points or more ... The winning team posted shutouts in nine of the first 11 meetings in the series ... Auburn's secondary has picked off 18 passes in AU's last seven wins over LSU, including six in 1994.
AUBURN TIGERS FROM LOUISIANA
The 2007 Auburn roster contains two players who call Louisiana home: sophomore OL Jackson Timmerman (Rehobeth) and senior CB Jonathan Wilhite (Monroe).
LSU TIGERS FROM ALABAMA
There are four members of the LSU squad who hail from the state of Alabama: freshman DE Sidell Corley, senior CB Chevis Jackson and freshman DB Phelon Jones are all from Mobile, while freshman TE J.D. Lott is from Hoover.
* Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp held the same position at LSU from 2001-04. Nine seniors of this year's LSU defense played under Muschamp while he was at LSU.
* Auburn tight ends coach Steve Ensminger was a quarterback at LSU from 1976-79 and graduated from LSU in 1982. Ensminger was born in Baton Rouge.
* LSU Assistant AD/Football Operations Dr. Sam Nadar was a quarterback at Auburn from 1963-67. Nadar received his undergraduate degree from Auburn in 1967 and his master's from AU in 1969.
* LSU Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coordinator Jimmy Brumbaugh was a defensive lineman for Auburn from 1995-99, earning first-team All-SEC honors in 1997 and second-team accolades in 1996.
Ten of the last 17 meetings in the Auburn-LSU series since 1988 have been decided by less than a touchdown. And like all good Southern football series, many of those games have earned memorable titles. Examples:
1988: LSU scored with 1:41 remaining to down fourth-ranked Auburn, 7-6. The noise from the Tiger Stadium crowd registered on a campus seismograph, thus earning the contest the title of "Earthquake Game."
1994: Auburn returned three of its five fourth-quarter interceptions for touchdowns to rally from a two-touchdown deficit and win 30-26. Auburn and LSU fans alike still recall the "Interception Game."
1995: Wearing the traditional white jerseys at home for the first time in 13 years, LSU stunned fifth-ranked Auburn, 12-6, when Troy Twillie intercepted Patrick Nix's 11-yard pass into the end zone with no time remaining. The 1997 LSU media guide referred to this game under the heading "Bring Back The Magic."
1996: "The Night The Barn Burned" will long be remembered on the Plains. As the old Auburn Sports Arena burned just outside Jordan-Hare Stadium, LSU defeated Auburn 19-15. After missing three field goals and an extra point, Auburn cut LSU's lead to 17-15 with :38 remaining, but Jon Cooley's two-point pass attempt was picked off by Raion Hill, who returned it the other way for two points.
1997: Dameyune Craig led Auburn on an 80-yard, 10-play drive in the game's final three minutes to deliver a 31-28 upset of 10th-ranked LSU in "The Comeback." Rusty Williams capped the drive on a 1-yard touchdown plunge with :30 remaining. LSU attempted a 65-yard FG on the game's final play, but Quinton Reese blocked it to seal the Auburn win.
2004: With the threat of Hurricane Ivan looming, members of the Auburn football team spent Wednesday though Friday nights in hotels as the Auburn University campus was closed, but the game went on as scheduled. The seemingly automatic extra point proved to be a challenge for both teams, but a second chance for Auburn allowed the Tigers to emerge with a 10-9 win in "The Extra Point Game." LSU missed the PAT after its first-quarter touchdown, but still led 9-3 late in the game. After Courtney Taylor hauled in a 16-yard score with just 1:14 left to tie the score, Auburn missed its extra point. An LSU personal foul gave John Vaughn a second chance, and he delivered the winning point.
2005: The first overtime game between the two teams was won by LSU, 20-17, when John Vaughn's 39-yard field goal attempt bounced off the left upright. A 30-yard field goal by LSU's Chris Jackson to start the overtime turned out to be the winning points. Jackson forced overtime with a 44-yard field goal with just 1:40 left, moments after Auburn had taken a 17-14 lead on a 5-yard pass from Brandon Cox to Anthony Mix on fourth down with 4:52 left.
2006: A battle between two top-10 teams proved to be a defensive slugfest, as Brandon Cox's 1-yard quarterback sneak in the third quarter was the only touchdown in a 7-3 Auburn victory. No. 3 Auburn held off two late scoring chances for No. 6 LSU, as Eric Brock ended one drive by tipping away a fourth-down pass, then tackled Craig Davis on the 4-yard line on the game's final play to preserve the victory.
In all, 19 of the 41 games played between the two schools have been decided by a touchdown or less, with the teams tied 9-9-1 in those games.
