Nov. 18, 2007
Complete Game Notes in PDF Format
#25/25 AUBURN (7-4, 4-3 SEC) vs. ALABAMA (6-5, 4-3 SEC)
JORDAN-HARE STADIUM (87,451) AUBURN, AL
NOVEMBER 24, 2007 7 p.m. CT TV: ESPN
GAME 12 QUICK FACTS
Tommy Tuberville (Southern Arkansas, 1976)
Auburn Record 78-33 (9th year)
vs. Alabama 6-2
Career Record 103-53 (13th year)
vs. Alabama 6-6
Nick Saban (Kent State, 1973)
Alabama Record 6-5 (1st year)
vs. Auburn 0-0
Overall Record 97-47-1 (12th year)
vs. Auburn 2-3
Alabama leads, 38-32-1
at Auburn AU leads, 6-2
at Tuscaloosa AU leads, 6-0
Neutral sites UA leads, 30-19-1 (6-1)*
at Birmingham UA leads, 28-17-1 (6-1)*
at Montgomery, AL Tied, 2-2
Last Meeting AU 22, UA 15
Nov. 18, 2006 in Tuscaloosa, AL
*Birmingham games counted as neutral site until 1988 when ticket allocation changed.
Auburn 25 AP/25 USA Today/25 Harris
Alabama Not ranked
Play-by-play Mike Patrick
Analyst Todd Blackledge
Sidelines Holly Rowe
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 TBA
LOCALLY WKKR-FM (97.7)
Live audio & stats www.auburntigers.com
Auburn and Alabama meet Saturday, Nov. 24, in Jordan-Hare Stadium in the Iron Bowl. The two teams enter the game tied for second in the SEC West, with the winner earning a winning SEC record for the season as well as a second-place finish in the division. The Tigers will be attempting to win for the sixth straight time against Alabama, which would be the longest winning streak against the Crimson Tide in school history. The game will be nationally televised by ESPN.
* Auburn's five-game winning streak against Alabama matches the longest in school history. The Tigers previous won five in a row from 1954-58.
* In the last meeting between the teams at Jordan-Hare Stadium in 2005, Auburn set a school record with 11 quarterback sacks.
* Auburn is 6-2 all-time in games against Alabama in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
* Auburn leads the SEC in scoring defense (17.3, seventh nationally) and is second in total defense (305.0, 11th nationally).
* During Will Muschamp's two seasons as defensive coordinator, Auburn has held 19 of its 24 opponents to 20 points or less.
* Antonio Coleman is tied for 10th nationally with 17 tackles for loss, which is the most by an Auburn player since 1995, and also leads the team with seven quarterback sacks.
* Brandon Cox is one win shy of tying Pat Sullivan for third on Auburn's career victories list by a starting quarterback with 26.
* Auburn has led at the half in 10 of its 11 games, and after three quarters in nine of the 11 contests.
* Auburn has scored on its opening drive in five of its last seven games, averaging 11.2 plays and 72.0 yards on those five scoring drives.
* Over the last four seasons, Auburn has the seventh-best record out of all Football Bowl Subdivision teams with a mark of 40-9 (.816).
* Auburn has had six of its 11 games decided in the last two minutes, including four of its six SEC games.
* Auburn has a turnover ratio of +10 in its seven victories and -9 in its four losses.
* Auburn has played 29 freshmen this season (15 true, 14 redshirt) and has had as many as three true freshmen starting on the offensive line.
* Of Auburn's 275 points scored this season, 191 (69.5 percent) have been scored by underclassmen.
