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#NR/25/NR AUBURN (7-3, 3-3 SEC) VS. GEORGIA (5-4, 3-3 SEC)
NOVEMBER 14, 2009 7 PM ET/6 PM CT TV: ESPN2
SANFORD STADIUM (92,746) ATHENS, GA
Gene Chizik (Florida, 1985)
Auburn Record 7-3 (1st year)
vs. Georgia First meeting
Overall Record 12-22 (3rd year)
vs. Georgia First meeting
Mark Richt (Miami, 1982)
Georgia Record 87-26 (9th year)
vs. Auburn 5-3
Overall Record 87-26 (9th year)
vs. Auburn 5-3
Auburn leads, 53-51-8
at Auburn UGA leads, 14-9-2
at Athens AU leads, 18-10
Neutral sites UGA leads, 27-26-6
at Atlanta, GA AU leads, 5-4-3
at Columbus, GA UGA leads, 21-16-2
at Macon, GA Tied, 2-2
at Montgomery, AL AU leads, 2-0
at Savannah, GA AU leads, 1-0-1
Last Meeting UGA 17, AU 13
Nov. 15, 2008 in Auburn, AL
Auburn RV AP/25 USA Today/RV Harris
Georgia Not ranked
Play-by-play Mark Jones
Analyst Bob Davie
The Auburn ISP Sports Network provides radio coverage to over 50 stations that cover the Southeast. Rod Bramblett (play-by-play), Stan White (color), Quentin Riggins (sideline), Paul Ellen (studio) and Andy Burcham (locker room) provide gameday analysis.
SATELITTE RADIO Sirius Ch. 121/XM Ch. 141
LOCALLY WKKR-FM (97.7)
Live video www.espn360.com
Live audio & stats www.auburntigers.com
Auburn and Georgia meet Saturday in the Deep South's oldest rivalry, as the teams will meet for the 113th time. Both teams are coming off Homecoming victories, as Auburn beat Furman 63-31 in its Homecoming game, while Georgia blanked Tennessee Tech, 38-0.
* Auburn leads the all-time series with Georgia, 53-51-8, and has an 18-10 edge in games played in Athens.
* Through 112 meetings, the two teams are separated by just 49 points (Georgia: 1,747; Auburn: 1,698).
* The road team has won nine of the last 14 games in the series.
* Auburn is 10th in the nation in rushing offense (230.0), tied for 11th in scoring offense (35.0) and 12th in total offense (450.3).
* Auburn's current pace of 450.3 yards per game would result in a school-record 5,854 yards of offense by the end of the season.
* Auburn has 24 scoring drives this season that have taken less than two minutes, and 21 of those ended with touchdowns.
* Auburn ranks 13th nationally in red zone offense, scoring on 93.9 percent of its possessions (31-of-33), and has scored touchdowns on 24 of the 33 trips, which ranks second in the SEC.
* Auburn has held four of its last six opponents to less than 25 percent on third-down conversions and ranks 17th nationally in that category (32.7 percent).
* Auburn has scored four non-offensive touchdowns this season, including three on defense, and returned a blocked PAT for a two-point score as well.
* Ben Tate ranks 12th nationally in rushing (114.2), and has six 100-yard rushing games this season.
* Tate ranks fifth in school history in rushing (3,101 yards) and has posted the 18th 1,000-yard rushing season in school history, now with 1,142 this season.
* Sophomore Darvin Adams leads the SEC with nine receiving touchdowns, which is tied for third most in a single season in school history.
* Antonio Coleman leads the SEC with 12.5 tackles for loss and is tied for second with 6.5 sacks. His 21.0 career sacks is tied for third in school history.
* Walter McFadden is tied for the SEC lead in interceptions (four) and passes defended (11).
* Wes Byrum ranks tied for fifth nationally in field goal percentage (92.9) among kickers who have attempted at least 10 field goals.
DEEP SOUTH'S OLDEST RIVALRY
The Auburn-Georgia series is tied with Oregon-Oregon State as the seventh-most played series in the nation (Football Bowl Subdivision). The FBS series with the most games played are listed below:
No. Opponents Series
1. 118 Minnesota-Wisconsin UM, 59-51-8
2. 117 Missouri-Kansas Tied, 54-54-9
3. 116 Nebraska-Kansas NU, 90-23-3
4. 115 Texas-Texas A&M UT, 74-36-5
5. 114* Miami (OH)-Cincinnati UM, 59-48-7
114* North Carolina-Virginia UNC, 57-53-4
7. 112 Auburn-Georgia AU, 53-51-8
112 Oregon-Oregon State UO, 56-46-10
9. 111 Purdue-Indiana PU, 69-36-6
111 Stanford-California SU, 55-45-11
* includes 2009 meeting
The Auburn-Georgia series has taken hospitality to a new level. Auburn owns a winning record in Athens (18-10) while Georgia has a winning mark on the Plains (14-9-2). The Tigers have won 10 of their last 13 games at Sanford Stadium and Georgia has won on five of its last seven trips to Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Former Auburn coach Terry Bowden never beat Georgia in Auburn (0-1-1), but never lost to the Bulldogs in Athens (3-0), Tommy Tuberville had a better road record (3-2) than home record (2-3) against Georgia and Pat Dye had a better record in Athens (4-2) than he did against Georgia in Auburn (3-3).
