Oct. 29, 2007
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No. 19/16 AUBURN (6-3) vs. TENNESSEE TECH (4-5)
JORDAN-HARE STADIUM (87,451) AUBURN, AL
NOVEMBER 3, 2007 1:30 PM CT TV: NONE
GAME 10 QUICK FACTS
Tommy Tuberville (Southern Arkansas, 1976)
Auburn Record 77-32 (9th year)
vs. Tennessee Tech First meeting
Career Record 102-52 (23rd year)
vs. Tennessee Tech First meeting
Watson Brown (Vanderbilt, 1973)
Tennessee Tech Record 4-5 (1st year)
vs. Auburn First meeting
Overall Record 102-160-1 (13th year)
vs. Auburn 0-4
Auburn 19 AP/16 USA Today/18 Harris/16 BCS
Tennessee Tech Not ranked
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 147
LOCALLY WKKR-FM (97.7)
Live audio & stats www.auburntigers.com
Auburn celebrates its Homecoming Saturday by taking a break from the Southeastern Conference schedule to host its last nonconference game of the season against Tennessee Tech. Auburn will be looking for its fourth straight home victory, while the Golden Eagles, a member of the Football Championship Subdivision, will be out to snap a four-game losing streak. The game kicks off at 1:30 p.m. CT.
* Auburn has won its last 15 Homecoming games, and is 67-8-5 all-time on Homecoming weekend.
* With six victories, Auburn is now bowl eligible for the eighth straight season, which is the second-longest streak in school history. The school record for consecutive bowl appearances is nine (1982-90)
* Auburn is the only Football Bowl Subdivision team to lead at the half in every game it has played this season.
* Antonio Coleman
has had at least two tackles for loss in each of the last four games, and leads the team with 12.5 tackles for loss and six sacks this season.
* Auburn is ranked rank eighth in the nation this season in total defense (292.7) and ninth in scoring defense (15.8).
* During Will Muschamp's
two seasons as defensive coordinator, Auburn has held 18 of its 22 opponents to 20 points or less.
* Rodgeriqus Smith
has 41 catches for 564 yards and five touchdowns this season, and all three totals are more than he had in his two previous seasons combined.
* Over the last four seasons, Auburn has the fifth-best record out of all Football Bowl Subdivision teams with a mark of 39-8 (.830).
* Auburn has had six of its nine games decided in the last two minutes, including four of its six SEC games.
* In its last three games, Auburn has averaged 35:00 time of possession, and now ranks second in the SEC in time of possession (31:36).
* Auburn has a turnover ratio of +7 in its five victories and -7 in its three losses.
* Auburn has had three true freshmen starting on the offensive line, and has played 27 freshmen this season (15 true, 12 redshirt).
* Of Auburn's 220 points scored this season, 154 (70 percent) have been scored by underclassmen.
* Auburn has outscored its opponents 72-19 in the second quarter this season.
TENNESSEE TECH QUICK HITTERS
Tennessee Tech had its losing streak extended to four games with a 59-52 loss to Samford last Saturday ... Tech entered the game ranked first in the Ohio Valley Conference in total defense, but gave up 654 yards to Samford ... The Golden Eagles lead the conference in scoring offense (33.6) and rank second in the OVC and eighth nationally among Football Championship Subdivision teams in kickoff returns (25.4) ... Tech is 1-2 in road games this season ... Senior Derek White averages 116.8 yards per game, and with 1,051 yards this season, is the first Golden Eagle with more than 1,000 yards rushing since 1995 ... Senior Larry Shipp has caught at least one pass in all 41 games during his career, and needs 55 yards to break the school's all-time receiving record ... Shipp caught seven balls for 191 yards and two scores against Samford ... Senior Maurice Smith leads the team and ranks second in the OVC with 87 tackles this season.
Four players on the Auburn roster call Tennessee home. Auburn players from Tennessee are: OL Mike Berry (Antioch), OT King Dunlap (Nashville), DE A.J. Greene (Brentwood) and RB Carl Stewart (Alcoa).
