AUBURN (5-3, 2-3 SEC) VS. #24/22/23 OLE MISS (5-2, 2-2 SEC)
OCTOBER 31, 2009 11:21 AM CT TV: SEC NETWORK
JORDAN-HARE STADIUM (87,451) AUBURN, AL
Gene Chizik (Florida, 1985)
Auburn Record 5-3 (1st year)
vs. Ole Miss First meeting
Overall Record 10-22 (3rd year)
vs. Ole Miss First meeting
Houston Nutt (Oklahoma State, 1981)
Ole Miss Record 14-6 (2nd year)
vs. Auburn 1-0
Overall Record 125-76 (17th year)
vs. Auburn 6-5
Auburn leads, 24-9
at Auburn AU leads, 11-2
at Oxford AU leads, 8-2
Neutral sites Series tied, 5-5
at Birmingham, AL UM leads, 1-0
at Jackson, MS AU leads, 3-0
at Jacksonville, FL AU leads, 1-0
at Memphis, TN UM leads, 2-0
at Mobile, AL UM leads, 1-0
at Montgomery, AL Series tied, 1-1
Last Meeting UM 17, AU 7
Nov. 1, 2008 in Oxford
Current Streak UM, 1
Auburn Not ranked
Ole Miss 24 AP/22 USA Today/23 Harris
TELEVISION - SEC NETWORK
Dave Neal Play-by-play
Andre Ware Analyst
Cara Capuano Sidelines
RADIO - AUBURN ISP SPORTS NETWORK
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.
SATELITTE RADIO XM Channel 199
LOCALLY WKKR-FM (97.7)
Live audio & stats www.auburntigers.com
Auburn plays its first Halloween game since 1998 when the Tigers host Ole Miss in an SEC West showdown Saturday. Auburn has won the last two meetings in Jordan-Hare Stadium. The game will kick off at 11:21 a.m. CT and be televised by the SEC Network.
* Auburn leads the series 24-9, and holds an 11-2 edge in games played in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
* Auburn will be playing just its second game ever against a team ranked 24th in the Associated Press Top 25 poll. The previous game was a 1996 Independence Bowl victory over Army.
* Auburn will be playing its first home day game of the season. The Tigers have already played a school-record five night games at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
* Auburn is seventh in the nation in rushing offense (230.4), 19th in total offense (430.9) and tied for 26th in scoring offense (31.8).
* If Auburn plays in a bowl game, the Tigers' current pace of 430.9 yards per game would result in a school-record 5,601 yards of offense by the end of the season.
* Auburn has scored touchdowns on 69.2 percent of its red zone trips (18 of 26), which ranks third in the SEC.
* Auburn has only allowed nine sacks through eight games this season, which is tied for 20th best in the nation.
* Ben Tate ranks 11th nationally in rushing (115.4), and has five 100-yard rushing games this season.
* Tate ranks fifth in school history in rushing (2,882 yards) and needs just 77 more to post the 18th 1,000-yard rushing season in school history.
* Auburn has 14 touchdown passes this season, including 12 from Chris Todd. Last year, Auburn had just seven touchdown passes as a team during the entire season.
* Sophomore Darvin Adams and junior Terrell Zachery have combined for 48 catches for 798 yards and nine touchdowns. They entered this season with a combined five catches for 42 yards and no scores.
* Wes Byrum ranks tied for second nationally in field goal percentage (91.7) among kickers who have attempted at least 10 field goals.
* Junior linebackers Craig Stevens (69 tackles) and Josh Bynes (67) rank fourth and fifth, respectively, in the SEC in tackles.
* Antonio Coleman leads the team with seven tackles for loss, and ranks sixth in school history with 18 career quarterback sacks.
AUBURN-OLE MISS SERIES NOTES
This is the 20th consecutive year that the two schools have faced each other ... Auburn has won the last two meetings in Jordan-Hare Stadium since the Rebels' last victory in Auburn in 2003 ... The last two meetings have been the two lowest-scoring games in the series since 1998 ... The two teams scored a total of 44 points in the last two games combined, after seven of the previous eight games saw the teams combine for at least 40 points ... The largest margin of victory in the series is 41 points when the Tigers defeated the Rebels, 41-0, in 1985 ... Auburn has scored a rushing touchdown in 26 of the last 27 meetings (1999 the only exception) in the series ... Auburn has had 20 rushing touchdowns in the last nine games against Ole Miss, while the Rebels have just six rushing TDs during that span, including only two in the last seven years ... Ole Miss' 233 yards rushing in last year's game was 54 more than the Rebels had in the three previous meetings combined ... There have been three shutouts in the series, all in games won by Auburn.
