Auburn Vs. Ole Miss Preview


Oct. 26, 2008

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AUBURN (4-4, 2-3 SEC) vs. OLE MISS (4-4, 2-3 SEC)
NOVEMBER 1, 2008 • 11:30 AM CT • TV: RAYCOM


Tommy Tuberville (Southern Arkansas, 1976)
Auburn Record 84-37 (10th year)
vs. Ole Miss 7-2
Overall Record 109-57 (14th year)
vs. Ole Miss 7-2

Houston Nutt (Oklahoma State, 1981)
Ole Miss Record 4-4 (1st year)
vs. Auburn 0-0
Overall Record 115-74 (16th year)
vs. Auburn 5-5

Auburn leads, 24-8
at Auburn AU leads, 11-2
at Oxford AU leads, 8-1
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 AU 17, UM 3
Oct. 27, 2007 in Auburn
Current Streak AU, 4

Auburn Not ranked
Ole Miss Not ranked

Raycom (Live)
Play-by-play Dave Neal
Analyst Dave Archer
Sidelines Dave Baker

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


Live audio & stats

Auburn returns to the road when the Tigers visit Ole Miss Saturday. Auburn has won the last four games in the series and has won on its last seven trips to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium since the Rebels' last home victory in 1992. The game will be televised by Raycom.

* Auburn is 8-1 all-time in Oxford against Ole Miss, including a 23-17 victory in its last visit in 2006.
* Tommy Tuberville was head coach at Ole Miss from 1995-98, and is 4-0 in return trips to Oxford since coming to Auburn.
* Auburn has the nation's fourth-best record in games away from home (road or neutral) since 2004 with an 18-6 (.750) mark.
* Auburn is 14-4 in SEC road games since the 2004 season.
* Auburn is 49-20 in SEC games since 2000, which is just one game behind the co-leaders for the best SEC record during that stretch.
* Auburn has had the lead at halftime in every game this season, outscoring its opponents 105-36 in the first half this year.
* Auburn has not allowed a touchdown in the first quarter all season.
* Auburn ranks second in the nation in opponents' third-down conversion percentage, surrendering just 25 first downs in 110 attempts (25.4 percent).
* Auburn ranks 13th nationally in scoring defense, allowing just 15.8 points per game.
* Auburn ranks 12th nationally in pass defense (166.0), 17th in total defense (294.3) and 19th in first downs allowed (15.8).
* Auburn is one of just 10 teams that has not allowed more than four rushing touchdowns this season.
* Auburn has nine shutouts since the 2000 season, which is tied for the SEC lead, and has played 71 consecutive games without being shut out.
* Auburn ranks fifth nationally in kickoff returns (26.5).
* Junior Antonio Coleman leads the SEC in sacks (6.0) and tackles for loss (10.5).
* Senior Robert Dunn ranks second in the nation in punt returns, averaging 21.4 yards per return.
* Senior Tristan Davis ranks 13th nationally in kickoff returns (28.4).
* Junior Ben Tate needs just 167 yards rushing to become the 13th player in Auburn history with 2,000 career rushing yards.

This is the 19th consecutive year that the two schools have faced each other ... Auburn is 8-1 all-time in Oxford ... Last year's 17-3 Auburn victory was the lowest-scoring game in the series since 1998 ... The two teams combined to score at least 40 points in seven of the previous eight contests ... 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 25 of the last 26 meetings (1999 the only exception) in the series ... Auburn has had 19 rushing touchdowns in the last eight games against Ole Miss, while the Rebels have just six rushing TDs during that span ... The Tigers have held Ole Miss to less than 100 yards rushing in nine of the last 11 meetings, including an average of 59.7 yards over the last three seasons ... There have been three shutouts in the series, all in games won by Auburn.

* Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville was the head coach at Ole Miss from 1995-1998 before arriving at Auburn. Tuberville tallied a 25-20 record in Oxford, including three winning seasons.
* Five Auburn assistant coaches and an administrative staff member were on Tuberville's staff at Ole Miss. The coaches and staff include: Don Dunn (defensive tackles), Eddie Gran (running backs), Greg Knox (wide receivers), Hugh Nall (offensive line), Terry Price (defensive ends) and Andy Lutz (asst. to head coach). Each were at Ole Miss from 1995-98 during Tuberville's era.
* Ole Miss defensive line coach Tracy Rocker was an All-American defensive tackle at Auburn. Rocker made history in 1988, becoming the first player in the SEC to win the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Trophy in the same year. A two-time All-American, Rocker recorded 354 career tackles, including 48 behind the line of scrimmage. Rocker was also a three-time All-SEC selection.
* 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.

Auburn has three players on its team from the state of Mississippi: freshman DL Andre Wadley (Hernando), sophomore OL Chaz Ramsey (Madison) and freshman DB Drew Cole (Picayune).

Six members of the Ole Miss squad are from the state of Alabama: freshman LB Josh Lancaster (Mobile), freshman S Griffin Littlefield (Pike Road), redshirt freshman K Ben Meadows (Birmingham), freshman WR Vincent Moss (Munford), redshirt fresman DT Justin Sanders (New Market) and freshman OL Joshua Tatum (Marbury). Meadows was teammates at Spain Park High School with Auburn sophomore quarterback Neil Caudle.

Ole Miss has already equaled its most wins since the 2003 season ... The Rebels are 2-2 both at home and on the road ... Ole Miss has played five consecutive games that have been decided by seven points or less ... The Rebels are fourth in the SEC in total offense (377.6) but 11th in total defense (345.1) ... Ole Miss leads the SEC in tackles for loss, averaging 7.9 per game ... The Rebels have committed 19 turnovers and forced only 12 ... Sophomore QB Jevan Snead has four multiple-touchdown games this season ... Senior Mike Wallace ranks third in the SEC in all-purpose yardage (133.9) ... Senior DT Peria Jerry is second in the conference in tackles for loss (1.3) behind Auburn's Antonio Coleman ... Placekicker Joshua Shene has made his last eight field goals and is 12-of-13 this season.

Although this will be the first time Tommy Tuberville has led an Auburn team against a Houston Nutt-coached Ole Miss team, the two head coaches have faced each other every year since 1998 when Tuberville was in his final season as the head coach at Ole Miss and Nutt took over at Arkansas. Nutt and Arkansas won that first match-up, 34-0, before Tuberville and the Tigers won five of the nine meetings between Auburn and the Razorbacks from 1998-2007.

Auburn is 6-8 all-time on Nov. 1. The Tigers' last game on Nov. 1 was a 73-7 victory over Louisiana-Monroe in 2003 that established the largest margin of victory in Jordan-Hare Stadium history. Prior to that game, Auburn had lost four straight times on Nov. 1, with three of the four losses coming against Florida. Auburn's biggest Nov. 1 victory came against the Gators, though, as the No. 17 Tigers upended No. 7 Florida, 38-12, in 1969.

Auburn is 213-163-21 (.563) all-time in the month of November, including a 19-7 mark under Tommy Tuberville. The Tigers are 10-2 in their last 12 games in November.

Saturday is National College Football Day, celebrating the anniversary of the birth of an American institution. On the first Saturday in November of 1869, Rutgers and Princeton staged college football's first game. To honor the spectacle that is college football, the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic created this annual holiday.

To honor college football's 139th birthday and celebrate the fifth annual National College Football Day, the AT&T Cotton Bowl has produced limited edition lapel pins. Over 3,000 pins will be distributed to coaches, athletic directors, university presidents, sports publicists, game officials and media throughout the United States in hopes that everyone will wear their pin on National College Football Day.

Last year, the holiday took on added significance when the Classic teamed up with The V Foundation for Cancer Research to increase awareness and raise money in the fight against cancer.

Over the past five seasons, Auburn has the nation's fourth-best record in games played away from home (road or neutral site games). The Tigers are 18-6 (.750) since the start of the 2004 season outside of Jordan-Hare Stadium, trailing only Texas (26-4, .867), USC (26-5, 839) and Georgia (22-6, .786). Auburn is 15-4 against SEC teams outside of Auburn since the 2004 season.