ALABAMA QUICK HITTERS
Alabama is looking to snap a three-game losing skid after falling to Louisiana-Monroe last Saturday, 21-14 ... The Crimson Tide is ranked sixth in the SEC in total offense (386.0) and total defense (346.5) ... DJ Hall leads the SEC averaging 83.5 receiving yards per game ... Hall needs one touchdown reception to tie Dennis Homan's school record of 18 career TD catches ... John Parker Wilson has 15 career 200-yard passing games, which is a new school record ... Rashad Johnson is tied for the SEC lead and tied for fourth nationally with six interceptions ... Alabama leads the SEC averaging 7.1 tackles for loss per game ... Javier Arenas is second in the SEC and 12th nationally in punt returns, averaging 15.4 yards per return ... Leigh Tiffin's 21 field goals are tied for the most in the SEC this season, and he has made his last nine in a row.
Auburn has 51 players on its roster from the state of Alabama, which easily surpasses Georgia (24) as the state that has produced the most members of this year's team. Included in the list of 51 players are 25 players listed on the current depth chart, including 10 starters (Montez Billings, Jason Bosley, Eric Brock, Antonio Coleman, Brandon Cox, Zac Etheridge, Chris Evans, Sen'Derrick Marks, Jerraud Powers and Ryan Pugh).
* Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp coached at LSU from 2001-04 under Alabama head coach Nick Saban, serving as the linebackers coach his first season and the defensive coordinator the next three. He also went with Saban to the Miami Dolphins in 2005, serving as the Assistant Head Coach in charge of defense.
* Alabama defensive line coach Bo Davis was also at LSU with Muschamp and Saban from 2002-04, serving as the assistant strength and conditioning coach.
* Alabama assistant head coach for defense and secondary coach Kirby Smart was the defensive backs coach on Muschamp's 2004 defense at LSU.
* Muschamp also worked with Alabama outside linebackers coach Lance Thompson when Thompson served as the assistant head coach for recruiting and tight ends coach at LSU from 2002-03.
* Alabama tight ends/special teams coach Ron Middleton was a standout tight end at Auburn from 1982-85. He was named Auburn's Offensive Most Valuable Player in 1984 and 1985.
AUBURN-ALABAMA SERIES NOTES
This will be the first time the teams have met on Thanksgiving weekend since 1992 ... Auburn has won five straight games in the series, matching the best winning streak for the Tigers vs. Alabama (1954-58) ... Neither team had won as many as five in a row since the Tide won nine straight from 1973-81 ... Since 1980, with the exception of 1982, 1998, and 2003, at least one of the two teams has been ranked in the AP poll for every game ... The team leading at halftime has won 73.2 percent of the time (52-of-71) ... There have been 22 shutouts in the rivalry, with the Tigers winning eight ... The most recent shutout was a 9-0 Auburn victory in 2000 ... 16 of the last 19 meetings have been decided by 10 points or less ... The visiting team has won six of the last eight games after the home team had won the previous ten ... The game has been tied at the half on seven occasions, with Alabama winning six of those ... Since 1996 (last 11 meetings), the team trailing at the half has won five times--Alabama in `96, `98 and `99, Auburn in `97 and `04 ... The winner of the last eight meetings has outrushed the losing squad ... Auburn has held Alabama to 112 or fewer yards rushing in seven of the last nine meetings ... In the last eight games, Alabama has thrown seven interceptions and just six touchdown passes.
AU-UA: THE 41-YEAR BREAK
Auburn and Alabama did not play for 41 years, from 1908 through 1947. There are two common misconceptions about the reason for the 41-year lapse. The first is that a fight broke out after a 6-6 tie in 1907 and caused both schools to discontinue the series. The second is that the state legislature got the two schools back together. Neither is true.
Auburn and Alabama quit playing because of money and officiating. Auburn wanted a northern umpire for the 1908 game, Alabama wanted a southern umpire. Auburn wanted to bring 22 players and allow $3.50 per day for expenses. Alabama wanted to bring 20 players and allow $3 per day for expenses. The two schools could never reach an agreement on these items and they became the bone of contention for years. After a period of time, scheduling became a problem.
The two schools quit playing in all sports. They renewed their athletic rivalry - the rivalry off the field never quit - in 1948 after actually "burying the hatchet" in Birmingham's Woodrow Wilson Park.