TECH COACH FAMILIAR WITH AUBURN
Tennessee Tech head coach Watson Brown was the head coach at Vanderbilt from 1986-90, and was 0-3 during his tenure against Auburn. He also served as head coach at UAB from 1995-2006 and lost to Auburn in the 1996 season opener.
Brown had success against Auburn when he served as the offensive coordinator at Mississippi State from 1990-92, as the Bulldogs earned victories in two of the three seasons.
HOMECOMING ON THE PLAINS
Homecoming at Auburn began in June 1913, when Dr. Charles Thach, president of what was then Alabama Polytechnic Institute, issued a proclamation calling for "the observance of a Homecoming for all those loyal sons who, as former Auburn students, have passed through her portals and received her honors."
Homecoming festivities were held in connection with the spring commencement exercises until 1924. Auburn beat Clemson, 13-0, in Auburn's first Homecoming game. The game was played on old Drake Field, which is now the parking lot for Haley Center.
Until the first section of Jordan-Hare Stadium was completed in 1939, Auburn sometimes observed Homecoming in Montgomery or Columbus, Ga., since adequate campus facilities were not available. Auburn did not have Homecoming games in 1930 and 1938. There was no football team in 1943 because of WWII.
Auburn is 67-8-5 in Homecoming games. Mississippi State (16 times) has been the most common Homecoming guest.
AUBURN HOMECOMING COURT
At halftime of Saturday's game, the Homecoming Queen will be crowned on the east side of the field. A pool of more than 50 applicants went through two rounds of interviews and cuts before the five finalists were announced.
The queen will be elected by a vote of the Auburn student body on Friday, Nov. 2 and the winner's name is kept in anonymity until the announcement.
The five finalists are: Rachel Evans (Art), Margaret Atkins (Microbiology), Kendall Conder (Biomedical Sciences), Emily Weprich (Communications) and Krisha Yanko (International Business). All applicants must be an undergraduate with senior status and maintain a grade point average of 2.5 or better. Each applicant was also nominated by a member of one of the 300 campus organizations.
Auburn has won 15 straight Homecoming contests ... The Tigers' average margin of victory in those 14 games is +24.0 ... Auburn has scored 25 or more points in 20 of the last 24 Homecoming games, including 30 or more points in 18 of those contests ... Auburn is 29-2-1 in its last 32 Homecoming games ... This will be the second Homecoming game to be played on Nov. 3 - Auburn beat Florida (19-0) on the same date in 1945.
ON THIS DATE
Auburn owns an all-time record of 5-9 in games played on Nov. 3, and has lost five of its last six. However, all six of those games were played against Florida. The Tigers have not played on this date since 1990, and have not won on this date since a 19-13 victory over the Gators in 1979. Auburn's most lopsided victory on this date was a 68-0 route of Florida in 1917, but it was one of just five times in 14 chances that Auburn scored in double digits when playing on Nov. 3.
Auburn is 211-162-21 (.562) all-time in the month of November, including a 16-6 mark under Tommy Tuberville. The Tigers are 21-6 in their last 27 games in November.
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 259-64-7 (.795) at Jordan-Hare Stadium, including a 45-10 (.818) 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.
TIGERS BOWL ELIGIBLE
After earning its sixth victory of the season last Saturday against Ole Miss, Auburn is now eligible to go to a bowl game for the eighth straight season. The streak is the second-longest in Auburn history, trailing only the nine straight bowl appearances from 1982-90. Auburn also went to seven straight bowls from 1968-74. Auburn has appeared in 33 bowl games entering the 2007 season, which is 16th-most in the NCAA, and owns a 18-13-2 record in those games.
KINGS OF THE FIRST HALF
Auburn is the only Football Bowl Subdivision team this season to have the lead at halftime in every game it has played this season. Kansas has been tied at the half twice and led the remaining six games on their schedule at the half.
Auburn has led or been tied at the half in 11 consecutive games dating back to last year. The Tigers were tied at half against Nebraska in the 2006 AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic. The last time Auburn trailed at the half was against Georgia in 2006.