TUB VS. THE BAYOU BENGALS
Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville is 7-5 against LSU and his squads have scored at least 30 points in five of those wins. Tuberville guided Ole Miss to victories over LSU in 1997 at Baton Rouge (36-21) and 1998 in Oxford (37-31). In 1999, Tuberville's Auburn squad won at LSU, 41-7, and claimed victories in Auburn in 2000 (34-17) and 2002 (31-7). A 10-9 victory in 2004 was the first Tuberville win in which his team did not score at least 30 points, and was followed by last season's 7-3 victory.
Tuberville-coached teams have averaged 23.5 points (235 total) in the last 10 games against LSU, scoring at least 34 points in four of those contests.
SEC'S TOP DEFENSES COLLIDE
The top two defenses in the SEC will be on the field when Auburn visits LSU. LSU is ranked No. 1 in the SEC in total defense (223.1) and scoring defense (14.1), while Auburn is ranked No. 2 in each (279.0, 15.6). LSU is also No. 1 in rushing defense (68.0) while Auburn ranks third (109.3), and in pass defense, LSU is No. 2 (155.1) and Auburn is No. 4 (169.7). LSU has also allowed the fewest first downs per game (14.3) while Auburn ranks second (15.9)
TALE OF THE TIGERS
Auburn and LSU have had as much success as any teams in the SEC in recent years. Since 2000, Auburn has the best record in the SEC in conference games with a mark of 45-15, while LSU is in second just one game back at 44-16. Since 2004, Auburn has the best overall record in the league (38-7), with LSU one game back (37-8). The winner of the Auburn-LSU game has represented the SEC West in Atlanta for the SEC Championship game five times in the last seven years (Auburn in 2000 and 2004, LSU in 2001, 2003 and 2005). LSU won a national championship in 2003, while Auburn posted an undefeated season in 2004.
Over the past five seasons, Auburn has the nation's second-best record in games played away from home (road or neutral site games). The Tigers are 19-5 (.792) since the start of the 2003 season outside of Jordan-Hare Stadium, trailing only USC (26-4, .867), with Boise State (21-6, .778) in third. In SEC games, Auburn has won eight straight road games, and is 14-1 against SEC teams outside of Auburn since the 2004 season.
TIGERS TOUGH ON TOP TEN
Auburn has won nine of its last 10 games against teams ranked in the Associated Press top 10, including a 20-17 win Sept. 29 against No. 4 Florida, and wins last season against then-No. 2 Florida and then-No. 6 LSU. The Tigers have won five straight games against top-ten teams and six straight at home. The only loss against a top-10 team since the 2004 season came in overtime at LSU in 2005 by a 20-17 score.
Also in 2005, Auburn posted victories at No. 9 Georgia (31-30) and against No. 8 Alabama (28-18). In 2004, Auburn defeated No. 5 LSU (10-9), No. 10 Tennessee (34-10), No. 8 Georgia (24-6) and No. 9 Virginia Tech (16-13) in the NOKIA Sugar Bowl.
During the Tommy Tuberville era, Auburn is 15-10 in games played against top 10 teams, and has won 15 of its last 20 games dating back to a 23-20 upset of No. 1-ranked Florida Oct. 13, 2001.
Dating back to the 2002 season, Auburn has played 19 games against top 10 teams.
TOPPLING THE TOP TEN
Auburn's 20-17 victory at No. 4 Florida Sept. 29 allowed the Tigers to keep an impressive streak alive, as the Tigers have now beaten at least one Associated Press Top 10 team every year for the last seven years, which is the longest streak in school history. The Tigers have 14 victories over Top 10 foes in those seven seasons.
The streak started in 2001 with a 23-20 victory over No. 1 Florida. In 2002, Auburn beat No. 10 LSU (31-7) and won at No. 9 Alabama (17-7). In 2003, the Tigers beat No. 7 Tennessee (28-21), then beat the new No. 7 team, Arkansas, the following week (10-3).
In 2004, Auburn defeated No. 5 LSU (10-9), No. 10 Tennessee (34-10), No. 8 Georgia (24-6) and No. 9 Virginia Tech (16-13). The 2005 season included wins against No. 9 Georgia (31-30) and No. 8 Alabama (28-18), and in 2006 Auburn beat No. 6 LSU (7-3) and No. 2 Florida (27-17).
VS. TEAMS RANKED NO. 5
Auburn has a 4-6-1 all-time record against teams ranked No. 5 in the Associated Press poll. The last time Auburn played a fifth-ranked team was in 2004, when LSU was ranked No. 5 and fell at Auburn, 10-9, to propel Auburn to a 13-0 season. When Auburn is ranked and plays a No. 5 team, the Tigers are 4-1-1.