In the winter and spring of 1948, Auburn president Dr. Ralph B. Draughon and Alabama president Dr. John Gallalee decided the disagreement had gone on long enough and agreed the series should be renewed after doggedly fighting what they considered interference into their internal affairs by the state legislature. Several cities, including Montgomery and Mobile, were considered for the game site. Birmingham was chosen because it had the largest stadium in the state, 44,000-seat Legion Field.
Alabama won that renewal game, 55-0, in 1948. The Tide was a prohibitive favorite the next year, too, but Auburn pulled off one of its biggest upsets ever, 14-13, and one of the nation's great football rivalries was reborn.
PUNT BAMA PUNT - 35 YEARS AGO
This season marks the 35th anniversary of one of the most incredible Auburn-Alabama games, which was played on Dec. 2, 1972. A few days before the game, Alabama head coach Bear Bryant incited the rivalry when he told reporters that he would rather, "beat that cow college once than beat Texas 10 times." That set the stage as second-ranked Alabama brought a 10-0 record into Legion Field to meet the ninth-ranked Tigers, who were 8-1.
For the entire game, Bama's defense held the Auburn offense in check. With 5:30 remaining in the game, 16-point favorite Alabama held a seemingly insurmountable 16-3 lead. The Tigers, perhaps fueled by Bryant's remarks, came roaring back for one of the best finishes in Auburn-Alabama history. Auburn's Bill Newton blocked two Alabama punts and David Langer ran both in for touchdowns as Auburn came back to win 17-16. Newton and Langer will forever be remembered by Auburn fans for their play in the now famous "Punt Bama Punt" game.
BO OVER THE TOP - 25 YEARS AGO
This season marks the 25-year anniversary of one of the more memorable games from the 1980s as the 1982 affair is remembered for "Bo over the top." Auburn had a nine-year losing streak against Alabama entering the game, but Bo Jackson's 1-yard leap over the Alabama goal line on fourth down with 2:26 left capped a 66-yard drive and gave Auburn a 23-22 victory, setting the stage for what Auburn people consider the Tigers' "coming out" party in the 1980s.
THE 1980'S: THE NEW CHAPTER
Though Alabama dominated the series through the 60s and 70s, the rivalry reached new heights in the 80s as the average margin of victory was a mere 6.4 points. Some classic battles were waged in the decade.
Two games that epitomize the series came in 1985 and 1986. Auburn won the 1986 meeting on a Lawyer Tillman reverse into the endzone with 32 seconds remaining to down Bama 21-17. Alabama won the 1985 game, 25-23, on a 52-yard Van Tiffin field goal as the clock expired.
A historic new page was added to the rivalry in 1989 when Alabama came to Auburn's Jordan-Hare Stadium for the first time. The game was held on Dec. 2, 1989, exactly 17 years after Auburn's 1972 miracle win over the Tide. Just like the 1972 meeting, Bama came into the game with a 10-0 record and a No. 2 ranking. Before a Jordan-Hare Stadium then-record crowd of 85,319, Auburn ended Alabama's national title hopes with a monumental 30-20 victory.
SETTING A SACKS RECORD
In the last meeting in Jordan-Hare Stadium in 2005, Auburn set a new school record by sacking Alabama quarterbacks 11 times. Auburn record five sacks during the first quarter alone while holding Alabama to minus-17 yards of offense in the period. Seven different players had at least half a sack for Auburn, led by 3.5 sacks from Stanley McClover.
SCORING SUCCESS VS. ALABAMA
Auburn has scored at least 21 points during each of its last four games against Alabama, totaling 28 points in 2003, 21 in 2004, 28 in 2005 and 22 last season. It marks the first time since 1954-57 that Auburn has scored at least 20 points in four straight games against the Crimson Tide.
LAST HOME GAME FOR 17 SENIORS
Saturday's game will mark the final home game for 17 Auburn seniors. Auburn's 17 seniors have combined to play in 643 games, including 203 starts. The group needs one more victory to tie last year's senior class for the most wins in a four-year period by Auburn with 41.