Even legendary Georgia coach Vince Dooley (1964-88), an Auburn graduate, had better success against the Tigers in Auburn (7-5-1) than he did in Athens (4-8).
MORE AU-UGA SERIES NOTES
Through 112 meetings, Georgia has outscored Auburn by just 49 points (1,747-1,698) ... In games decided by three points or less, Auburn leads, 8-5-8 ... In games decided by seven points or less, Georgia leads, 22-19-8 ... This will mark the first time in 19 meetings and just the second time in 33 years that one or both schools have not been ranked in the Associated Press poll when playing each other ... The last time prior to this year that neither team was ranked entering the game was in 1991 ... In the last 13 meetings between the two schools, the lower ranked or unranked team has won seven times (UGA-1996, AU-1997, AU-1999, AU-2000, AU-2001, AU-2005, UGA-2006), with the higher ranked team winning just six (UGA-1998, UGA-2002, UGA-2003, AU-2004, UGA-2007, UGA-2008) ... Auburn has had more individual 150-yard rushing performances against Georgia (nine) than any other opponent ... The Tigers have had at least one rushing touchdown in 20 consecutive games against Georgia and 31 of the last 32 in the series.
GEORGIA QUICK HITTERS
Georgia improved to 5-4 with a 38-0 victory over Tennessee Tech last Saturday, posting its first shutout since 2006 ... The Bulldogs allowed Tennessee Tech just 55 yards of offense, which is second-best in school history ... A.J. Green leads the SEC in receptions per game (5.5) and receiving yards per game (91.5) ... Georgia is tied for the SEC lead for fewest sacks allowed with nine ... Georgia is fourth in the SEC in rushing defense (120.9) but 11th in passing defense (211.1) ... Drew Butler leads the nation in punting at 49.2 yards per kick, and the Bulldogs are tops in the nation in net punting at 44.0 ... Kicker Blair Walsh is 13-of-14 on field goals this year and has made all 77 of his career PATs.
* Georgia defensive co-coordinator/linebackers coach John Jancek coached the defensive line at Central Florida during Auburn head coach Gene Chizik's first season as UCF's defensive coordinator in 1998.
* Auburn Football Operation Coordinator Scott Fountain started his college coaching career as an offensive graduate assistant at Florida State from 1994-96, while Georgia head coach Mark Richt was the offensive coordinator for the Seminoles. UGA tight ends coach John Lilly was also a G.A. coach at FSU in 1996 after serving as a videographer in 1995.
* Georgia assistant head coach/defensive line/recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner and UGA offensive line coach Stacy Searels were teammates with Auburn defensive line coach Tracy Rocker at Auburn. Garner and Rocker both played on the defensive line during the 1985-88 seasons, while Searels was an offensive lineman from 1984-87.
* Garner starred at nose guard at Auburn alongside Rocker, earning All-SEC honors as a senior while Rocker won the Lombardi and Outland Trophies. Garner also served in various capacities at Auburn (recruiting coordinator/tight ends coach/ assistant strength and conditioning coach) from 1990-95.
* Searels was a first-team All-American in 1987 and a two-time first-team All-SEC selection, before working as a G.A. coach at Auburn from 1992-93. He later coached with Rocker at Cincinnati in 2002, instructing the offensive line while Rocker coached the defensive line.
* Georgia associate head strength and conditioning coach Keith Gray was a strength and conditioning graduate assistant at Auburn from 1997-99.
A total of 20 players on the Auburn roster call the state of Georgia home. Auburn players from the Peach State are: WR Darvin Adams (Kennesaw), WR Trevor Barden (Canton), WR Xavier Brown (Lawrenceville), LB Patrick Butler (Columbus), OL Kevin Carroll (Lassiter), DB Rodney Cofield (Atlanta), RB John Douglas (Augusta), RB Mario Fannin (Hampton), OL Stephen Gibbons (Marietta), OL Andre Harris (Lovejoy), DS Josh Harris (Carrollton), OL Byron Isom (Jonesboro), FB Jason King (Newnan), TE Philip Lutzenkirchen (Marietta), DB Tyler Mickens (Jonesboro), OL Andrew Parmer (Dalton), DB Blake Poole (Buchanan), DB Aairon Savage (Albany), DB Neiko Thorpe (Tucker) and TE Bailey Woods (Marietta).
World war has been the only thing strong enough to keep Auburn and Georgia from playing football. The two teams did not play in 1943, only because Auburn did not field a team due to World War II. The two teams did not play in 1917 and 1918 because of WWI. With those two exceptions, Auburn and Georgia have played continuously since 1898.
The Auburn-Georgia series (112 games) is older than the Georgia-Georgia Tech series (100 games) and the Auburn-Alabama series (73 games). Auburn and Georgia first played in 1892. They first played their intrastate rivals in 1893.