ON THIS DATE
Auburn owns an all-time record of 8-6 in games played on Oct. 20, and has won six in a row. Auburn's last eight games played on this date have all been against non-conference foes, and from 1951-84, all six games that Auburn played on Oct. 20 were against Georgia Tech. The last time Auburn played on Oct. 20 was in 2001, when the Tigers beat Louisiana Tech, 48-41 in overtime. The Tigers had a memorable game on Oct. 20, 1990, when fifth-ranked Auburn beat No. 7 Florida State, 20-17, when Jim Von Wyl kicked a 38-yard field goal with two seconds remaining.
Auburn is 286-143-18 (.660) all-time in the month of October, including a 22-12 mark under Tommy Tuberville. The Tigers are 22-6 in their last 28 games in October.
Auburn has started each of its last three games with a lengthy scoring drive. At Florida Sept. 29, the Tigers marched 86 yards on 14 plays and took 7:32 off the clock before scoring on a 6-yard run by Kodi Burns. Against Vanderbilt Oct. 6, Auburn went 80 yards on nine plays in 4:19 before Ben Tate scored from 4 yards out. Last Saturday at Arkansas, Wes Byrum's 22-yard field goal capped a 14-play, 67-yard drive that consumed 6:12.
In the last three games, Auburn's opening drive has averaged 12.3 plays for 77.7 yards while taking 6:08 off the clock.
Auburn defense has been impressive in its two road games, holding two of the SEC's top offenses far below their season averages. Sept. 29 in Gainesville, Auburn held Florida to 17 points, 312 yards of offense and 14 first downs, which was more than 32 points below their scoring average of 49.2 points per game, more than 200 yards below their average of 517.8, and 11 first downs below their average of 25 per game.
At Arkansas last Saturday, Auburn held the Razorbacks to just seven points, 193 yards including 67 rushing, and 11 first downs, which was over 35 points below their scoring average of 42.6 points per game, 314 yards below their average of 507.6 (271 yards below their rushing average of 338.4) and 12 first downs below their average of 23.4. Auburn held the nation's top rushing duo of Darren McFadden and Felix Jones to a combined 85 yards, which was 197 yards below their combined averages.
In addition, Auburn held Florida scoreless in the first half, becoming the first team to shut out the Gators in the first half since South Carolina led 3-0 at the break on Nov. 14, 1992 in Gainesville.
Brandon Cox has led Auburn on three game-winning scoring drives in the closing moments this season, and four in his career. In the season opener against Kansas State, Cox capped a six-play, 57-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Gabe McKenzie with just 2:01 left to give Auburn a 16-13 lead, before a defensive score made the final 23-13.
Cox took Auburn 35 yards in 10 plays to set up the winning 43-yard field goal on the game's final play during a 20-17 victory at Florida Sept. 29. At Arkansas, he drove Auburn 50 yards on eight plays to set up the winning 20-yard field goal with 21 seconds left in a 9-7 victory.
Cox could have had a fourth game-winning drive in the closing minutes this season after a nine-play, 51-yard drive set up a 46-yard field goal with just 2:54 left against South Florida that gave the Tigers a 20-17 lead, but the Bulls rallied to win in overtime. Cox's first late, game-winning drive came in 2005, when his 62-yard fourth-down pass to Devin Aromashodu keyed a 77-yard drive that ended with a John Vaughn 20-yard field goal with just six seconds left for a 31-30 victory at Georgia.
The Auburn defense has performed admirably, despite a rash of injuries. The Tigers have played games this season without defensive starters Tray Blackmon (four missed games), Merrill Johnson (four), Aairon Savage (three), Quentin Groves (two) and Jonathan Wilhite (one), and yet still rank ninth in the nation in total defense (279.0) and 10th in scoring defense (15.6).
NO PASSING ZONE
Despite playing non-conference games against New Mexico State (No. 13 in the NCAA in pass offense, 304.4 yards per game) and Kansas State (No. 36 in NCAA, threw 58 passes vs. AU), Auburn ranks 12th nationally in pass defense, allowing just 169.7 yards per game, and is ranked No. 11 in pass efficiency defense (100.27). The Tigers, whose defense ranks fifth nationally in yards per completion (9.1), held both Mississippi State (41 yards) and Vanderbilt (88 yards) to less than 100 yards passing this season.