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 at least 40 games during their careers. Cole Bennett and Eric Brock lead the group with 50 career games played, followed by Quentin Groves (49), while King Dunlap, Josh Thompson and Patrick Lee have seen action in 47 games. Zach Gilbert is next with 46 games played, followed by Carl Stewart (45), Brandon Cox (42) and Leon Hart (40).
Auburn is 212-163-21 (.562) all-time in the month of November, including a 17-7 mark under Tommy Tuberville. The Tigers are 22-7 in their last 29 games in November.
ON THIS DATE
Auburn has an all-time record of 6-5-2 in games played on Nov. 24, but has not played on this date since 1962, a 14-14 tie with Florida State. Auburn is 2-0-1 when playing at home on Nov. 24, with wins over Louisiana Tech (29-0) in 1945 and Florida State (13-7) in 1956. The Tigers have never played Alabama on Nov. 24.
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 260-64-7 (.796) at Jordan-Hare Stadium, including a 46-10 (.821) 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.
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's senior class has had almost as much success as any in the country. Since the start of the 2004 season, Auburn owns the seventh-best record in the NCAA. The Tigers are 40-9 (.816) over the last four seasons. The top teams since the 2004 season are as follows:
1. USC 44-5 .898
2. Texas 43-6 .878
Boise State 43-6 .878
4. Ohio State 41-8 .837
LSU 41-8 .837
6. West Virginia 39-8 .830
7. Auburn 40-9 .816
8. Wisconsin 40-10 .800
Virginia Tech 40-10 .800
10. Louisville 37-11 .770
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 and four at Georgia, while forcing just three total in the three games, and has a -9 turnover margin in its three losses. In the seven victories, Auburn has committed just eight total turnovers while forcing 18 (+10 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 21 points off turnovers in its four losses, but has 65 points off turnovers in its seven wins.
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), Craig Stevens (two), Zac Etheridge (one) and Jonathan Wilhite (one), and yet still rank first in the SEC and seventh in the nation in scoring defense (17.3) and second in the SEC and 11th nationally in total defense (305.0).
NO PASSING ZONE
Despite playing non-conference games against New Mexico State (No. 6 in the NCAA in pass offense, 332.7 yards per game) and Kansas State (No. 18 in NCAA in pass offense, threw 58 passes vs. AU), Auburn ranks 13th nationally in pass defense, allowing just 185.0 yards per game, and is ranked No. 18 in pass efficiency defense (109.99). The Tigers, whose defense ranks tied for eighth nationally in yards per completion (10.33), 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 in the fifth game Sept. 29 at Florida, but the sophomore has played like a starter all season long. Coleman leads the team and is tied for 10th nationally in tackles for loss with 17, and also leads the Tigers in sacks (seven), which ranks sixth in the SEC. His 17 tackles for loss are the most by an Auburn player since 1995 and tied for fourth best by a Tiger since tackles for loss began being charted in 1981. (Note: Prior to 2000, sacks and tackles for loss were kept as separate statistics. For purposes of this list, the two stats were combined as they have been since 2000):
Rank Player Year TFL
1. Terry Soloman 1995 20.0
Gary Walker 1994 20.0
3. Tracy Rocker 1988 18.0
4. Antonio Coleman 2007 17.0
Mark Smith 1995 17.0
Marcellus Mostella 1995 17.0
NATION'S NUMBER ONE NET
Auburn leads the nation in net punting, averaging 39.7 net yards per punt. Much of the success can be attributed to a pair of first-year punters. Redshirt freshman Ryan Shoemaker, who leads the SEC averaging 44.2 yards per punt and has had just one touchback with 12 punts inside the 20-yard line. True freshman Patrick Tatum has also punted 16 times this season, averaging 43.7 yards per punt with nine of his 16 punts landing inside the 20-yard line.
Auburn has started five of its last seven 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.
Nov. 3 against Tennessee Tech, the Tigers drove 64 yards on eight plays in 3:10 before Tate scored on a 2-yard touchdown run.