In addition, Auburn has allowed just 10 total points in the first half of the last five games, outscoring Florida, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, LSU and Ole Miss by a combined score of 69-10. In the last five games, Auburn has gained 957 yards of offense in the first half, to just 517 yards for its opponents.
Auburn's senior class has had almost as much success as any in the country. Since the start of the 2004 season, Auburn owns the fifth-best record in the NCAA. The Tigers are 39-8 (.830) over the last four seasons. The top teams since the 2004 season are as follows:
1. USC 42-5 .894
2. Texas 41-6 .872
3. Boise State 39-6 .867
4. Ohio State 39-7 .848
5. Auburn 39-8 .830
6. LSU 38-8 .826
7. West Virginia 37-8 .822
8. Boston College 36-8 .818
9. Wisconsin 38-9 .809
10. Louisville 37-9 .804
NATIONAL COLLEGE FOOTBALL DAY
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 celebrate the fourth annual National College Football Day, members of the American Football Coaches Association, the Football Writers Association of America and the National Association of Division I-A Football Officials are wearing commemorative lapel pins.
This year, National College Football Day has taken on added significance, teaming with The V Foundation for Cancer Research to increase awareness and raise money in the fight against cancer.
Junior wide receiver Rodgeriqus Smith leads Auburn with 41 catches for 564 yards and five touchdowns. All three of those totals surpass what he accumulated during his first two seasons combined. Smith had his second 100-yard receiving game last Saturday against Ole Miss, catching eight balls for 111 yards and a score. He had a career-high nine catches for 102 yards Sept. 29 at Florida, and now ranks 18th in Auburn history with 1,125 career receiving yards. He needs 17 catches in the last four games to equal the school single-season record of 58 receptions.
Smith's 58-yard touchdown catch from Kodi Burns against New Mexico State was the longest pass play of the season for Auburn, and Smith also has the team's second-, third- and fourth-longest pass receptions of the season, including a 55-yarder against Kansas State.
Sophomore Montez Billings has emerged as a steady complimentary receiver to Rodgeriqus Smith. Billings had just one catch in the first four games, but has 18 in the last five, including 11 catches combined at Arkansas and LSU, which was two more than he had in his career prior to that point. Billings set career highs in catches (six) and receiving yards (78) and scored his first career touchdown on a 17-yard grab from Brandon Cox Oct. 20 at LSU.
Rodgeriqus Smith and Montez Billings have taken charge in the Auburn passing game over the past four games, getting the bulk of the catches. In the first five games, Smith had 11 catches for 253 yards and two scores, while Billings had just one catch for five yards. In the last five games, Smith had 30 catches for 311 yards and three touchdowns, while Billings has 18 catches for 223 yards and a score.
Conversely, the other receivers and tight ends have seen a drop in their production. In the first four games, they combined for 33 catches for 303 yards, but in the last five games have combined for only 10 catches for 149 yards.
DEFENSE EXCELS DESPITE INJURIES
The Auburn defense has performed admirably, despite a rash of injuries. The Tigers have played games this season without defensive starters Aairon Savage (five missed games), Tray Blackmon (four), Merrill Johnson (four), Quentin Groves (two) and Jonathan Wilhite (one), and yet still rank eighth in the nation in total defense (292.7) and ninth in scoring defense (15.8).
NO PASSING ZONE
Despite playing non-conference games against New Mexico State (No. 6 in the NCAA in pass offense, 322.2 yards per game) and Kansas State (No. 17 in NCAA, threw 58 passes vs. AU), Auburn ranks 14th nationally in pass defense, allowing just 181.1 yards per game, and is ranked No. 18 in pass efficiency defense (105.57). The Tigers, whose defense ranks seventh nationally in yards per completion (9.8), held both Mississippi State (41 yards) and Vanderbilt (88 yards) to less than 100 yards passing this season.
COLEMAN DOMINATING DEFENSIVELY
Antonio Coleman took over a starting spot at defensive end after senior Quentin Groves was injured Sept. 29 at Florida, but the sophomore has played like a starter all season long. Coleman leads the team and is tied for 17th nationally in tackles for loss with 12.5, and also leads the Tigers in sacks (six). His 12.5 tackles for loss are already more than anyone on the squad had last season. Coleman, who has had at least two tackles for loss in each of the last four games (nine total and three sacks), also returned a fumble 34 yards for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter against Kansas State.
