Nov. 2, 2008
Complete Game Notes in PDF Format
AUBURN (4-5, 2-4 SEC) vs. UT MARTIN (7-2, 5-1 OVC)
NOVEMBER 8, 2008 1:30 PM CT TV: NONE
JORDAN-HARE STADIUM (87,451) AUBURN, AL
Tommy Tuberville (Southern Arkansas, 1976)
Auburn Record 84-38 (10th year)
vs. UT Martin First meeting
Overall Record 109-58 (14th year)
vs. UT Martin First meeting
Jason Simpson (Southern Miss, 1994)
UT Martin Record 20-12 (3rd year)
vs. Auburn First meeting
Overall Record 20-12 (3rd year)
vs. Auburn First meeting
Auburn Not ranked
UT Martin 23rd FCS Coaches Poll (Oct. 26)
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 XM Radio TBA
LOCALLY WKKR-FM (97.7)
Live audio & stats www.auburntigers.com
Auburn celebrates its 82nd Homecoming on Saturday, returning to Jordan-Hare Stadium for the first time in four weeks to host UT Martin. It will be the final regular season non-conference game of the year for Auburn, and will mark the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
* Auburn has won its last 16 homecoming contests, with an average margin of victory of 24.5 points.
* Auburn is 30-2-1 in its last 33 Homecoming games.
* Kodi Burns had Auburn's first 300-yard passing game since the 2005 season opener with a 319-yard effort at Ole Miss Nov. 1.
* Chris Slaughter had eight catches for 131 yards at Ole Miss after totaling eight receptions for 39 yards in his first 17 games as a Tiger combined.
* Auburn had 314 yards of offense in the second half at Ole Miss, which was the biggest half of the season for the Tigers and more yards than they had in any of their previous four games.
* Auburn has not allowed a touchdown in the first quarter all season, outscoring its opponents 44-6 in the quarter.
* Auburn ranks third in the nation in opponents' third-down conversion percentage, surrendering just 36 first downs in 133 attempts (27.1 percent).
* Auburn ranks 14th nationally in scoring defense, allowing just 15.9 points per game.
* Auburn ranks 10th nationally in pass defense (163.1) and 20th in pass defense efficiency (105.04).
* Auburn is one of just six 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 72 consecutive games without being shut out.
* Auburn ranks tied for 10th nationally in kickoff returns (25.1) and 11th in the nation in punt returns (15.6).
* Senior Tristan Davis is Auburn's career record holder in kickoff return average (26.1).
* Junior Antonio Coleman shares the SEC lead in sacks (6.0) and tackles for loss (10.5).
* Junior Ben Tate needs just 132 yards rushing to become the 13th player in Auburn history with 2,000 career rushing yards.
HOMECOMING ON THE PLAINS
This Saturday's game will mark the 95th observance of Homecoming at Auburn and the 82nd homecoming game for the Tigers.
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 68-8-5 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. 7 and the winner's name is kept in anonymity until the announcement.
The five finalists are: Kellen Cooper, Meredith Gaston, Jordan Huff, Melissa Johnson and Haley Walker. 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 16 straight Homecoming contests ... The Tigers' average margin of victory in those 16 games is +24.5 ... Auburn has scored 25 or more points in 21 of the last 25 Homecoming games, including 30 or more points in 19 of those contests ... Auburn is 30-2-1 in its last 33 Homecoming games ... This will be the seventh Homecoming game to be played on Nov. 8 and first since 1986. Auburn is 4-1-1 in its previous Nov. 8 Homecoming games, winning the last two and going 4-0-1 in the last five.
UT MARTIN QUICK HITTERS
UT Martin is ranked 23rd in the latest (Oct. 26) FCS Coaches Top 25 poll ... The Skyhawks lead the Ohio Valley Conference with a 5-1 league mark ... Saturday's game will set a record for the most people to ever watch UT Martin play football - the current top mark of 48,058 was set earlier this season at South Florida ... It will also be UTM's first ever game against an SEC opponent ... UT Martin ranks second nationally in the Football Championship Subdivision in scoring offense, averaging 40.7 points per game ... The Skyhawks scored a season-best 87 points earlier this season against Concordia College ... 370 of Brandyn Young's 56 yards rushing have come in the last two games ... Roren Thomas leads the OVC in all-purpose yardage (160.3) ... Quarterback Cade Thompson, a transfer from South Carolina, ranks ninth nationally in the FCS in passing efficiency (159.11) ... Dontrell Miller's four interceptions ranks tied for second in the OVC.
The 2008 Auburn roster includes two players who hail from the state of Tennessee. Sophomore OL Mike Berry is from Antioch, while redshirt freshman OL A.J. Greene is from Madison.