In those five games, Auburn's opening drive has averaged 11.2 plays for 72.0 yards while taking 5:17 off the clock. And even in a game during that stretch when Auburn didn't score, Oct. 27 against Ole Miss, the Tigers still drove 40 yards on 10 plays before a fumble stopped the drive.
Over its past seven games, Auburn has done an excellent job of controlling the ball. In the first four games, Auburn had just one scoring drive of at least 10 plays, but in the last seven games, the Tigers have had 13, plus eight more scoring drives that lasted at least eight plays.
Against Florida Sept. 29, 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 had drives of 14, 12 and eight plays against Tennessee Tech and drives of 12 and 11 plays at Georgia.
Auburn has had the ball for more than 30 minutes in each of its last five games, averaging 33:20 during that span. The Tigers rank second in the SEC for the season with an average of 31:31.
Brandon Cox has led Auburn on scoring drives that gave Auburn the lead with less than four minutes left in the game five times 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.
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.
Three of Auburn's four 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.
FIRST HALF FRENZY
Auburn has had the lead at the half in 10 of its 11 games this season. In addition, Auburn has allowed just 30 total points in the first half of the last seven games (4.3 ppg), outscoring Florida, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, LSU, Ole Miss, Tennessee Tech and Georgia by a combined score of 100-30.
SECOND QUARTER SUPERB
The second quarter has been Auburn's best quarter this season, as the Tigers have outscored their opponents 86-26 during the period. Auburn has outgained its opponents 953-695 in the second quarter and has scored during the second quarter in nine of 11 games, while shutting out its opponents during the quarter seven times.
Junior wide receiver Rodgeriqus Smith leads Auburn with 45 catches for 614 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 Oct. 27 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 16th in Auburn history with 1,175 career receiving yards. He needs 13 catches in the last two 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 had a 55-yarder against Kansas State, which is tied for second-longest on the team this year.
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 23 in the last seven, 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 six 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 six games, Smith has 34 catches for 361 yards and three touchdowns, while Billings has 23 catches for 288 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 seven games have combined for only 20 catches for 281 yards.
20 OR LESS
Since Will Muschamp took over as defensive coordinator prior to the 2006 season, Auburn has held 19 of its 24 opponents (79.2 percent) to 20 points or less, including eight in single digits. The Tigers, who have allowed just 15.5 points per game since Muschamp's arrival, are 18-1 in games in which they hold their opponents to no more than 20 points.
Since the 2004 season, Auburn has held 38 of its 49 opponents to 20 points or less.
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 seven 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 Oct. 27 against Ole Miss.
Patrick Lee is just one of several Auburn defensive backs who has played well this season. Auburn has picked off at least one pass in eight consecutive games, grabbing 11 interceptions during that span. Walter McFadden's 93-yard interception return for a score against Tennessee Tech Nov. 3 was the third-longest interception return in school history.
COX TURNS THE CORNER
After a rough start to the season, senior QB Brandon Cox excelled during Auburn's next seven 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 next seven weeks, Cox completed 100-of-150 (.667) passes for 1,183 yards, six scores and just one interception, for a quarterback rating of 144.78. Cox is now third on Auburn's all-time passing yardage list with 6,631 yards.
COX ONE SHY OF SULLIVAN IN WINS
Brandon Cox earned his 25th career victory as a starting quarterback during Auburn's 35-3 win against Tennessee Tech Nov. 3. Cox, who is 25-9 as a starter, needs one more victory to tie Pat Sullivan (1969-71) for third for the most victories by an Auburn starting quarterback. Jason Campbell (2001-04) won 31 games and Stan White (1990-93) won 29. Cox is also tied for the lead among all active SEC quarterbacks in career victories. Tennessee's Erik Ainge also has 25 wins, while Kentucky's Andre Woodson is third with 18.