20 OR LESS
Since Will Muschamp took over as defensive coordinator prior to the 2006 season, Auburn has held 17 of its 20 opponents to 20 points or less. The Tigers, who have allowed just 14.5 points per game since Muschamp's arrival, are 16-1 in games in which they hold their opponents to no more than 20 points.
Since the 2004 season, Auburn has held 36 of its 45 opponents to 20 points or less.
Auburn's senior class has had almost as much success as any in the country. Since the start of the 2004 season, Auburn has the fourth-best record in the NCAA. The Tigers are 38-7 (.844) over the last four seasons. The top teams since the 2004 season are as follows:
1. USC 41-4 .911
2. Texas 39-6 .867
3. Boise State 37-6 .860
4. Auburn 38-7 .844
5. Ohio State 37-7 .841
6. LSU 37-8 .822
7. Louisville 36-8 .819
8. West Virginia 35-8 .814
Boston College 35-8 .814
10. Virginia Tech 37-9 .804
LESTER'S MIDAS TOUCH CONTINUES
Brad Lester's ability to reach the end zone continued during his first game of the season against Vanderbilt Oct. 6, as he scored twice on just 14 touches. For his career, Lester has now scored 19 career touchdowns (16 rushing, two receiving, one kickoff return) on only 224 touches. His rate of one touchdown for every 11.8 touches easily tops Auburn's top TD scorers such as Bo Jackson (one TD every 15.3 touches), Stephen Davis (15.4), Carnell Williams (18.3), Ronnie Brown (19.3) and Joe Cribbs (21.6).
RUSHING GAME IMPROVING
The return of junior RB Brad Lester has benefitted an already improving running game for Auburn. The Tigers averaged just 93.5 yards rushing in their first two games, but have averaged 194.4 in their last five, with three games over 200 yards rushing. Four different players (Ben Tate, Mario Fannin, Brad Lester, Kodi Burns) have rushed for at least 87 yards in a game during the last five games.
TURNOVERS PROVE CRUCIAL
Turnovers have played a big role in determining Auburn's success this season. In Auburn's two losses, the Tigers committed five turnovers in each game while forcing just one total in the two games (-9 margin). In the five victories, Auburn has committed just six total turnovers while forcing 13 (+7 margin). Against New Mexico State on Sept. 22, Auburn forced six turnovers, which was the most by the Tigers since forcing six against Tennessee in 2004.
Auburn scored just seven points off turnovers in its two losses, but has 51 points off turnovers in its five wins.
COX TURNS THE CORNER
After a rough start to the season, senior QB Brandon Cox has excelled during Auburn's four-game winning streak. After three games, Cox had completed 37-of-75 (.493) passes for 436 yards, two touchdowns and six interceptions for a quarterback rating of 90.97. In the last four weeks, Cox has completed 57-of-85 (.671) passes for 628 yards, two scores and just one interception, for a quarterback rating of 134.53. With 5,943 career passing yards, Cox is now just 83 yards behind Dameyune Craig for fourth on Auburn's all-time passing yardage list, and needs only 341 yards to catch Pat Sullivan for third.
COX LEADS ALL SEC QBs IN WINS
Brandon Cox earned his 23rd career victory as a starting quarterback during Auburn's 9-7 win at Arkansas. Cox, who is 23-7 as a starter, leads all SEC quarterbacks in career victories. Tennessee's Erik Ainge is second with 21, followed by Kentucky's Andre Woodson (17).
FANTASTIC FIRST HALVES
Auburn has shut out each of its last three opponents in the first half, outscoring Florida, Vanderbilt and Arkansas by a combined score of 45-0. The last time Auburn shut out at least three consecutive teams in the first half was in 2005, when the Tigers held Mississippi State, Ball State, Western Kentucky and South Carolina without a point in the first half. In the last three games, Auburn has gained 628 yards of offense in the first half, to just 294 yards for its opponents.
SECOND QUARTER SUPERB
The second quarter has been Auburn's best quarter this season, as the Tigers have outscored their opponents 62-16 during the period. Auburn has outgained its opponents 675-412 in the second quarter and has scored during the second quarter in six of seven games, while shutting out its opponents during the quarter five times.
WINNING IN WHITE
Auburn has won its last 15 games when wearing all white following a 9-7 win at Arkansas last Saturday. Auburn has not lost when wearing white jerseys since the final road game of the 2003 season at Georgia. The Tigers went 5-0 in all white uniforms in 2004, 3-0 in 2005, 4-0 in 2006 and are 3-0 in 2007 including a 20-17 victory at then-No. 4 Florida and a 35-7 home victory over Vanderbilt, when the team wore all white to honor Auburn's 1957 national championship team. Also included in that streak is the 2004 SEC Championship game against Tennessee and a 2007 AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic victory over Nebraska. Auburn also has road wins at Alabama (twice), Ole Miss (twice), Arkansas (twice), Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, Kentucky and Mississippi State during that span.