Auburn has won 16 of its last 19 games when wearing all white uniforms, including this season's road opener at Mississippi State. The Tigers had not lost when wearing white jerseys during the entire 2004-07 seasons, until Georgia broke the 15-game winning streak in white in Athens last November. The Tigers went 5-0 in all white uniforms in 2004, 3-0 in 2005, 4-0 in 2006 and 3-1 in 2007. The streak includes the 2004 SEC Championship game against Tennessee, a 2007 AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic victory over Nebraska and last year's home victory over Vanderbilt when the team wore all white to honor the 1957 national championship team. Auburn also has road wins at Alabama (twice), Ole Miss (twice), Arkansas (twice), Mississippi State (twice), Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina and Kentucky during that span.

Sophomore quarterback Kodi Burns entered Auburn's game at West Virginia Oct. 23 with three career starts and 14 games played, but the game against the Mountaineers marked the first time in his career that Burns started and played the entire game at quarterback. Burns finished had his best performance to date, leading the team with 82 yards rushing and a score on 15 carries, and completing 13-of-21 passes for 111 yards and another touchdown. His only interception came on a desperation heave on the game's final play.

Auburn opened the West Virginia game Oct. 23 with a 20-play scoring drive, moving 81 yards and taking 9:54 off the clock before settling for a 19-yard Wes Byrum field goal. It was the longest drive of the year for Auburn in terms of plays, yards and time, and in fact, the 20 plays were the most in a drive by an Auburn team since records began being kept in 1970. It also tied for the most plays in a drive by any SEC team this year, and was the second longest in terms of time.

Auburn has outscored its opponents 105-36 in the first half this season, and has led every game this season at halftime. The Tigers have allowed just three touchdowns and five field goals in the first two periods, and have outscored their opponents 44-6 in the opening quarter, allowing just two field goals.

Auburn played nearly the first seven quarters of its season without allowing a point, surrendering its first score of the season with just 2:33 left in the third quarter against Southern Miss after going 102:27 without being scored upon.

Auburn's return specialists have excelled this season, as the Tigers rank fifth nationally in kickoff returns (26.5) and 12th in punt returns (15.6). Individually, Robert Dunn is second nationally in punt returns (21.4), while Tristan Davis is 13th nationally in kickoff returns (28.4). Both have returned kicks for touchdowns.

The Tigers have not allowed their opponents as much success returning kicks, as Auburn is 18th nationally in net punting (37.5) and third in the SEC in kickoff coverage (44.9).

In its last two games, Auburn has returned 11 kicks for 390 yards (35.5 yards per return), including three returns of more than 60 yards. The Tigers had 247 kickoff return yards in their first six games combined.

Tristan Davis set an Auburn single-game record with 182 kickoff return yards Oct. 11 vs. Arkansas. Davis, who accumulated the 182 yard on five returns, brought back his first return of the game 97 yards for a touchdown, which was the sixth-longest kickoff return in school history. His 182 yards were the eighth most in a single game in SEC history.

Davis now ranks first in Auburn history with a career kickoff return average of 26.6 yards, and his 1195 career kickoff return yards is third best in school history.

In the season opener against Louisiana-Monroe, Robert Dunn snapped an Auburn streak of 144 consecutive games and 374 punt returns without a touchdown, which was the longest streak in the nation, by returning a kick 66 yards for a score.

Dunn, who was only 10 years old the last time Auburn had a punt return for a touchdown, appeared to accomplish the feat again Sept. 6 against Southern Miss, but what would have been a 65-yard return for a score was reduced to 47 yards due to a block in the back at the 18-yard line that occurred 5 yards behind Dunn, who was about to cruise into the end zone.

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

Auburn has scored touchdowns this season the conventional way via the run and the pass, but has also found other ways to score touchdowns. The Tigers have scored touchdowns on a kickoff return, a punt return, an interception return and twice on fumble returns. According to available data, this marks the first season since 1970 that Auburn has scored on a punt return and on a kickoff return in the same season.