Ten members of the UT Martin squad are from the state of Alabama: senior WR E.J. Daniel (Brundidge), sophomore S Erick Daniel (Fairfield), junior OT Joe Gibbs (Brilliant), freshman DB Avery Jackson (Muscle Shoals), sophomore DL Karlos Jones (Athens), junior OL Jamar Lawrence (Fosters), junior S Dontrelle Miller (Demopolis), freshman DL Darrin Nalls (Fayette), sophomore guard Taz Tillery (Russellville) and senior DT Ray Williams (Demopolis).
ON THIS DATE
Auburn is 6-7-1 all-time on Nov. 8. The Tigers' last game on Nov. 8 was a 24-20 loss to Ole Miss, which is the Rebels' only victory against the Tigers since the 1999 season. The Tigers went 4-0-1 in their previous five Nov. 8 games, but lost five straight from 1924-1952. Strangely, Mississippi State was the opponent on six straight Nov. 8 games from 1941-1975.
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.
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.
300 THROUGH THE AIR
Sophomore quarterback Kodi Burns threw for a career-high 319 yards against Ole Miss, completing 27-of-43 passes. Burns became the first Auburn quarterback to post a 300-yard passing game since Brandon Cox threw for 342 yards in the 2005 season opener against Georgia Tech. The Tigers had played 45 straight games without having a 300-yard passing effort.
Burns' 319 yards tied for 20th most in a game by an Auburn quarterback, his 27 pass completions tied for the eighth most in a game in Auburn history, and his 43 pass attempts are tied for 12th most in Auburn history in a single game. He entered the game with 309 yards passing for the entire season.
FROM START TO FINISH
Kodi Burns' 319-yard effort against Ole Miss came in just his second full game at quarterback for Auburn. He entered Auburn's previous 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 led the team in rushing against West Virginia with 82 yards and a score on 15 carries, and completed 13-of-21 passes for 111 yards and another touchdown. His only interception came on a desperation heave on the game's final play.
SLAUGHTERING HIS CAREER MARKS
Sophomore wide receiver Chris Slaughter had a career game against Ole Miss Nov. 1. Slaughter hauled in eight passes for 131 yards to lead all Tiger receivers and post the first 100-yard receiving game by an Auburn player this season. Slaughter matched the number of catches he had accumulated in his first 17 games combined as a Tiger, and more than tripled his career receiving yardage. He entered the game with eight career catches for 39 yards. He also had not previously had a reception of more than nine yards in his career, but had grabs of 42, 37 and 16 yards against Ole Miss. Seven of his catches for 126 yards came in the second half.
Auburn's offense put up some impressive total offense numbers during the second half Nov. 1 at Ole Miss. The Tigers had 314 yards of total offense in the second half, which was the most yards gained in a half by Auburn this season, and more yards than Auburn had gained in any of its previous four games.
Auburn had 168 yards of offense in the fourth quarter alone, which was the biggest output in a single quarter of the season for the squad. The 146 yards of offense gained by the Tigers in the third quarter were the second most at the time behind a 160-yard third quarter against Louisiana-Monroe.
Auburn also had six plays of at least 20 yards in the second half against Ole Miss, which was one more than the Tigers had in the last four games combined.
FANTASTIC FIRST QUARTERS
Auburn has outscored its opponents 44-6 in the first quarter this season, helping the Tigers to lead eight of their nine games at halftime. The Tigers have yet to allow a touchdown in the opening quarter this season, surrendering field goals to LSU and Arkansas.
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.
MANY HAPPY RETURNS
Auburn's return specialists have excelled this season, as the Tigers rank tied for 10th nationally in kickoff returns (25.1) and 11th in punt returns (15.6). Individually, Tristan Davis is third in the SEC and 23rd nationally in kickoff returns (26.9) and Robert Dunn averages 21.4 yards per punt returns but does not have enough returns (nine) to qualify for the NCAA leaders. Both have returned kicks for touchdowns.
The Tigers have not allowed their opponents as much success returning kicks, as Auburn is 17th nationally in net punting (37.4) and third in the SEC in kickoff coverage (45.3).
DAVIS SETTING RECORDS
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 26.1 yards, and his 1229 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.
SCORING FROM ALL AVENUES
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 NOT HELPING
Injuries have played a major role in Auburn's season, as Auburn has had 13 players who have appeared on the two deep miss a combined 49 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.
TOUGH TO SCORE AGAINST
Auburn has allowed just 143 points through its first nine games, ranking the Tigers 14th in the nation in scoring defense at 15.9 points per game. Six of Auburn's first nine opponents have been held to 17 points or fewer.