Auburn has had 26 freshmen (15 true, 11 redshirt) play this season. The starting lineup has included four true freshmen on offense, including right tackle Lee Ziemba, right guard Chaz Ramsey, left tackle Ryan Pugh and quarterback Kodi Burns. Redshirt freshmen Craig Stevens and Zac Etheridge have started every game defensively, while redshirt freshman Mike Berry started the first three games at right guard. The kicking game features true freshman placekicker Wes Byrum as well as a redshirt freshman (Ryan Shoemaker) and a true freshman (Patrick Tatum) sharing punting duties.
On Sept. 22 vs. New Mexico State, Burns became the first true freshman to start at quarterback for the Tigers since Gabe Gross in 1998. In his 13 years as a head coach, Tommy Tuberville had never before started a true freshman at quarterback.
In addition, redshirt freshman running back Mario Fannin is second on the team in rushing, while true freshman safety Mike McNeil has collected 21 tackles.
Auburn has a lot of young talent on the squad this season, and to illustrate this point, one need look no further than the scoring column on the statistics sheet. Of Auburn's 179 points scored, 137 (76.5 percent) have been scored by freshmen and sophomores. True freshman Wes Byrum leads the team with 53 points, while redshirt freshman Mario Fannin is second with 30 points and sophomore Ben Tate is third with 24 points. True freshman Kodi Burns and sophomore Gabe McKenzie have two touchdowns each, while sophomore Antonio Coleman reached the end zone once.
FRESHMAN KICKERS SHINE
Auburn was forced to replace perhaps the nation's top kicking trio after all three kickers from last season graduated. The Tigers lost Lou Groza finalist John Vaughn, the team's all-time leading scorer with 312 career points; Kody Bliss, who ranked third in the nation in punting with a 45.7-yard average; and Matt Clark, who led the nation last season with 51 touchbacks on 66 kickoffs (77 percent). But the newcomers have excelled in the first five games.
True freshman Wes Byrum has made 11 field goals in 15 attempts, including game winners from 43 yards on the final play at No. 4 Florida Sept. 29 and 20 yards with 21 seconds at Arkansas Oct. 13. He had a season-long 49-yard field goal against South Florida and has had seven touchbacks in the last four games.
Redshirt freshman Ryan Shoemaker leads the SEC in punting, averaging 44.0 yards per punt, while true freshman Patrick Tatum has averaged 41.6 yards per punt with eight of his 13 punts downed inside the 20-yard line. Tatum was named SEC Special Teams Player of the Week against New Mexico State Sept. 22 after placing all four of his punts inside the 20-yard line and running for a first down on a fake punt.
One of the keys to Auburn's offensive success the past two weeks has been the Tigers' ability to control the ball. Entering the Florida game, Auburn had just one scoring drive of at least 10 plays, but against the Gators, all four of Auburn's scoring drives reached double digits in plays. The Tigers' opening drive of 14 plays for 86 yards in 7:32 set new season highs in plays, yards and time.
Against Vanderbilt, the Tigers had three scoring drives of at least seven plays and 74 yards, including a season-long 92-yard scoring drive that took 10 plays. Against Arkansas, all three scoring drives were at least eight plays long, including another 14-play drive.
Junior wide receiver Rodgeriqus Smith had a career night against Florida Sept. 29, setting career highs with nine catches for 102 yards. It marked the second straight game in which he set a career high in receiving yards, after totaling 86 yards and two touchdowns Sept. 22 against New Mexico State. Smith, who leads Auburn with 27 catches for 397 yards and three touchdowns this season, became the first Auburn player to catch two touchdown passes in one game since Ben Obomanu against Louisiana Tech in 2004.
Smith's 58-yard touchdown pass from Kodi Burns against the Aggies was the longest pass play of the season for Auburn, and Smith also has the team's second- and third-longest pass receptions of the season, with a 55-yard catch against Kansas State and a 36-yard reception against Mississippi State.
TUBERVILLE HITS THE CENTURY MARK
Tommy Tuberville recorded his 100th career victory as a head coach during Auburn's 35-7 win over Vanderbilt. Tuberville currently owns a career record of 101-51 in 13 seasons as a head coach. He became the fifth active SEC coach to have 100 career victories, joining Steve Spurrier, Phillip Fulmer, Rich Brooks and Houston Nutt, and just the third to earn 100 victories while coaching at an SEC school (Spurrier and Fulmer).