In the season opener against Louisiana-Monroe, Auburn scored touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams for the first time in a game since a 73-7 victory in 2003 over ULM.

Injuries have played a major role in Auburn's season, as Auburn has had 12 players who have appeared on the two deep miss a combined 41 games due to injury this season, including three starters lost for the season due to injury - linebacker Tray Blackmon, offensive lineman Chaz Ramsey and defensive back Aairon Savage. Other players lost for the year include defensive back T'Sharvan Bell, defensive end Raven Gray, defensive back Marcus Jemison, wide receiver Philip Pierre-Louis and defensive end Jomarcus Savage.

Auburn has allowed just 126 points through its first eight games, ranking the Tigers 13th in the nation in scoring defense at 15.8 points per game. Five of Auburn's first eight opponents have been held to 14 points or fewer.

Last season, Auburn allowed 139 points in the first eight games (17.4 per game) en route to a season in which the Tigers finished sixth nationally in scoring defense.

Under first-year defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads, Auburn's defense has been stellar in several areas beyond scoring defense. The Tigers are ranked in the top 20 nationally in several defensive categories, including third-down conversion defense (25.4, 2nd), pass defense (166.0, 12th), total defense (294.3, 17th), first downs allowed (15.8, 19th), pass efficiency defense (104.32, 20th) and tackles for loss (6.9, 20th).

Auburn's defense has been terrific on third downs this season, as the Tigers rank second in the nation in opponent third-down conversions. Auburn opponents have converted just 30-of-118 third downs for 25.4 percent. Five of Auburn's eight opponents have been held to less than 30 percent on their third-down conversion attempts, including Mississippi State which was 0-of-14 on Sept. 13.

Auburn went more than eight quarters earlier this year without allowing a third-down conversion. From a first-quarter Southern Miss conversion until LSU converted in the second quarter Sept. 20, the Tigers had played 28 straight third downs without allowing a first down.

Auburn's defense has been particularly stingy in the fourth quarter, with opponents converting just 5-of-32 (15.6 percent). Forcing third and long has been the key, as 65 of the 118 attempts (55.1 percent) have come with seven or more yards needed for a first down.

Auburn's secondary has been solid despite a lack of depth this season, as the Tigers rank 12th nationally defensively in pass defense (166.0) and 20th in pass efficiency defense (104.32). The Tigers are allowing only 5.29 yards per pass attempt, which is tied for the fifth best mark in the nation.

Auburn has held four of its eight opponents to 157 or fewer yards passing, including two that failed to reach 100. Tennessee threw for just 67 yards Sept. 27, and Mississippi State had 78 yards through the air Sept. 13.

Auburn opponents should be ready for more of the same in the future, as there are no seniors in the group of starters or top reserves.

Auburn's defense has allowed just four rushing touchdown this season, making the Tigers one of just 10 teams that have allowed four or fewer rushing touchdowns this season. Three of the 10 schools have also played just seven games, while the Tigers have played eight.

Junior defensive end Antonio Coleman leads the SEC in two defensive categories, collecting six sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss so far this season. Coleman, who also has a team-high 11 quarterback hurries this year, now has 14.5 sacks during his career, and needs just one more to crack Auburn's career top 10. He has 30 tackles for loss during his career.

Junior All-American candidate Sen'Derrick Marks has been a terror on the defensive line for the Auburn defense. Marks is tied for third in the SEC with nine tackles for loss, including two sacks. Marks, who has started all 34 games since the start of the 2006 season, now has 29 tackles for loss during his career.

Sophomore Josh Bynes filled in for Tray Blackmon as the starting middle linebacker Sept. 27 against Tennessee, and his first start was a memorable one. Bynes led the team with 11 tackles (six solo, five assists), becoming the first and only Auburn player this season to record a double-digit tackle effort. Has has started the last four games, and now ranks third on the team with 36 tackles, including 27 in his four starts, which is tied for the team lead during that span with Mike McNeil.