In his first 41 career games, senior Patrick Lee had just one interception, grabbing a pick last season against Arkansas State. But Lee has been on an interception binge lately, picking off four passes in the last five games. He had his first interception of the season Sept. 29 at Florida, then picked off passes against Vanderbilt, LSU and Ole Miss. Lee, whose four interceptions are the most in a season by a Tiger since Junior Rosegreen had six in 2004, also had a career-high eight tackles last Saturday against Ole Miss.
20 OR LESS
Since Will Muschamp took over as defensive coordinator prior to the 2006 season, Auburn has held 18 of its 22 opponents (82 percent) to 20 points or less, including seven in single digits. The Tigers, who have allowed just 14.7 points per game since Muschamp's arrival, are 17-1 in games in which they hold their opponents to no more than 20 points.
Since the 2004 season, Auburn has held 37 of its 47 opponents to 20 points or less.
Brandon Cox has led Auburn on scoring drives that gave Auburn the lead with less than four minutes left in the game five times in nine games this season.
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. The next Saturday against South Florida, a nine-play, 51-yard drive set up a 46-yard field goal with just 2:54 left that gave the Tigers a 20-17 lead, but the Bulls rallied to win in overtime.
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 Oct. 13, 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.
On Oct. 20 at LSU, Cox drove Auburn 83 yards on nine plays before hitting Rodgeriqus Smith with a 3-yard touchdown pass that put Auburn ahead 24-23, although LSU would score with one second left for a 30-24 victory.
COX TURNS THE CORNER
After a rough start to the season, senior QB Brandon Cox has excelled during Auburn's last six games. 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 six weeks, Cox has completed 91-of-139 (.655) passes for 1,016 yards, five scores and just one interception, for a quarterback rating of 137.30. Cox, who has thrown 78 consecutive passes without an interception, is now third on Auburn's all-time passing yardage list with 6,331 yards. The school record for consecutive pass attempts without an interception is 156 by Ben Leard in 1999.
COX LEADS ALL SEC QBs IN WINS
Brandon Cox earned his 24th career victory as a starting quarterback during Auburn's 17-3 win against Ole Miss. Cox, who is 24-8 as a starter, leads all SEC quarterbacks in career victories. Tennessee's Erik Ainge is second with 22, followed by Kentucky's Andre Woodson (17).
Auburn games have not been lacking for excitement this season, as six of the first eight 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. 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.
All three of Auburn's losses have been close calls. Auburn lost to LSU 30-24 when LSU scored on a 22-yard pass play with just one second left. Against Mississippi State Sept. 15, Auburn had a potential game-winning drive stall at the Bulldog 9-yard line with just 48 seconds left. The Tigers' other loss against South Florida ended in overtime.
Auburn has started four of its last five 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.
On Oct. 13 at Arkansas, Wes Byrum's 22-yard field goal capped a 14-play, 67-yard drive that consumed 6:12. On Oct. 20 at LSU, Brandon Cox's 17-yard scoring strike to Montez Billings capped an 11-play, 63-yard scoring drive that took 4:50.
In those four games, Auburn's opening drive has averaged 12.0 plays for 74.0 yards while taking 5:49 off the clock. And last Saturday when Auburn's opening drive scoring streak was snapped, the Tigers still drove 40 yards on 10 plays before a fumble stopped the drive.
One of the keys to Auburn's offensive success the past five 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. Three of the four scoring drives Oct. 20 at LSU used at least nine plays, and all three scoring drives against Ole Miss were at least nine plays long.
Auburn has averaged 35:00 in time of possession the last three weeks, and now ranks second in the SEC for the season with an average of 31:36.
TURNOVERS PROVE CRUCIAL
Turnovers have played a big role in determining Auburn's success this season. Auburn committed five turnovers in losses to South Florida and Mississippi State while forcing just one total in the two games, and has a -7 turnover margin in its losses. In the six victories, Auburn has committed just seven total turnovers while forcing 14 (+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 14 points off turnovers in its three losses, but has 58 points off turnovers in its six wins.