Last season, Auburn allowed 142 points in the first nine games (15.8 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 30 nationally in several defensive categories, including third-down conversion defense (27.1, 3rd), pass defense (163.1, 10th), pass efficiency defense (105.04, 20th), first downs allowed (16.3, T25th), total defense (303.0, 27th), tackles for loss (6.6, 27th) and red zone defense (.762, T27th).
THIRD DOWN DOMINATION
Auburn's defense has been terrific on third downs this season, as the Tigers rank third in the nation in opponent third-down conversions. Auburn opponents have converted just 36-of-133 third downs for 27.1 percent. Five of Auburn's nine 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 8-of-36 (22.2 percent). Forcing third and long has been the key, as 70 of the 133 attempts (52.6 percent) have come with seven or more yards needed for a first down.
SECONDARY TO NONE
Auburn's secondary has been solid despite a lack of depth this season, as the Tigers rank 10th nationally defensively in pass defense (163.1) and 20th in pass efficiency defense (105.04). The Tigers are allowing only 5.22 yards per pass attempt, which is the fourth best mark in the nation.
Auburn has held five of its nine 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.
NOT GIVING UP GROUND
Auburn's defense has allowed just four rushing touchdown this season, making the Tigers one of just six teams that have allowed four or fewer rushing touchdowns this season. Three of the other five schools have also played just eight games, while the Tigers have played nine.
COLEMAN LIGHTING UP QBs
Junior defensive end Antonio Coleman has collected six sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss so far this season, with both marks ranking tied for first in the SEC. Coleman, who also has a team-high 12 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 has nine tackles for loss, including two sacks, which is tied for fifth most in the SEC this season. Marks, who has started all 35 games since the start of the 2006 season, now has 29 tackles for loss during his career.
SUCCESS FROM THE FIRST START
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 Auburn player this season to record a double-digit tackle effort. Has has started the last five games, and now ranks third on the team with 44 tackles, including 35 in his five starts, which leads the team during that span.
DURST CONTINUING TO EXCEL
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 30th nationally, averaging 42.1 yards per punt this year with 15 punts placed inside the 20-yard line. His kicks, which have included 18 fair catches, have helped Auburn rank 17th nationally in net punting at 37.4 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.
WINNING THE CLOSE ONES
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.
RUNNING BACK U.
Auburn is continuing its tradition of producing high-caliber running backs, with two backs on the squad that have over 1,600 career rushing yards. Junior Ben Tate leads the team with 573 yards rushing and ranks 16th in Auburn history with 1,868 career yards. Tate needs 132 yards to become the 13th player in Auburn history with 2,000 career rushing yards. Senior Brad Lester had 238 yards this season and has pushed his career total to 1,638, 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 25 catches for 246 yards and a score this season, now has 109 career catches, which ranks sixth in school history. Smith also has 1,512 career receiving yards, which ranks ninth best in Auburn history.
SPREADING IT AROUND
Auburn has had 15 different players catch passes this season, and all 15 have multiple receptions. 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.
NO SHUTOUTS ALLOWED
Auburn has scored in 72 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.
WHEN SCORING 20+ POINTS
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.
30+ POINTS EQUALS VICTORY
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.
Vs. RANKED TEAMS
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.
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.
IN THE POLLS
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.
TUBERVILLE IN TENTH SEASON
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 84-38 in his 10 seasons at Auburn and an overall mark of 109-58. 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.
14 AND COUNTING
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.
TUBERVILLE'S TOP 10
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 www.auburntigers.com. 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
ANOTHER HALL OF FAME FOR TUBS
Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville, who was inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in February, 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.
THE SENIOR CLASS
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 four that have played in at least 40. Courtney Harden leads the group, having played in 43 of a possible 47 games over the past four seasons, and is followed closely by Merrill Johnson (42), Rodgeriqus Smith (42), Robert Dunn (40), Tyronne Green (39), Brad Lester (38), Chris Evans (38) and Robert Shiver (35). Green, Smith and Shiver are the only three members of the senior class to have played in all 35 games over the past three seasons.
SECOND SENIOR SEASON
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 35 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 22 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
8. Arizona State 7
Ohio State 7
Penn State 7
AUBURN BY THE NUMBERS
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.
TIGERS TOUGH ON TOP TEN
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.
Over the past five seasons, Auburn has the nation's seventh-best record in games played away from home (road or neutral site games). The Tigers are 18-7 (.720) since the start of the 2004 season outside of Jordan-Hare Stadium. Auburn is 15-5 against SEC teams outside of Auburn since the 2004 season.
WINNING IN WHITE
Auburn has won 16 of its last 20 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.
UNDER THE LIGHTS AT JORDAN-HARE
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.
OVER TWENTY MILLION SERVED
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.
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?
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.