Junior cornerback Jerraud Powers had his second interception of the season against Vanderbilt Oct. 4. Powers, who also has three pass break-ups this year, now has six interceptions for his career. His missed the Arkansas game Oct. 11 due to a hamstring injury, though, and his absence was felt, as the Tigers, who have allowed just 157.1 yards per game in the seven games in which he has played, surrendered 228 to the Razorbacks.

Redshirt freshman Clinton Durst, who burst onto the scene in the spring and was the Special Teams MVP of the A-Day game after averaging 48.3 yards on three punts, ranks fourth in the SEC and 24th nationally, averaging 42.4 yards per punt this year with 14 punts placed inside the 20-yard line. His kicks, which have included 14 fair catches, have helped Auburn rank 18th nationally in net punting at 37.5 yards per kick.

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

Auburn's group of young kickers also includes sophomore kicker Wes Byrum, who led Auburn in scoring last year with 86 points, including 17 field goals which is tied for third most in a single season in school history. He made game-winning field goals in the closing seconds at Florida and at Arkansas last season.

In addition, sophomore Patrick Tatum averaged 43.4 yards on 16 punts last season while Shoemaker was out with an injury, and sophomore Morgan Hull has also handled the kickoff duties part-time in each of the last two seasons.

Auburn's one-point loss to Vanderbilt Oct. 4 snapped a string of five straight victories for Auburn in games decided by four points or less. It was the first one-point loss for Auburn since a 30-29 defeat at the hands of Tennessee in the 1997 SEC Championship game in Atlanta.

Under Tommy Tuberville, the Tigers are now 17-7 in games decided by four points or less, and have won eight of their last 11. Since the 2000 season, Auburn is 7-1 in games decided by just one or two points.

Auburn is continuing its tradition of producing high-caliber running backs, with two backs on the squad that have over 1,500 career rushing yards. Junior Ben Tate leads the team with 538 yards rushing and ranks 16th in Auburn history with 1,833 career yards. Tate needs 167 yards to become the 13th player in Auburn history with 2,000 career rushing yards. Senior Brad Lester had 230 yards this season and has pushed his career total to 1,630, which ranks 20th. They were the first pair of Auburn running backs to enter a season with more than 1,000 yards rushing each since Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown in 2004.

Senior Rodgeriqus Smith became the seventh player in Auburn history to accumulate 100 career receptions during Auburn's game against Vanderbilt Oct. 4. Smith, who leads the team with 23 catches for 233 yards and a score this season, now has 107 career catches, which ranks sixth in school history. Smith also has 1,499 career receiving yards, which ranks ninth best in Auburn history.

Auburn has had 15 different players catch passes this season, including 14 players with more than one reception. The Tigers had 11 different players catch passes Sept. 6 vs. Southern Miss, marking the most players to catch a pass in a game for Auburn since 2005 against Ole Miss.

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

For the sixth consecutive year, Auburn was nationally ranked to begin the season, although the Tigers are not currently ranked.

This season marked the first time since the 1986-91 seasons that Auburn was ranked at the start of six consecutive seasons. The Tigers, then at No. 10, were also ranked in the top 10 of the AP Preseason Poll for the third time since 2003. The Tigers were the preseason No. 6 team in 2003 and ranked No. 4 in the initial 2006 poll.

Auburn has scored in 71 consecutive games, which is the second-longest streak in school history. The Tigers have not been shut out since a 23-0 loss to USC to open the 2003 season. It will be a while before Auburn could challenge the school record. The Tigers scored in 149 straight games from Oct. 4, 1980 through Nov. 14, 1992.

Auburn shut out Louisiana-Monroe in the season opener, 34-0, for its first shutout since a 27-0 win against Arkansas State on Nov. 4, 2006. It marked the ninth shutout by Auburn during the Tommy Tuberville era, and was the first shutout in a season opener since a 31-0 victory over ULM in the 2004 opener.