OLE MISS CONNECTIONS
* Auburn defensive line coach Tracy Rocker coached the Ole Miss defensive line for Houston Nutt in 2008. Rocker also coached the defensive line for Nutt at Arkansas from 2003-07.
* Ole Miss defensive line coach Terry Price held the same position at Auburn from 1999-2008. Price and Rocker are also cousins.
* Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn was the offensive coordinator for Houston Nutt at Arkansas during the 2006 season.
* Auburn running backs coach Curtis Luper played running back at Oklahoma State from 1984-87 while Houston Nutt was the Cowboys' wide receivers coach. Rebels running game coordinator/offensive line coach Mike Markuson was a graduate assistant on the staff during Luper's final season in 1987.
* Ole Miss special teams coordinator/tight ends coach James Shibest coached former Auburn players Rudi Johnson (RB) and Daniel Cobb (QB) at Butler County CC. Shibest was a receiver at Arkansas from 1983-86 and had five catches for 84 yards and a touchdown in a 21-15 loss to Auburn in the 1984 Liberty Bowl.
* Ole Miss linebacker Patrick Trahan spent two years at Auburn, redshirting in 2005 before playing in 12 games in 2006, collecting 11 tackles including one tackle for loss.
Six members of the Ole Miss squad are from the state of Alabama: redshirt freshman LB Josh Lancaster (Mobile), redshirt freshman S Griffin Littlefield (Pike Road), sophomore WR Vincent Moss (Munford), freshman LB D.T. Shackleford (Decatur), freshman RB Tim Simon (Cordova) and redshirt freshman OL Joshua Tatum (Marbury).
OLE MISS QUICK HITTERS
Ole Miss is off to its best start since 2003 with a 5-2 record ... Over its last 11 games, Ole Miss is averaging 35.7 points per outing ... The Rebels rolled up 553 yards of offense and 31 first downs during a 30-17 victory over Arkansas last Saturday ... Dexter McCluster had career highs of 123 yards rushing and 137 yards receiving against Arkansas, becoming the first Rebel in the modern era to have 100 yards rushing and receiving in the same game ... Quarterback Jevan Snead has thrown multiple TD passes in 11 of his last 13 games ... Ole Miss ranks ninth nationally in scoring defense (13.6), 14th in pass defense (166.9) and 20th in total defense (300.0) ... The Rebels also lead the SEC and rank 11th nationally in sacks (3.0 per game) ... Kicker Joshua Shene is a perfect 8-of-8 on field goal attempts this year.
ON THIS DATE
Auburn has an all-time record of 6-6-1 on Oct. 31. The Tigers have not played on Halloween since 1998, when Auburn fell 24-21 at Jordan-Hare Stadium to No. 14 Arkansas. From 1953-1987, Auburn played six times on Halloween, all against Florida, and won five of the contests. The last of those contests, in 1987, was a 29-6 rout of the No. 10 Gators by No. 6 Auburn in front of a then-school record crowd of 85,187 and a national television audience. That streak also included a 1970 contest in which the Tigers set a school record that still stands, throwing for 442 yards in a 63-14 victory over Florida.
Auburn, which earlier this season concluded its sixth consecutive winning month of September, is 289-149-18 (.654) all-time in the month of October. The Tigers are 24-11 (.686) in their last 34 games in October.
VS. TEAMS RANKED 24TH
Auburn will be playing just its second game ever against a team ranked 24th in the Associated Press Top 25 poll. The only previous time that Auburn played a team ranked No. 24 was when the Tigers faced Army in the 1996 Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La. Auburn won the game by a score of 32-29.
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 269-68-7 (.792) all-time at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Auburn has had nine straight winning seasons at Jordan-Hare Stadium, posting a mark of 55-14 (.797) 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.
FIRST HOME DAY GAME
Auburn will be playing its sixth home game of the season against Ole Miss, but it will be the first game to start prior to 6 p.m. CT. The Tigers opened with five straight home night games, marking the most night games in a season in Jordan-Hare Stadium in history. The Tigers also played two of their first three road games at night, giving the Tigers seven night games already this season.