Of Auburn's major rivals whose games were once played at neutral sites, Georgia is the only school to come to Auburn without argument. In fact, both Auburn and Georgia used a home-and-home AU-UGA series as the base for major stadium additions.
Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia Tech all indicated they would drop Auburn rather than play at what was then known as Cliff Hare Stadium.
The 2009 Auburn-Georgia game in Athens will be a sellout crowd and have a gate of well more than $1 million.
Ralph "Shug" Jordan, who was an assistant at Georgia before becoming Auburn's winningest head coach, often used the Auburn-Georgia series, his favorite rivalry, as an example of the growth of college football.
One of his favorite stories was how gate receipts from early Auburn-Georgia games were divided. It involved Auburn's Cliff Hare and Georgia's Charles Herty, their friendship and the relationship between the two schools that brought college football to the Deep South.
"They would come to Dean Hare's house on Gay Street in Auburn after the game in Columbus to divide the money," Jordan said. "They would take the gate receipts out of an old cigar box, spread it on the kitchen table and say, `a dollar for you and a dollar for us' until the game proceeds were divided equally between the two schools."
Today, it takes a team of accountants in Auburn, Athens and the SEC office in Birmingham weeks to do what two gentlemen, Hare and Herty, used to do in a matter of minutes.
UGA 56, AU 49: AN SEC FIRST
The 1996 Auburn-Georgia game, the 100th in the series, was the first SEC game ever to go into overtime. Georgia won 56-49 in four OTs. It was the longest game in SEC history, until the 2001 Arkansas-Ole Miss game that lasted seven overtime periods.
Auburn and Georgia have split two overtime games between the two schools. Georgia claimed the 1996, four-overtime contest, with Auburn claiming a 29-26 overtime victory at Jordan-Hare Stadium in 2000.
WILLIAMS SETS RECORD IN 2001
In 2001's 24-17 win in Athens, then-freshman Carnell Williams set a new Auburn record when he carried the ball 41 times against Georgia. Williams' 41 carries broke the old record of 38 set by both Stacy Danley (1988) and Bo Jackson (1985). For the game, Williams rushed for 167 yards and two touchdowns and was named the SEC Player of the Week following his performance.
The outcome of the three games in the AU-UGA series from 2000-02 all came down to the wire. Two were decided on the final play, with the other being won in the last two minutes. The 2005 and 2008 battles were also decided in the closing seconds.
In 2000, Auburn scored 20 unanswered points at the start the second half to take a 23-13 lead. However, Georgia scored 10 straight points in the fourth quarter, including a 19-yard Billy Bennett field goal with 41 seconds remaining, to send the game to overtime. After Bennett's 25-yarder gave the Bulldogs a three-point lead in the extra period, Auburn QB Ben Leard's sneak from a yard out gave Auburn a 29-26 win.
Auburn broke a 17-17 tie in 2001 in Athens with 6:47 remaining as Carnell Williams' 1-yard run gave the Tigers a 24-17 advantage. After holding Auburn to a three and out, Georgia retained the ball with 1:10 remaining and drove down to the Tigers' 1-yard line before Auburn stopped the Bulldogs on the final play of the game. Dontarrious Thomas and company stopped Georgia's Jasper Sanks short of the goal line as time expired.
In 2002 at Auburn, Georgia won 24-21 on a touchdown pass from David Greene to Michael Johnson with 1:25 remaining on a 4th-and-15 from the Auburn 19-yard line.
The 2005 contest will be remembered for Brandon Cox's 62-yard pass play to Devin Aromashodu on fourth-and-10 that set up John Vaughn's winning 20-yard field goal with six seconds left. The game featured eight lead changes, including four in the fourth quarter.
In 2008, Auburn trailed 17-13 when the Tigers reached the Georgia 14-yard line with seven seconds left. But a desperation pass from Kodi Burns sailed over Ben Tate's head in the end zone, ending the Tigers' hopes.
100-YARD RUSHERS VERSUS UGA
Since 1970, Auburn has had 24 100-yard rushing performances against Georgia, including two 100-yard rushers in three games (1974, `78, `79). The Tigers have had a 100-yard rusher in five of the last nine years. Rudi Johnson gained 152 yards in 2000, Carnell Williams followed with 167 yards in 2001, Ronnie Brown ran for 124 yards in 2002, Williams went for 101 in 2004 and Kenny Irons rushed for 179 yards in 2005. From 1982-85, Auburn had four straight 100-yard rushers vs. the Bulldogs when the feat was accomplished by Lionel James (1982, 8-111, TD), Bo Jackson (1983, 18-118), Tommie Agee (1984, 9-115) and Jackson (19-121, 2 TD).
ON THIS DATE
Auburn has an all-time record of 8-7 on Nov. 14. The last eight times Auburn has played on this date have all been games against Georgia, with the Tigers going 3-5 in those games. The last meeting was in 1998, with No. 14 Georgia earning a 28-17 win at unranked Auburn. Auburn's last win on Nov. 14 was a 27-11 victory by the No. 12 Tigers over the No. 8 Bulldogs in 1987 in Athens. Auburn's first game ever played on Nov. 14 came in 1898, when the Tigers lost to North Carolina, 24-0, in head coach John Heisman's only loss of the season.