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

Under Tommy Tuberville, Auburn is 68-9 when scoring 20 or more points in a game, including a 65-8 mark in the regular season. Dating back to 1995, Auburn is 89-16 when scoring 20 or more points in a game.

Under Tommy Tuberville, Auburn is 45-0 when scoring 30 or more points in a game. Auburn has won 50 consecutive games when scoring 30 or more points.

The last time the Tigers lost when registering at least 30 points was a 56-49, four overtime loss to Georgia in 1996.

In the last 23 years, Auburn is 119-2 when scoring 30 points.

Auburn is 20-20 against nationally-ranked teams during the Tommy Tuberville era, including a 12-6 record since the 2004 season. The Tigers have beaten at least one nationally-ranked team during each of Tuberville's previous nine seasons on the Plains.

Tommy Tuberville is in his tenth season at Auburn in 2008 and his 14th as a head coach in the Southeastern Conference. Tuberville has the third-longest tenure in the SEC (second-longest active streak) behind Phillip Fulmer of Tennessee and Steve Spurrier of South Carolina, who will each coach his 16th season in the league this year.

Tuberville has amassed a record of 84-37 in his 10 seasons at Auburn and an overall mark of 109-57. He has led the Tigers to eight straight bowl appearances.

Tuberville is fourth all-time at Auburn in wins, and is the fourth-longest tenured coach in school history.

In his 14th year as a head coach, Tommy Tuberville has five assistant coaches who have been with him all 14 years. That group includes: defensive tackles coach Don Dunn, running backs/special teams coach Eddie Gran, wide receivers coach Greg Knox, offensive line coach Hugh Nall and defensive ends coach Terry Price.

In recognition of Tommy Tuberville's 10th season at Auburn, Auburn fans had the opportunity to vote for the 10 biggest wins during the Tommy Tuberville era this summer on More than 4,500 votes were cast, and the results were as follows:

No. 10  Auburn 17, Alabama 10     11/24/07
No. 9   Auburn 34, Tennessee 10   10/2/04
No. 8   Auburn 7, LSU 3           9/16/06
No. 7   Auburn 28, Alabama 18     11/19/05
No. 6   Auburn 17, Alabama 7      11/23/02
No. 5   Auburn 31, Georgia 30     11/12/05
No. 4   Auburn 27, Florida 17     10/14/06
No. 3   Auburn 20, Florida 17     9/29/07
No. 2   Auburn 10, LSU 9          9/18/04
No. 1   Auburn 23, Florida 20     10/13/01

One year after being inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, Tommy Tuberville was announced in October as part of the Southern Arkansas University Sports Hall of Fame class of 2008. Tuberville, a 1976 graduate of Southern Arkansas played both football and golf for the Muleriders. He was honored at halftime of Southern Arkansas' Oct. 25 football game against Delta State along with six others.

Head Coach Tommy Tuberville has a senior class that includes 16 players at Auburn in 2008. The Tigers' group of 16 seniors is the fourth most during the Tuberville era. The largest group of seniors was 21 in 2006, while the 2004 group had 18 and last year's squad had 17. During Tuberville's tenure, Auburn's other senior classes have consisted of: 15 in 2005, 13 in 2003, 15 in 2002, 10 in 2001, 14 in 2000 and 14 in 1999.

The 2008 seniors include: C Jason Bosley, RB Tristan Davis, DT Tez Doolittle, WR Robert Dunn, LB Chris Evans, OL Tyronne Green, LB Courtney Harden, TE Bryan Harris, FB Ryan Hastie, LB Merrill Johnson, RB Brad Lester, WR Charles Olatunji, DS Robert Shiver, WR Rodgeriqus Smith, WR James Swinton and DB Jonathan Vickers.

Of Auburn's 16 seniors, eight have seen time in more than 30 games during their careers, including three that have played in at least 40. Courtney Harden leads the group, having played in 42 of a possible 46 games over the past four seasons, and is followed closely by Merrill Johnson (41), Rodgeriqus Smith (41), Robert Dunn (39), Tyronne Green (38), Brad Lester (37), Chris Evans (37) and Robert Shiver (34). Green, Smith and Shiver are the only three members of the senior class to have played in all 34 games over the past three seasons.