Auburn's only other day game was an 11 a.m. CT game at Arkansas, meaning that none of the Tigers' first nine games will start between noon and 6 p.m. CT.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES
Auburn has 3,447 yards of offense in eight games this year, which is just 188 yards less than the Tigers had all of season last year (3,635). The Tigers have shown drastic improvement in every offensive category this season. Averages and NCAA rankings from major offensive categories are shown below:
2009 2008 Scoring 31.8 (T26th) 17.3 (T110th) Total offense 430.9 (19th) 302.9 (104th) Rushing offense 230.4 (7th) 137.5 (69th) Passing offense 200.5 (78th) 165.4 (99th) First downs 20.9 (33rd) 16.5 (102nd) Red zone offense 92.3 (T13th) 57.1 (119th)
RECORD PACE FOR OFFENSE
Auburn's average of 430.9 yards per game would rank as the fourth highest single-season average in Auburn history, and the highest since 1995. If the Tigers maintain their pace, Auburn would finish the regular season with 5,171 yards, which would be the second most in school history. Should the Tigers play in a bowl game as well, that average would equate to a school-record total of 5,601 yards. The current school record for yards in a season is 5,469, set in 2004.
Auburn ranks seventh nationally in rushing offense, averaging 230.4 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's current pace of 230.4 yards per game would rank as the 10th-best single-season average in school history. If the Tigers maintained that pace, the 2765 yards accumulated by Auburn by the end of the regular season would be the seventh most in school history.
200+ GROUND GAMES
Auburn has already posted six games with at least 200 yards rushing. That total already equals the number of 200-yard rushing games that Auburn had in the two previous seasons combined. Auburn had four 200-yard rushing games in 2007, and just two in 2008.
PUTTING UP POINTS
Auburn ranks tied for 26th nationally in scoring offense at 31.8 points per game, and more impressively, it took Auburn just six games this season to score more points than it did in all 12 games last season. Auburn scored 208 points last year, and already has 254 this season.
Auburn scored 40+ points in three straight games against Mississippi State, West Virginia and Ball State, marking the first time the Tigers have ever scored 40 or more points in three consecutive contests.
BIG MAN TATE
Running back Ben Tate is having a stellar senior season, ranking second in the SEC and 11th nationally averaging 115.4 yards per game. Tate has five 100-yard rushing games this season, which is the most by an Auburn player since Kenny Irons had eight in 2005. Tate has also added 13 catches for 66 yards and five kick returns for 139 yards (27.8 yards per return). His average of 141.0 all-purpose yards per game ranks 29th nationally. With 923 yards rushing, Tate has easily surpassed his rushing total from last year, when he led the team with 664 yards. He needs just 77 more yards rushing to post the 18th 1,000-yard rushing season in Auburn history.
Tate ranks fifth in Auburn history with 2,882 career rushing yards. He needs 486 more to catch Joe Cribbs for fourth.
O-LINE PAVES THE WAY
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 97 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 nine quarterback sacks this season, which is tied for 20th nationally. Virtually the same group last year surrendered 21 sacks.
Auburn has demonstrated a knack for making big plays this year, with nine plays of at least 46 yards, including six of at least 60. Chris Todd has thrown passes of 93, 65 and 46 yards to Terrell Zachery and 82 yards to Mario Fannin. Onterio McCalebb has runs of 62 and 48 yards, Ben Tate and Zachery both have runs of 60 yards and Neil Caudle had a 52-yard scamper. Last season, Auburn had just four plays all year that covered at least 46 yards, and none that went for 60.
Senior quarterback Chris Todd has shown drastic improvement this season after offseason shoulder surgery. He has established a career high in passing yards three times this year, 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 in an overtime game 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 a two-week span were two more than Auburn had as a team during the entire 2008 season.
Todd ranks 28th in the nation in yards per completion (13.07) and 45th nationally in passing efficiency (133.71). His 12 touchdown passes are tied for 30th most in the NCAA.
Year Cmp-Att-Int Pct. Yds TD Eff. 2008 86-156-6 55.1 903 5 106.64 2009 114-204-3 55.9 1490 12 133.71
FROM A TO Z
Sophomore Darvin Adams and junior Terrell Zachery were a pair of unknown wideouts prior to the season, but both have had breakout seasons. Adams leads the team in catches (28), receiving yards (444) and touchdown receptions (five), while Zachery has 20 grabs for 354 yards (17.7 ypc) and four touchdowns. The duo entered this season with a combined five catches for 42 yards during the course of their careers.