Auburn is 215-166-21 (.561) all-time in the month of November. The Tigers are 11-5 in their last 16 games in November.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES
Auburn has 4,503 yards of offense in 10 games this year, which is already nearly 900 yards more than the Tigers had all of last season (3,635). The Tigers have shown drastic improvement in every offensive category this season. Averages and NCAA rankings from major offensive categories are shown below:
Scoring 35.0 (T11th) 17.3 (T110th)
Total offense 450.3 (12th) 302.9 (104th)
Rushing offense 230.0 (10th) 137.5 (69th)
Passing offense 220.3 (63rd) 165.4 (99th)
First downs 21.5 (T28th) 16.5 (102nd)
Red zone offense 93.9 (13th) 57.1 (119th)
RECORD PACE FOR OFFENSE
Auburn's average of 450.3 yards per game would rank as the third highest single-season average in Auburn history. If Auburn maintains that pace, it would finish the season with a school-record 5,854 yards. The current school record for yards in a season is 5,469, set in 2004. With three games to play, Auburn needs to average 322.3 yards per game to break the school record. The Tigers collected 665 against Furman, which is the fourth highest total in school history (records since 1967) and most since 1988.
Auburn ranks 10th nationally in rushing offense, averaging 230.0 yards per game. The Tigers collected 301 yards rushing against Louisiana Tech in the season opener before running for 390 yards against Mississippi State the following week. The last time Auburn had back-to-back games with at least 300 yards rushing was in 1985, when Auburn had three straight games with more than 300 yards rushing (Ole Miss, 438; Florida State, 413; Georgia Tech, 377).
Auburn's current pace of 230.0 yards per game would rank 10th in school history. If the Tigers maintained that pace, the total of 2,990 after a bowl game would be sixth most in school history.
200+ GROUND GAMES
Auburn has posted seven games with at least 200 yards rushing this season. That total already surpasses the number of 200-yard rushing games that Auburn had in the two previous seasons combined. Auburn had four 200-yard rushing games in 2007, and just two in 2008. It is also the most 200-yard rushing games by Auburn since the 2002 team had eight.
PUTTING UP POINTS
Auburn ranks tied for 11th nationally in scoring offense at 35.0 points per game, and more impressively, it took Auburn just six games this season to score more points than it did in all 12 games last season. Auburn scored 208 points last year, and already has 350 this season.
Auburn scored 40+ points in three straight games against Mississippi State, West Virginia and Ball State, marking the first time the Tigers have ever scored 40 or more points in three consecutive contests.
Auburn has demonstrated a knack for making big plays this year, with 14 plays of more than 40 yards, including six of at least 60. Last season, Auburn had just five plays all year that covered more than 40 yards, and none that went for 60.
In addition, Auburn has 51 plays that have gained at least 20 yards so far this season. Auburn had just 39 such plays all of last season.
BIG MAN TATE
Running back Ben Tate is having a stellar senior season, ranking third in the SEC and 12th nationally averaging 114.2 yards per game. With 1,142 yards rushing, Tate has posted the 18th 1,000-yard rushing season in Auburn history, and ranks 13th on the single-season rushing list. He has six 100-yard rushing games this season, which is the most by an Auburn player since Kenny Irons had eight in 2005. Tate has also added 14 catches for 67 yards and five kick returns for 139 yards (27.8 yards per return). His average of 134.8 all-purpose yards per game ranks 38th nationally.
Tate ranks fifth in Auburn history with 3,101 career rushing yards. He needs 267 more to catch Joe Cribbs (1976-79) for fourth.
Senior quarterback Chris Todd has shown drastic improvement this season after offseason shoulder surgery. He has established a career high in passing yards three times this year, first with 255 yards against Louisiana Tech, then with 284 yards against West Virginia, then with 287 yards against Ball State. He also threw for what was then a career-best four scores against the Mountaineers, before tying the school record with five the next week against Ball State. Daniel Cobb is the only other Auburn player to throw for five scores, doing it in an overtime game against Louisiana Tech in 2001.
Todd is the first Auburn quarterback in history to throw at least four touchdown passes in consecutive games, and his nine TD passes in a two-week span were two more than Auburn had as a team during the entire 2008 season.
Todd set a school record for completion percentage in a game against Furman, connecting on 17-of-18 attempts (94.4 percent) for 256 yards and four TDs, all in the first half. He completed his first 14 passes in the game.
Todd's 17 touchdown passes are tied for 14th most in the NCAA. He ranks 22nd nationally in passing efficiency (146.55) and 23rd in the nation in yards per completion (13.69).
Year Cmp-Att-Int Pct. Yds TD Eff.
2008 86-156-6 55.1 903 5 106.64
2009 143-244-3 58.6 1958 17 146.55
FROM A TO Z
Sophomore Darvin Adams and junior Terrell Zachery were a pair of unknown wideouts prior to the season, but both have had breakout seasons. Adams leads the team in catches (38), receiving yards (627) and touchdown receptions (nine), while Zachery has 22 grabs for 437 yards (19.9 ypc) and four touchdowns. The duo entered this season with a combined five catches for 42 yards during the course of their careers.