TUBERVILLE IN NINTH SEASON
Tommy Tuberville is in his ninth season at Auburn in 2007 and his 13th 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 are both coaching in their 15th seasons in the league this year.
Tuberville has amassed a record of 76-31 during his tenure at Auburn and has led the Tigers to seven straight bowl appearances.
Tuberville is fourth all-time at Auburn in wins, and is the fifth-longest tenured coach in school history.
Auburn games have not been lacking for excitement this season, as five of the first seven games were decided in the final two minutes. Wes Byrum's field goal on the game's final play gave Auburn a 20-17 win at No. 4 Florida Sept. 29, and his 20-yarder with 21 seconds left lifted Auburn to a 9-7 win at Arkansas Oct. 13. Against Mississippi State Sept. 15, Auburn had a potential game-winning drive stall at the Bulldog 9-yardline with just 48 seconds left. The Tigers' other loss against South Florida ended in overtime. And in Auburn's victory over Kansas State, the Tigers were clinging to a three-point lead before a fumble return for a touchdown with just 1:11 left sealed the victory.
GROVES LEADS NCAA IN CAREER SACKS
Senior Quentin Groves is the NCAA's leader among active players in career sacks with 25, despite missing the last two games with an injury. USC's Lawrence Jackson is second nationally with 24 sacks, followed by Tommy Blake of TCU with 20.
GROVES NEARING SACKS RECORD
Quentin Groves had two sacks in the season-opening victory against Kansas State, pushing his career sacks total to 25. His second sack with just over a minute left and Auburn clinging to a 16-13 lead forced a fumble that was returned 34 yards for a touchdown by Antonio Coleman, sealing the victory. Groves needs just one more sack to tie the Auburn all-time record of 26 sacks held by Gerald Robinson (1982-85).
Auburn achieved a new school first with its 20-17 victory at No. 4 Florida Sept. 29. It marked the first time in school history that an unranked Auburn team won a road game against a team ranked in the Associated Press Top 5. The Tigers had been 0-8 in those games prior to the victory over the Gators.
Including neutral site games, it was Auburn's first win as an unranked team over an AP Top 5 team away from Auburn since defeating No. 4 Tennessee, 10-6, in Birmingham, in 1972.
Including neutral site games and road games, prior to Saturday's win, Auburn was 2-21 all-time when unranked and playing an AP Top 5 team.
IN A RUSH
Auburn accomplished some rare feats in a victory over New Mexico State Sept. 22 that echoed a 2005 victory over Kentucky. Both Ben Tate (111 yards) and Mario Fannin (103 yards) went over the century mark, marking the first time since that game at Kentucky that Auburn had two 100-yard rushers in the same game. In the game at Lexington, Tristan Davis rushed for 162 yards and Kenny Irons had 103.
In addition, Fannin rushed for three touchdowns, becoming the first Auburn back since Irons in that same game at Kentucky to rush for three scores in one game. Fannin had a 67-yard touchdown run late in the game, which was the longest play from scrimmage for Auburn since Davis raced 75 yards for a score in that same game at Kentucky.
FILLING IN ADMIRABLY
Junior linebacker Chris Evans, who leads Auburn with 40 tackles this season, earned his first career start against South Florida Sept. 8. The result was the highest tackles total by an Auburn player in almost five years. Evans tallied 14 tackles (five solo, nine assists), which was the most by an Auburn player since Karlos Dansby had 14 tackles at Florida on Oct. 19, 2002. He posted a team-high eight tackles in the following game against Mississippi State, becoming the first Auburn player since Dansby in 2002 to have at least 22 tackles in two games.
SENIOR SIGNAL CALLER = SUCCESS
With senior Brandon Cox back for his third season as Auburn's starting quarterback, history would suggest that the Tigers would have a successful season. The last 10 seasons that Auburn has had a senior returning as the starter at quarterback, the Tigers have won at least eight games every year, averaging 9.7 wins per season during those campaigns. Auburn's combined record during those 10 seasons is 97-22-2, and the Tigers won SEC Championships in 1983, 1987, 1989 and 2004 and SEC Western Division Championships in 1997 and 2000.
Incidentally, Auburn went 10-0 against Georgia during those 10 seasons, and 8-2 against Alabama with seven straight wins.