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. Zachery's four TD receptions have averaged 53.8 yards this year, including a school-record 93-yarder.
THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT
Auburn's offense has excelled at both striking quickly and putting together sustained drives. The Tigers have had 17 scoring drives that used less than two minutes on the clock, including 14 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 eight scoring drives of at least 10 plays this season, including four that took at least 13 plays. Last year, Auburn only had two scoring drives all season that used at least 13 plays.
FIRST DOWN FLURRY
Auburn is currently 33rd nationally in first downs per game, averaging 20.9. The Tigers have had at least 20 first downs in five games this year, including 29 against Mississippi State and 27 against Louisiana Tech. 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 not only been explosive, it has been consistent. The Tigers have scored at least once in 26 of 32 quarters this season, and started the season by scoring in the first 20 quarters of the year. Auburn has scored a touchdown in 21 of the 32 quarters played this year, including a streak of 14 in a row earlier this season.
GOING FOR SIX IN THE RED ZONE
Auburn's offense has been efficient in the red zone, as the Tigers have not only scored on 24 of 26 possessions in the red zone (92.3), which ranks tied for 13th in the nation, but 18 of the 24 scores have been touchdowns. Auburn's TD percentage of 69.2 ranks third in the SEC behind only Ole Miss and Kentucky. Ten of the scores have come on the ground and eight through the air.
BUSINESS AS UNUSUAL FOR MALZAHN
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).
In the last three seasons, his teams have reached at least 400 yards of offense in 30 of 36 games (85.7 percent).
BYRUM ON TARGET
Junior Wes Byrum has excelled during his junior season, connecting on 12-of-13 field goals and all 30 extra point attempts. Among kickers who have attempted at least 10 field goals, Byrum's percentage of .923 ranks tied for second nationally, and no kicker who has attempted as many field goals as Byrum has a better percentage. Byrum, who ranks fifth in school history with 40 career made field goals, is tied for third in the SEC with 12 field goals and tied for second in scoring with 66 points. He made a career-high four field goals in a 26-22 win at Tennessee, earning SEC Special Teams Player of the Week honors.
DEFENSE HOLDING TOUGH
Auburn's offense has stolen most of the headlines, but the defensive unit has performed admirably despite a rash of injuries.
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 eight games, DL Zach Clayton for four games, DE Antonio Carter and DB D'Antoine Hood for three games each and LB Eltoro Freeman for two games.
TOTALING THE TAKEAWAYS
Auburn ranks tied for 30th in the nation with nine interceptions and tied for 38th with 15 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 interceptions. Auburn picked off five passes against West Virginia, marking the first time since 2004 (at Tennessee) that Auburn intercepted five passes in a game.
JUNIOR LINEBACKERS LEAD DEFENSE
A pair of experienced junior linebackers have stepped up to lead Auburn defensively this season. Craig Stevens leads the team and ranks fourth in the SEC with 69 tackles, while Josh Bynes is fifth with 67. Last year Stevens had 54 tackles all season, and Bynes had 53. Both players have also recorded interceptions, while Stevens is tied for second on the team with 5.5 tackles for loss and Bynes recorded a safety against Ball State. Stevens has recorded double-digit tackles in three games this season, including a career high 12 at Arkansas.
COLEMAN MAKES AN IMPACT
Antonio Coleman, a first-team preseason All-SEC selection, has 30 tackles including a team bests of 7.0 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks, an interception which he returned for a touchdown against Mississippi State and a fumble recovery. Coleman ranks sixth in school history with 18.0 career sacks, and his seven tackles for loss this year is tied for ninth in the SEC.
YOUNG GUNS GET FIRST ACTION
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, DS Josh Harris, DE Robert Hill, RB Davis Hooper, DL Chris Humphries, TE Philip Lutzenkirchen, DL Derrick Lykes, RB Onterio McCalebb, DB Ikeem Means, OL Andrew Parmer, 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, 12 players have made their first career starts: WR Darvin Adams, DB Daren Bates, OL Bart Eddins, 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.