Adams caught three touchdown passes against West Virginia, becoming the first Tiger to haul in at least three scores in a game since Alexander Wright caught four TD passes against Pacific in 1989. He matched that feat against Furman, and now leads the SEC and ranks tied for third in school single-season history with his nine TD grabs.
Zachery's four TD receptions have averaged 53.8 yards this year, including a school-record 93-yarder. His average of 19.9 ranks seventh best in school history.
THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT
Auburn's offense has excelled at both striking quickly and putting together sustained drives. The Tigers have had 24 scoring drives that used less than two minutes on the clock, including 21 that resulted in touchdowns. In 12 games last year, Auburn had just 10 scoring drives that took less than two minutes, and only six of those ended with touchdowns.
In fact, Auburn has 11 scoring drives that have taken less than one minute, and 10 of those ended with touchdowns.
The Tigers also have eight scoring drives of at least 10 plays this season, including four that took at least 13 plays. Last year, Auburn only had two scoring drives all season that used at least 13 plays.
O-LINE PAVES THE WAY
Much of Auburn's offensive success can be attributed to the Tigers' offensive linemen. Tackles Andrew McCain and Lee Ziemba, guards Mike Berry and Byron Isom and center Ryan Pugh have a combined 107 starts under their belt. They have not only helped Auburn rank among the national leaders in scoring offense, total offense and rushing, but have allowed just 12 quarterback sacks this season, which is tied for 23rd nationally. Virtually the same group last year surrendered 21 sacks.
FIRST DOWN FLURRY
Auburn is currently tied for 28th nationally in first downs per game, averaging 21.5. The Tigers have had at least 20 first downs in six games this year, including 30 against Furman, 29 against Mississippi State and 27 against Louisiana Tech. Last season, Auburn only reached 20 first downs in a game twice all year, with a high of 26 against UT Martin. Auburn had not had as many as 27 first downs in a game since collecting 28 at Arkansas in 2005, and the last time Auburn had at least 30 first downs was in the 2004 SEC Championship game against Tennessee.
GOING FOR SIX IN THE RED ZONE
Auburn's offense has been efficient in the red zone, as the Tigers have not only scored on 31 of 33 possessions in the red zone (93.9), which ranks 13th in the nation, but 24 of the 31 scores have been touchdowns. Auburn's TD percentage of 72.7 ranks second in the SEC behind only Ole Miss. Fourteen of the touchdowns have come on the ground and 10 through the air.
Auburn's offense has not only been explosive, it has been consistent. The Tigers have scored at least once in 33 of 40 quarters this season, and started the season by scoring in the first 20 quarters of the year. Auburn has scored a touchdown in 27 of the 40 quarters played this year, including a streak of 14 in a row earlier this season. The Tigers scored just 25 TDs total in all of 2008.
Auburn has had to come from behind in five of its seven victories, including a fourth-quarter comeback to defeat West Virginia Sept. 19. The Tigers trailed Louisiana Tech, 7-3, late in the first quarter before pulling away for a 37-13 victory. Auburn fell behind Mississippi State, 17-14, late in the second quarter before storming back for a 49-24 victory.
Against the Moutaineers, Auburn trailed by 14-0 less than five minutes in, and 21-10 at the end of the first quarter. West Virginia still led 30-27 entering the fourth quarter before Auburn ended the game on a 14-0 run.
The Tigers trailed Ball State 7-0 in the first quarter before scoring the game's next 30 points, and trailed Ole Miss 7-0 before scoring 31 unanswered points.
BUSINESS AS UNUSUAL FOR MALZAHN
Auburn's gaudy offensive numbers are nothing new to first-year offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn. His Tulsa teams led the nation in total offense in both 2007 (543.9 yards) and 2008 (569.9). Last year's Tulsa team also led the country in third-down conversions (57.0 pct.) and yards per play (7.27). Two of the three previous college squads that he coached finished in the top 10 in the nation in rushing, as the 2008 Tulsa team ranked fifth (268.0 yards) and his 2006 Arkansas squad was fourth (228.5).
In the last three seasons, his teams have reached at least 400 yards of offense in 32 of 38 games (84.2 percent).
BYRUM ON TARGET
Junior Wes Byrum has excelled during his junior season, connecting on 13-of-14 field goals and all 43 extra point attempts. Among kickers who have attempted at least 10 field goals, Byrum's percentage of .929 ranks tied for fifth nationally. Byrum, who ranks fifth in school history with 41 career made field goals, is second in the SEC in scoring with 82 points and fourth with 13 field goals. He made a career-high four field goals in a 26-22 win at Tennessee, earning SEC Special Teams Player of the Week honors.
Auburn scored its fourth non-offensive touchdown of the season Oct. 31 against Ole Miss, and also added a blocked PAT return for two points. The Tigers have returned three interceptions and a blocked field goal for scores, in addition to the blocked PAT return. The three interceptions returned for scores are the most in a single season for Auburn since 1996.