The 2008 season marks the third straight year that Auburn has had a player on the squad repeating his senior season due to an injury. Tez Doolittle is back for his second stint as a senior after missing last year with an Achilles injury. In 2007, Cole Bennett repeated his senior season after breaking his ankle during the third game of the 2006 season. David Irons was granted a sixth year of eligibility prior to the 2006 season due to a season-ending knee injury he suffered in the 2004 preseason.

Junior Sen'Derrick Marks currently own the longest staring streak on the squad, having started all 34 games over the past three seasons. No other player has a starting streak that dates back to the 2006 season. Rodgeriqus Smith had started 28 straight games until the Sept. 13 contest at Mississippi State.

Three other players have started all 21 games dating back to the start of the 2007 season, and all three are members of the offensive line. Seniors Jason Bosley and Tyronne Green and sophomore Lee Ziemba have all started every game since last season.

A number of players have changed positions since last season.

Junior Sen'Derrick Marks moved back to defensive tackle, where he started all 13 games as a freshman before starting every game as a defensive end last year.

Sophomore Mario Fannin, who played running back last season, has split out as a wide receiver in Auburn's new spread offense this year.

Sophomore tackles Lee Ziemba moved from right tackle to left tackles, switching spots Ryan Pugh, who in turn has changed places with Jason Bosley the last two games, moving to center while Bosley plays right tackle.

Junior Gabe McKenzie, who had played tight end during each of his first three seasons at Auburn, switched to defensive end Aug. 19 during preseason camp, and A.J. Greene moved from defensive end to the offensive line Sept. 10.

Auburn began the season with eight graduates on the roster.

The Tiger graduates include: OL Jason Bosley (finance), RB Tristan Davis (criminology), DL Tez Doolittle (criminology), OL Tyronne Green (criminology), LB Courtney Harden (criminology), LB Merrill Johnson (criminology), WR Rodgeriqus Smith (business administration) and WR James Swinton (public administration).

Listed are the top 10 programs in terms of number of players who have completed their bachelor's degrees prior to the start of the 2008 season.

1.  Miami (Fla.)    13
2.  Boston College  10
    Virginia Tech   10
4.  Maryland        9
5.  Auburn          8
    Clemson         8
    Pittsburgh      8
8.  Arizona State   7
    Memphis         7
    Ohio State      7
    Penn State      7

Auburn's offense lost three-year starting quarterback Brandon Cox, but still returned nearly all of its leading rushers and receivers, as well as players responsible for more than 90 percent of their points scored in 2007.

Category            2007    Return   Percent
Passing Yards       2,317   145      6.3%
Rushing Yards       2,040   2,099    102.9%
Receptions          204     168      82.4%
Receiving Yards     2,317   1,873    80.8%
Scoring             315     1284     90.2%
Touchdowns          38      33       86.8%
Total Offense       4,357   2,244    51.5%
All-Purpose Yards   5,809   5,087    87.6%

The offensive line was a concern for Auburn entering the 2007 season after the Tigers lost four senior starters from the 2006 squad. But three true freshmen joined a pair of juniors in the starting lineup beginning with the season's fourth game, and the Tigers went on to win eight of their last 10 contests. Inexperience is far from an issue this season as the entire group returns for 2008, although sophomore guard Chaz Ramsey has been battling a back injury. Senior center Jason Bosley and senior guard Tyronne Green anchor the group after starting every game last year, while sophomore Lee Ziemba has switched from right tackle to left tackle after also staring every game in 2007 as a true freshmen. Sophomore Ryan Pugh, who started the final 10 games last year, switches from left to right tackle, and junior Byron Isom has moved into the other guard slot for Ramsey.