Auburn has had 19 freshmen (14 true, five redshirt) play this season. Three true freshman have earned starts this season, including safety Daren Bates, who has started all seven games. Running back Onterio McCalebb and offensive guard John Sullen have started one game each. The 14 true freshmen that have played include: Bates, McCalebb, Sullen, WR Deangelo Benton, WR Emory Blake, LB Jonathan Evans, DE Dee Ford, LB Harris Gaston, WR Anthony Gulley, TE Philip Lutzenkirchen, DB Ikeem Means, DB Blake Poole, WR Travante Stallworth and DL Jamar Travis.
Auburn has had to come from behind in four of its five 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.
Of Auburn's 12 seniors, eight have seen time in at least 30 games during their careers, including five with at least 40 games under their belt. Tommy Trott leads the group, having played in 47 career games, including 45 of a possible 46 over the past four seasons. Gabe McKenzie is the only player who has played in all 46 games since 2006. Antonio Coleman is next with 45 games played, followed by Walter McFadden (44 games), Ben Tate (42), Jake Ricks (39) and Andrew McCain (35).
Junior Lee Ziemba has the longest staring streak on the Auburn squad, having started all 33 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 23 straight contests, while junior Craig Stevens has 21 straight starts under his belt.
Senior Walter McFadden has the fifth-longest streak, having started every game since the start of the 2008 season (20 straight).
30+ POINTS EQUALS VICTORY
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.
WHEN SCORING 20+ POINTS
In the last 10 seasons, Auburn is 76-9 (.894) when scoring 20 or more points in a game. Dating back to the start of the 1993 season, Auburn is 119-16-1 (.879) when scoring 20 or more points in a game.
WINNING THE CLOSE ONES
Auburn has had a knack for winning close games in recent seasons. Since the 2003 Capitol One Bowl, Auburn is 19-10 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 19 wins were by three points or less, with just four losses coming by that margin.
Auburn 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 also totaled 400 yards Sept. 19 against West Virginia, 560 yards Sept. 26 against Ball State and 459 yards Oct. 3 at Tennessee. It marked the first time Auburn had five straight games with at least 400 yards of offense since games 6-10 of the 1994 season.
A NIGHT OF FIRSTS
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. He had 148 in the opener against Louisiana Tech and 114 against MSU.
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.
TOP SEC OPENER TOTAL
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.
SCORES IN THREE STRAIGHT FOR THE D
Auburn's defense scored points defensively in three straight games for the first time since available data dating back to 1967. Antonio Coleman returned an interception 20 yards for a score against Mississippi State, Craig Stevens had a 15-yard interception return for a TD against West Virginia and Josh Bynes recorded a safety against Ball State.
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.
Gene Chizik won his first five games as head coach at Auburn, which made him a part of 20 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. The 20 straight victories matches the longest winning streak by any Auburn head coach or assistant coach in school history.
Chizik, who was part of 12 straight wins at Jordan-Hare Stadium during the stretch, is just the third coach in Auburn history to win his first five games as head coach. Terry Bowden won his first 20 games from 1993-94, and Mike Donahue went 5-0 in 1904 before losing the 1905 season opener.
Chizik also became just the third SEC coach since the conference expanded in 1992 to win his first five games, joining Bowden and Houston Nutt, who won his first eight games at Arkansas.
AUBURN BY THE NUMBERS
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.
THE SENIOR CLASS
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.
Auburn began the season with eight graduates on its roster, which was tied for fifth most among all FBS schools.
The Tiger graduates included: 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
Four members of the Auburn team have been named to 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 and Chris Todd have been named to the Maxwell Award watch list, for the nation's outstanding player, wihle Todd has also been added to the Manning Award watch list. 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.
RUNNING BACK FACTORY
Auburn has produced four running backs that are currently on NFL rosters, which is tied for most in the NFL according to information compiled by www.kickoffzone.com. Ronnie Brown, Heath Evans, Tony Richardson and Carnell Williams are all former Tigers who are currently in the NFL. The list also does not include former Tiger Brandon Jacobs, who lettered at Auburn in 2003 before transfering to Southern Illinois. Only three other schools (LSU, Miami (Fla.) and Texas) have produced four current NFL running backs.
UNDER THE LIGHTS AT JORDAN-HARE
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 19-4 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.
AUBURN FOOTBALL: EVERY DAY ...
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 www.auburntigers.com. 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.