THIRD DOWN D GETTING STRONGER
Auburn's defense has gotten stronger this season on third-down plays, and now ranks 17th in the nation in opponent third down conversions (32.7 percent). Auburn has held its opponents under 25 percent on third down conversions in four of the last six games, including a season-low 8.3 percent (1-of-12) by Furman last Saturday and 20 percent (3-of-15) by Ole Miss the previous Saturday. Furman was 0-for-7 against the Tigers starters in the first half, and the Rebels were 0-for-6 on third downs in the second half.
DEFENSE HOLDING TOUGH
Auburn's offense has stolen most of the headlines, but the defensive unit has performed admirably despite a rash of injuries.
The Tigers have managed despite missing projected starters or second-stringers S Mike McNeil, CB Aairon Savage, LB Spencer Pybus and DE Nosa Egaue for all 10 games, DL Zach Clayton for six games, DE Antonio Carter and DB D'Antoine Hood for three games each and LB Eltoro Freeman for two games.
Safety Zac Etheridge is also out for the rest of the season after suffering an injury Oct. 31 against Ole Miss.
In addition, DT Sen'Derrick Marks and CB Jerraud Powers left school after their junior years to enter the NFL.
TOTALING THE TAKEAWAYS
Auburn ranks tied for 16th in the nation with 12 interceptions and tied for 28th with 19 total turnovers forced. Last year, Auburn had just 11 interceptions during the entire season and forced 18 turnovers in 12 games. The Tigers have spread the wealth, with nine different players grabbing interceptions. Auburn picked off five passes against West Virginia, marking the first time since 2004 (at Tennessee) that Auburn intercepted five passes in a game.
COLEMAN'S DOMINATING DEFENSIVELY
Antonio Coleman, a first-team preseason All-SEC selection, leads the SEC with 12.5 tackles for loss and is tied for second with 6.5 sacks. Coleman also has 37 total tackles, an interception which he returned for a touchdown against Mississippi State, a blocked kick, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He ranks tied for third in Auburn history with 21.0 career sacks, matching the total of his defensive line coach, Tracy Rocker.
Coleman has come on strong during the last four games, totaling 18 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss (-38 yards), 4.0 sacks (-31), a blocked kick and a forced fumble. He has twice been named the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week this season, following his performances against Mississippi State and Ole Miss.
JUNIOR LINEBACKERS LEAD DEFENSE
A pair of experienced junior linebackers have stepped up to lead Auburn defensively this season. Craig Stevens leads the team and ranks seventh in the SEC with 79 tackles, while Josh Bynes is eighth with 77. Last year Stevens had 54 tackles all season, and Bynes had 53. Both players have also recorded interceptions, while Stevens is second on the team with 7.0 tackles for loss and Bynes recorded a safety against Ball State. Stevens has recorded double-digit tackles in three games this season, including a career high 12 at Arkansas.
Senior Walter McFadden leads the team with four interceptions which is tied for the most in the SEC, as are his 11 passes defended (four interceptions, seven pass break-ups). McFadden's four picks are tied for the most by an Auburn player in a single season since Junior Rosegreen had six in 2004. McFadden returned an interception 29 yards for a score Oct. 31 against Ole Miss, marking his second career interception return for a touchdown. He had a 93-yarder against Tennessee Tech in 2007.
YOUNG GUNS GET FIRST ACTION
A whopping 34 Auburn players have played in their first career games as Tigers this season. The list of first-timers included: DB Gabe Barrett, DB Daren Bates, DB T'Sharvan Bell, WR Deangelo Benton, WR Emory Blake, OL Jorell Bostrom, LB Watson Downs, LB Jonathan Evans, DL Nick Fairley, LB Eltoro Freeman, DE Dee Ford, LB Harris Gaston, OL Stephen Gibbons, WR Anthony Gulley, DS Josh Harris, DE Robert Hill, RB Davis Hooper, DL Chris Humphries, DL Joe Jones, TE Philip Lutzenkirchen, DL Derrick Lykes, RB Onterio McCalebb, DB Ikeem Means, OL Andrew Parmer, DB Woody Parramore, DB Blake Poole, LB Ashton Richardson, OL Darrell Roseman, WR Travante Stallworth, OL John Sullen, DL Jamar Travis, DB Demond Washington, WR Jay Wisner and TE Bailey Woods.
In addition, 14 players have made their first career starts: WR Darvin Adams, DB Daren Bates, OL Bart Eddins, DL Nick Fairley, LB Eltoro Freeman, LB Adam Herring, TE Philip Lutzenkirchen, OT Andrew McCain, RB Onterio McCalebb, DL Jake Ricks, RB Eric Smith, OL John Sullen, DB Demond Washington and WR Terrell Zachery.
Auburn has had 20 freshmen (15 true, five redshirt) play this season. Three true freshmen have earned starts this season, including safety Daren Bates, who has started all seven games. Running back Onterio McCalebb and offensive guard John Sullen have started one game each. The 14 true freshmen that have played include: Bates, McCalebb, Sullen, WR Deangelo Benton, WR Emory Blake, LB Jonathan Evans, DE Dee Ford, LB Harris Gaston, WR Anthony Gulley, DL Joe Jones, TE Philip Lutzenkirchen, DB Ikeem Means, DB Blake Poole, WR Travante Stallworth and DL Jamar Travis.