Below are the last 10 seasons that Auburn has had a senior returning as the starter at quarterback:
Year Quarterback Record Notes
1979 Charlie Trotman 8-3
1983 Randy Campbell 11-1 SEC Champs
1985 Pat Washington 8-4 Cotton Bowl
1987 Jeff Burger 9-1-2 SEC Champs
1989 Reggie Slack 10-2 SEC Champs
1993 Stan White 11-0 1st 11-win season
1995 Patrick Nix 8-4 Outback Bowl
1997 Dameyune Craig 10-3 SEC West Champs
2000 Ben Leard 9-4 SEC West Champs
2004 Jason Campbell 13-0 SEC Champs
Senior quarterback Brandon Cox is not only the oldest player on the Auburn team, he's older than 18 quarterbacks currently on NFL rosters. Cox, who will turn 24 on Oct. 31, is nearly two full years older than the No. 1 pick in last year's NFL draft, JaMarcus Russell, who was born Aug. 9, 1985. Cox is the fourth-oldest starting quarterback in the Football Bowl Subdivision, being younger than only Ben Olsen of UCLA (2/23/83 DOB), Colt Brennan of Hawaii (8/16/83) and Adam Tafralis of San Jose State (8/30/83).
Now in its 68th 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 258-64-7 (.795) at Jordan-Hare Stadium, including a 44-10 (.815) mark over the past eight years. AU went 7-0 at home in both 2000 and 2004, and posted a 6-1 mark in 2005.
UNDER THE LIGHTS AT JORDAN-HARE
Auburn has been tough to beat in night games at Jordan-Hare Stadium in recent seasons, accumulating a record of 13-2 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 had a four-game winning streak in home night games prior to an overtime loss to South Florida Sept. 15.
Auburn honored its 1957 national championship team during last Saturday's game against Vanderbilt. The team wore their white road uniforms and helmets with no AU logos and gray facemasks, similar to those worn during the 1957 championship season.
The 2007 season marks the 50-year anniversary of Auburn's 1957 National Championship team. The '57 Tigers finished with a perfect 10-0 record, including a 7-0 mark in the SEC, and was selected as the national champion following the season by the Associated Press. Auburn outscored its opponents that season by a combined score of 207-28, posting six shutouts and ending the season with a 40-0 whitewashing of Alabama.
AUBURN BY THE NUMBERS
The Tigers return 49 lettermen from last season, including 21 on offense, 26 on defense and two specialists. Auburn returns five starters on offense and seven on defense.
Auburn's roster of 119 players includes 17 seniors, 23 juniors, 23 sophomores, 22 redshirt freshmen and 34 freshmen. The underclassmen (79) represent 66.4 percent of the Tigers' roster.
A number of walk-ons joined the program after the first day of classes on August 16.
13 AND COUNTING
In his 13th year as a head coach, Tommy Tuberville has five assistant coaches who have been with him all 13 years. That group includes: defensive tackles/noseguard 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 17 players this season. The Tigers' group of 17 seniors is the third most during the Tuberville era, falling behind the group of 21 from last season and the 2004 group that had 18. 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 2007 seniors include: TE Cole Bennett, SS Eric Brock, QB Brandon Cox, OT King Dunlap, DT Tez Doolittle, DB Zach Gilbert, DE Quentin Groves, DE Brandon Haley, OL Leon Hart, DB Josh Hebert, CB Patrick Lee, H Matthew Motley, RB Danny Perry, WR Prechae Rodriguez, RB Carl Stewart, DT Josh Thompson and CB Jonathan Wilhite.
Of Auburn's 17 seniors, 10 have seen time in more than 35 games during their careers, including eight with at least 40 games played. Cole Bennett and Eric Brock lead the group with 46 career games played, followed by Quentin Groves (45), while King Dunlap, Josh Thompson and Patrick Lee have seen action in 43 games. Zach Gilbert is next with 42 games played, followed by Carl Stewart (41), Leon Hart (38) and Brandon Cox (38).
Brandon Cox had a streak of 24 consecutive starts at quarterback snapped Sept. 22 against New Mexico State. He had started every game since a 2005 contest against Western Kentucky.
The longest active starting streaks now for Auburn belong to three players who started all 13 games last year and the first seven games this season. Senior Josh Thompson, junior Rodgeriqus Smith and sophomore Sen'Derrick Marks all have started the last 20 games.
A number of players have changed positions from last year entering the 2007 season.
Sen'Derrick Marks, who started all 13 games at defensive tackle last season, moved outside to a defensive end position this year.
Tristan Davis, who saw time at running back in 2005 before moving to safety last year, is once again a running back for the Tigers. Bart Eddins has moved from the defensive line back to the offensive line, while Michael Goggans moved from tight end to defensive end.