Defensively in 2008, Auburn is replacing four starters from last year's squad that led the SEC and ranked sixth in the nation in scoring defense (16.9), including two interior linemen and two members of the secondary. Defensive tackles Josh Thompson and Pat Sims combined for 104 tackles including 16 for losses, while safety Eric Brock and cornerback Patrick Lee ranked fifth and sixth on the team with 59 and 55 tackles, respectively. In addition, NFL draft picks Quentin Groves and Jonathan Wilhite were seniors in 2007.

However, three of the top four leading tacklers returned in sophomore safety Zac Etheridge (65), senior linebacker Chris Evans (64) and junior cornerback Jerraud Powers (63). Powers also shared the team lead with four interceptions.

Other key returners include juniors Antonio Coleman and Sen'Derrick Marks on the defensive line. Coleman had team highs of 18.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks, while Marks was named to several preseason All-America teams.

Other returning starters are junior linebacker Tray Blackmon and sophomore linebacker Craig Stevens.

In addition to ranking sixth in the nation in scoring defense, the 2007 Auburn defense also ranked sixth nationally in total defense (297.9) and pass defense (173.2).

The Tigers return 46 lettermen from last season, including 22 on offense, 20 on defense and four specialists. Auburn returns eight starters on offense and seven on defense.

Auburn's roster of 113 players includes 16 seniors, 18 juniors, 35 sophomores, 15 redshirt freshmen and 29 freshmen. The underclassmen (79) represent 69.9 percent of the Tigers' roster.

A number of walk-ons joined the program after the first day of classes on August 18.

Auburn has demonstrated a proficiency for placing players in the National Football League. Auburn had 27 players listed on opening day NFL rosters, which was tied for 12th most of any college in the nation. The Seattle Seahawks have the most former Tigers, with five former Auburn players on the roster, while the Washington Redskins have four.

Auburn has won nine of its last 13 games against teams ranked in the Associated Press top 10. The Tigers have won five of their last eight against top-ten teams and six of their last seven at home.

Last year, Auburn won at No. 4 Florida, 20-17, and in 2006, the Tigers beat No. 3 LSU (7-3) and No. 2 Florida (27-17). 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.

Three of the four losses against top-10 teams since the 2004 season have come in close calls against LSU - in overtime in 2005 by a 20-17 score, by a 30-24 score in 2007 when LSU scored on a 22-yard pass play with just one second left, and 26-21 this year when LSU scored a TD with 1:03 remaining.

During the Tommy Tuberville era, Auburn is 15-13 in games played against top 10 teams, and is 15-8 dating back to a 23-20 upset of No. 1-ranked Florida Oct. 13, 2001.

Dating back to the 2002 season, Auburn has played 22 games against top 10 teams.

Now in its 69th year as home to the Auburn football team, Jordan-Hare Stadium is the nation's ninth-largest on-campus stadium, with a capacity of 87,451 fans. The Tigers are 263-66-7 (.793) at Jordan-Hare Stadium, including a 49-12 (.803) mark since 2000. AU went 7-0 at home in both 2000 and 2004, and posted a 6-1 mark in 2005.

Auburn has been tough to beat in night games at Jordan-Hare Stadium, including a season-opening victory over Louisiana-Monroe this year. The Tigers have accumulated a record of 15-3 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 surpassed the 20 million mark in all-time total attendance at Jordan-Hare Stadium during the game against Louisiana-Monroe. The Tigers, now in their 69th season at Jordan-Hare Stadium, have drawn 20,421,799 fans. It took 51 seasons for Auburn to draw its first 10 million fans, but took just 18 more to draw the second 10 million. The Tigers surpassed 10 million fans during the fourth home game of the 1990 season - a 56-6 victory over Vanderbilt on Oct. 13.

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.

Linebacker Courtney Harden and defensive tackle Jermarcus Ricks are brothers ... Brad Lester was a high school teammates of the Atlanta Braves' Jeff Francoeur ... Walter McFadden's older brother Bryant plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers ... Clinton Durst was recommend to the Auburn staff by former Auburn and PGA golfer Buddy Gardner ... Neiko Thorpe's last name was Lipscomb until he had it legally changed to his father's last name this summer.