THE SENIOR CLASS
Head coach Gene Chizik has a senior class that includes 13 players at Auburn in 2009. It marks the smallest senior class at Auburn since the 2001 squad had 10 seniors.
The 2009 seniors include: DB Gabe Barrett, DE Antonio Coleman, H Clayton Crofoot, P Clinton Durst, OL Stephen Gibbons, OT Andrew McCain, CB Walter McFadden, TE Gabe McKenzie, DL Jake Ricks, DB Aairon Savage, RB Ben Tate, QB Chris Todd and TE Tommy Trott.
Of Auburn's 13 seniors, eight have seen time in at least 30 games during their careers, including six with at least 40 games under their belt. Tommy Trott leads the group, having played in 49 career games, including 47 of a possible 48 over the past four seasons. Gabe McKenzie is the only player who has played in all 48 games since 2006. Antonio Coleman is next with 47 career games played, followed by Walter McFadden (46 games), Ben Tate (44), Jake Ricks (41) and Andrew McCain (37).
Junior Lee Ziemba has the longest staring streak on the Auburn squad, having started all 35 games over the past three seasons. Only two other players have starting streaks that date back to the 2007 season. Junior Ryan Pugh has started 25 straight contests, while junior Craig Stevens has 23 straight starts under his belt.
Senior Walter McFadden has the fourth-longest streak, having started every game since the start of the 2008 season (22 straight).
30+ POINTS EQUALS VICTORY
Auburn has won 55 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 its history, Auburn is now 275-4 all-time when scoring at least 30 points.
WHEN SCORING 20+ POINTS
In the last 10 seasons, Auburn is 78-9 (.897) when scoring 20 or more points in a game. Dating back to the start of the 1993 season, Auburn is 121-16-1 (.880) when scoring 20 or more points in a game.
WINNING THE CLOSE ONES
Auburn has had a knack for winning close games in recent seasons. Since the 2003 Capitol One Bowl, Auburn is 19-10 in games decided by seven points or less, even after posting just a 2-4 record in such games during the 2008 season. Nine of the 19 wins were by three points or less, with just four losses coming by that margin.
Auburn started the season with back-to-back games of more than 500 yards, totaling 556 yards in the season opener against Louisiana Tech and 589 yards in the SEC opener against Mississippi State. It marked the first time Auburn had back-to-back games with at least 500 yards of offense since 1970, when the Tigers had 566 yards against Florida and 664 against Mississippi State.
Auburn also totaled 400 yards Sept. 19 against West Virginia, 560 yards Sept. 26 against Ball State and 459 yards Oct. 3 at Tennessee. It marked the first time Auburn had five straight games with at least 400 yards of offense since games 6-10 of the 1994 season.
A NIGHT OF FIRSTS
Auburn established several firsts during its game against Mississippi State Sept. 12. To begin, Ben Tate and Onterio McCalebb both went over 100 yards rushing for the second straight game, marking the first time in school history that the Tigers have had two 100-yard rushers in back-to-back games.
McCalebb established another first by becoming the first Tiger freshman ever to rush for 100 or more yards in each of the first two games of the season. He had 148 in the opener against Louisiana Tech and 114 against MSU.
Finally, Darvin Adams had 116 yards receiving, marking the first time in school history that Auburn had two 100-yard rushers and a 100-yard receiver in the same game. It nearly marked the second straight game that Auburn accomplished that feat, as Terrell Zachery had 104 yards receiving at one point during the season opener, but lost 6 yards on his final reception and finished with 98 yards receiving for the game.
TOP SEC OPENER TOTAL
Auburn's total of 589 yards of offense against Mississippi State was a school record for the most yards ever in an SEC opener. The previous record was 527 yards in the 1995 season opener against Ole Miss. Auburn's 589 yards were tied for 11th most in any game in school history and tied for fourth most in an SEC game, and the most since the Tigers also had 589 yards at Kentucky in 2005.
Chris Todd and Terrell Zachery teamed up to make school history during Auburn's season-opening win against Louisiana Tech, connecting on a 93-yard touchdown pass. The play was the longest play from scrimmage in school history, surpassing a 92-yard rush by Ralph O'Gwynne vs. Loyola on Nov. 21, 1936. The longest pass play in school history had been an 87-yard pass from Jason Campbell to Silas Daniels on Oct. 9, 2004, also against Louisiana Tech.
Gene Chizik won his first five games as head coach at Auburn, which made him a part of 20 consecutive victories as a member of the Auburn coaching staff. His final season as Auburn's defensive coordinator was during the Tigers' 13-0 2004 season, and Auburn also won its final two games in 2003. The 20 straight victories matches the longest winning streak by any Auburn head coach or assistant coach in school history.