NO SHUTOUTS ALLOWED
Auburn has scored in 57 consecutive games, which is the third-longest streak in school history. The Tigers have not been shut out since a 23-0 loss to USC to open the 2003 season. The second-longest streak without being shut out is 58 games, but it would be quite a while before Auburn could challenge the school record. The Tigers scored in 149 straight games from Oct. 4, 1980 through Nov. 14, 1992.
SENIORS GO FOR NEW MARK
Each of Auburn's last two senior classes have established new school records for victories in a four-year period, and this year's class has a chance to extend that streak. The 2005 senior class tied the old mark of 39 wins in four years, before last year's class finished with a new record of 41 victories in the last four years. With 33 of those wins coming in the last three seasons, this year's class needs eight wins to tie that record and nine to become the winningest senior class in Auburn history.
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 nine seasons at the helm, Auburn is 26-12 in games decided by seven points or less and has won 14 of its last 18, including all five games last season.
FATHERS AND SONS
Senior fullback Danny Perry is the son of Director of Football Operations Jimmy Perry. The younger Perry is the first Tiger to have his father on the football staff since Joe Whitt, Jr., played wide receiver from 1998-99 while Joe Whitt, Sr., who coached at Auburn from 1981-2005, was a linebackers coach.
Previously, Gene Lorendo, an assistant coach from 1951-75, saw his son, Mac, letter at offensive tackle from 1970-72, earning All-SEC honors as a senior, and Paul Davis, an assistant coach from 1967-80 and 1987-90, watched his son, Rhett, letter at split end from 1972-73.
In addition, Auburn freshman linebacker Adam Herring is the son of Arkansas defensive coordinator Reggie Herring.
Auburn begins the season with 10 graduates on the roster, which is the third most of any Football Bowl Subdivision team.
The Tiger graduates include: TE Cole Bennett (business administration), SS Eric Brock (public administration), QB Brandon Cox (business administration), DT Tez Doolittle (criminology), DB Zach Gilbert (public administration), DE Quentin Groves (criminology), CB Patrick Lee (criminology), H Matthew Motley (exercise science), RB Carl Stewart (political science) and NG Josh Thompson (physical education).
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 2007 season.
1. Boston College 17
2. Washington 11
3. Auburn 10
4. Notre Dame 9
5. Arizona State 8
7. Ole Miss 5
10. Memphis 4
TIGERS GO HIGH DEFINITION
The most notable change to Jordan-Hare Stadium for the 2007 season is a new high definition video board above the south end zone. The $2.9 million board is the first true HD video display in the SEC and makes Auburn just the second NCAA member institution to invest in true high definition LED video capabilities. The display measure approximately 30 feet high by 74 feet wide, and exceeds 2,200 square feet. It has the capability to show a single, wide screen image, and can also be split into multiple windows to show lineups, game statistics, out-of-town game information and much more.
Auburn has demonstrated a proficiency for placing players in the National Football League. As of Aug. 21, 38 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 and Atlanta Falcons have four each.
WHEN SCORING 20+ POINTS
Under Tommy Tuberville, Auburn is 65-5 when scoring 20 or more points in a game, including a 63-4 mark in the regular season. Dating back to 1995, Auburn is 86-12 when scoring 20 or more points in a game.
30+ POINTS EQUALS VICTORY
Under Tommy Tuberville, Auburn is 42-0 when scoring 30 or more points in a game. Auburn has won 47 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 22 years, Auburn is 116-2 when scoring 30 points.
BRAMBLETT RECEIVES SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR AWARD
Rod Bramblett, who handles the play-by-play duties of Auburn football, men's basketball and baseball on the Auburn ISP Sports Network, has been named the 2007 Sportscaster of the Year in the state of Alabama by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.
A Valley, Ala., native, Bramblett became Auburn's lead announcer for football and men's basketball in 2003. Bramblett, 41, has served as the voice of Auburn baseball since 1993. This is the first time he has received this Sportscaster of the Year honor.
Bramblett is a 1988 graduate of Auburn.
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?
Cole Bennett started his freshman year at Auburn already having accumulated 27 credit hours ... Bennett was also married during the summer of 2007, joining Quentin Groves as married players on the Tigers' squad ... Oscar Gonzalez is originally from Cuba and is bilingual ... Linebacker Courtney Harden and defensive tackle Jake Ricks are brothers ... Brad Lester was a high school teammate of the Atlanta Braves' Jeff Francoeur ... Carl Stewart plays the violin ... Josh Thompson proposed to his girlfriend, Renee Steptoe of Statesboro, Ga., on the field following Auburn's 55-20 victory over New Mexico State Sept. 22 (she said yes).