LESTER'S MIDAS TOUCH CONTINUES
Brad Lester's ability to reach the end zone has continued this season, with three scores in his first four games. For his career, Lester has now scored 20 career touchdowns (17 rushing, two receiving, one kickoff return) on only 270 touches. His rate of one touchdown for every 13.5 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 running back 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 185.7 in their last seven, with 15 touchdowns and four 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 seven games.
GROVES EQUALS SACKS RECORD
Quentin Groves tied the Auburn record for career sacks with a second-quarter sack last Saturday at LSU. Groves now has 26 career sacks, tying the record set by Gerald Robinson (1982-85). He had two sacks in the opener vs. Kansas State, and the second came with just over a minute left and Auburn clinging to a 16-13 lead, resulting in a fumble that was returned 34 yards for a touchdown by Antonio Coleman, to seal the victory.
GROVES LEADS NCAA IN CAREER SACKS
Senior Quentin Groves is the NCAA's leader among active players in career sacks with 26, despite missing two games this season with an injury. USC's Lawrence Jackson is second nationally with 24 sacks.
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 220 points scored, 154 (70 percent) have been scored by freshmen and sophomores. True freshman Wes Byrum leads the team with 63 points, while redshirt freshman Mario Fannin is tied for second with 30 points and sophomore Ben Tate is fourth with 24 points. True freshman Kodi Burns and sophomore Gabe McKenzie have two touchdowns each, while sophomores Montez Billings and Antonio Coleman reached the end zone once each, and sophomore Zack Kutch has an extra point.
Auburn has had 27 freshmen (15 true, 12 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 been regulars in the defensive starting lineup, 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 27 tackles.
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 13 field goals in 17 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 on kickoffs.
Redshirt freshman Ryan Shoemaker is second in the SEC in punting, averaging 43.6 yards per punt, while true freshman Patrick Tatum has averaged 42.2 yards per punt with eight of his 15 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.
SECOND QUARTER SUPERB
The second quarter has been Auburn's best quarter this season, as the Tigers have outscored their opponents 72-19 during the period. Auburn has outgained its opponents 832-529 in the second quarter and has scored during the second quarter in seven of nine games, while shutting out its opponents during the quarter six times.
TUBERVILLE HITS THE CENTURY MARK
Tommy Tuberville recorded his 100th career victory as a head coach during Auburn's 35-7 win over Vanderbilt on Oct. 6. Tuberville currently owns a career record of 102-52 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 77-32 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.
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.
WINNING IN WHITE
Auburn has won its last 15 games when wearing all white following a 9-7 win at Arkansas Oct. 13. 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 defense was impressive in its first 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 on Oct. 13, 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.
TIGERS TOUGH ON TOP TEN
Auburn has won nine of its last 11 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 of their last six against top-ten teams and six straight at home. The only losses against top-10 teams since the 2004 season have come at LSU, in overtime in 2005 by a 20-17 score and this season by a 30-24 score when LSU scored on a 22-yard pass play with just one second left.
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 15-11 in games played against top 10 teams, and has won 15 of its last 21 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 20 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).
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 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 53 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).
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.
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 nine with at least 40 games played. Cole Bennett and Eric Brock lead the group with 48 career games played, followed by Quentin Groves (47), while King Dunlap, Josh Thompson and Patrick Lee have seen action in 45 games. Zach Gilbert is next with 44 games played, followed by Carl Stewart (43), Brandon Cox (40) and Leon Hart (39).
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 nine games this season. Senior Josh Thompson, junior Rodgeriqus Smith and sophomore Sen'Derrick Marks all have started the last 22 games.
NO SHUTOUTS ALLOWED
Auburn has scored in 59 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.
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 26-13 in games decided by seven points or less and has won 14 of its last 19, 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 65-6 when scoring 20 or more points in a game, including a 63-5 mark in the regular season. Dating back to 1995, Auburn is 86-13 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).