Chizik, who was part of 12 straight wins at Jordan-Hare Stadium during the stretch, is just the third coach in Auburn history to win his first five games as head coach. Terry Bowden won his first 20 games from 1993-94, and Mike Donahue went 5-0 in 1904 before losing the 1905 season opener.
Chizik also became just the third SEC coach since the conference expanded in 1992 to win his first five games, joining Bowden and Houston Nutt, who won his first eight games at Arkansas.
AUBURN BY THE NUMBERS
The Tigers return 46 lettermen from last season, including 24 on offense, 18 on defense and four specialists. Auburn returns seven starters on offense and seven on defense.
Auburn's current roster of 113 players includes 13 seniors, 31 juniors, 27 sophomores, 11 redshirt freshmen and 31 freshmen. The underclassmen (69) represent 61.1 percent of the Tigers' roster.
A number of walk-ons joined the program after the first day of classes on August 17.
Auburn began the season with eight graduates on its roster, which was tied for fifth most among all FBS schools.
The Tiger graduates included: WR Montez Billings (Public Administration), DE Antonio Coleman (Criminology), CB Walter McFadden (Public Administration), TE Gabe McKenzie (Criminology), DB Aairon Savage (Exercise Science), RB Ben Tate (Criminology), QB Chris Todd (Business Finance) and TE Tommy Trott (Public Administration).
Listed are the top 10 FBS programs in the nation in terms of number of players who have completed their bachelor's degrees prior to the start of the 2009 season.
1. Alabama 12
2. Boston College 10
Virginia Tech 10
4. Penn State 9
5. Auburn 8
Miami (Fla.) 8
East Carolina 8
Notre Dame 8
Texas Tech 8
Four members of the Auburn team have been named to watch lists for national awards.
Antonio Coleman leads the way, landing on four watch lists, including those for the Lombardi Award (best lineman or linebacker), Bronko Nagurski Award (best defensive player), Chuck Bednarik Award (best defensive player) and Ted Hendricks Award (best defensive end).
Ben Tate and Chris Todd have been named to the Maxwell Award watch list, for the nation's outstanding player, wihle Todd has also been added to the Manning Award watch list. Tommy Trott is on watch list for the John Mackey Award, which goes to the nation's top tight end.
Auburn has demonstrated a proficiency for placing players in the National Football League. As of Aug. 24, 37 former Auburn Tigers were listed on NFL rosters. The Seattle Seahawks have the most former Tigers, with four former Auburn players on the roster, while the San Diego Chargers have three. Twenty-seven of the 32 teams have at least one former Auburn player on the roster.
RUNNING BACK FACTORY
Auburn has produced four running backs that are currently on NFL rosters, which is tied for most in the NFL according to information compiled by www.kickoffzone.com. Ronnie Brown, Heath Evans, Tony Richardson and Carnell Williams are all former Tigers who are currently in the NFL. The list also does not include former Tiger Brandon Jacobs, who lettered at Auburn in 2003 before transfering to Southern Illinois. Only three other schools (LSU, Miami (Fla.) and Texas) have produced four current NFL running backs.
Now celebrating its 70th year as home to the Auburn football team, Jordan-Hare Stadium is the nation's 10th-largest on-campus stadium, with a capacity of 87,451 fans. The Tigers, who set a school record by averaging 86,915 fans last season, are 271-68-7 (.793) all-time at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Auburn has clinched its 10th straight winning season at Jordan-Hare Stadium, posting a mark of 57-14 (.803) at home since the 2000 season. The Tigers were undefeated at home during two of those seasons, going 7-0 in both 2000 and 2004.
UNDER THE LIGHTS AT JORDAN-HARE
Auburn has been tough to beat in night games at Jordan-Hare Stadium, including victories this season over each of its first four opponents. The Tigers have accumulated a record of 19-4 since the 2000 season in home games starting at 6 p.m. or later. That stretch includes a 4-1 record against ranked opponents, with wins over No. 1 Florida in 2001, No. 2 Florida in 2006, No. 7 Tennessee in 2003 and No. 14 Georgia in 2000.
Auburn is one of just two teams in the Southeastern Conference that is playing three non-conference games this season against teams that went to bowl games last season. South Carolina is the other.
Auburn opened the season with Louisiana Tech, which won the Independence Bowl last season. The Tigers' second non-conference game was against West Virginia, which defeated North Carolina in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. The following week the Tigers hosted Ball State, which fell to Gus Malzahn's Tulsa team in the GMAC Bowl, 45-13.
AUBURN FOOTBALL: EVERY DAY ...
This season Auburn is debuting a new weekly 30-minute show offering fans a reality-based, behind the scenes style production that will chronicle the inner-workings of the Tigers' football program through the entire 2009 season. The program follows the high and lows of competing as an SEC football player, with wired up coaches and players and exclusive interviews.
The show may be viewed across the state of Alabama and the Southeast on television stations as well as the Comcast Sports Southeast (CSS) regional cable network. The show will also be streamed via the internet at www.auburntigers.com. The show will air either Friday nights or Saturday mornings in all markets.
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.
CSS is a 24-hour regional sports network serving approximately 5.8 million households across 12 Southeastern states.