LESTER'S MIDAS TOUCH CONTINUES
Brad Lester's ability to reach the end zone has continued this season, with three scores in his first five games. For his career, Lester has now scored 20 career touchdowns (17 rushing, two receiving, one kickoff return) on only 290 touches. His rate of one touchdown for every 14.5 touches 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 benefitted an already improving running game for Auburn. The Tigers averaged just 93.5 yards rushing in their first two games, but have averaged 166.4 in their last nine, with 18 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 nine games.
GROVES EQUALS SACKS RECORD
Quentin Groves tied the Auburn record for career sacks with a second-quarter sack Oct. 20 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 NO. 2 IN NCAA IN CAREER SACKS
Senior Quentin Groves ranks second among among active NCAA players in career sacks with 26, despite missing two games this season with an injury. UCLA's Bruce Davis leads the country with 26.5, followed by Groves, USC's Lawrence Jackson (25.5) and Fresno State's Tyler Clutts (23).
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 275 points scored, 191 (69.5 percent) have been scored by freshmen and sophomores. True freshman Wes Byrum leads the team with 76 points, while redshirt freshman Mario Fannin and sophomore Ben Tate are tied for second with 36 points. True freshman Kodi Burns and sophomore Gabe McKenzie have two touchdowns each, while sophomores Montez Billings, Antonio Coleman and Walter McFadden have reached the end zone once each, and sophomore Zack Kutch has an extra point.
Auburn has had 29 freshmen (15 true, 14 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 is tied for 10th on the team with 33 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 10 games.
True freshman Wes Byrum has made 15 field goals in 19 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 his 15 field goals is tied for sixth best in a single season in Auburn history.
Redshirt freshman Ryan Shoemaker leads the SEC and ranks 13th nationally in punting, averaging 44.2 yards per punt, while true freshman Patrick Tatum has averaged 43.4 yards per punt with nine of his 16 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.
TIGERS BOWL ELIGIBLE
After earning its sixth victory of the season Oct. 27 against Ole Miss, Auburn became 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.
THREE OR LESS
Auburn held two straight opponents to just three points, beating Ole Miss (17-3) Oct. 27 and Tennessee Tech (35-3) Nov. 3. Surprisingly, that's not a rare occurrence at Auburn, as it marks the third straight season that the Tigers have held back-to-back teams to three points or less. Last year, Auburn won consecutive games against Mississippi State (34-0) and LSU (7-3), and in 2005, the Tigers won back-to-back games against Mississippi State (28-0) and Ball State (63-3).
FOUR OF FIVE IN SINGLE DIGITS
Auburn held four of five opponents to single digits in games played from Oct. 6-Nov. 3, as Vanderbilt (seven points), Arkansas (seven), Ole Miss (three) and Tennessee Tech (three) each posted just one score against the Tigers. It marked the first time that Auburn held four of five opponents to single digits since 1988, when the Tigers kept five straight opponents in single figures, falling at LSU (7-6) before beating Akron (42-0), Mississippi State (33-0), Florida (16-0) and Southern Miss (38-8).
TIGERS TOUGH ON TOP TEN
Auburn has won nine of its last 12 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 seven against top-ten teams and six straight at home. Two of the three losses against top-10 teams since the 2004 season have come in close calls 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 15-12 in games played against top 10 teams, and has won 15 of its last 22 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 21 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 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).
WINNING IN WHITE
Auburn has won 15 of its last 16 games when wearing all white, including three victories in four tries this season. Auburn had not lost when wearing white jerseys since the final road game of the 2003 season at Georgia, until the Bulldogs broke the streak in Athens Nov. 10. The Tigers went 5-0 in all white uniforms in 2004, 3-0 in 2005, 4-0 in 2006. In 2007, Auburn has a 20-17 victory at then-No. 4 Florida, a 35-7 home victory over Vanderbilt, when the team wore all white to honor Auburn's 1957 national championship team, and a 9-7 win at Arkansas. 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.
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 103-53 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 78-33 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.
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.
Auburn achieved a new school first with its 20-17 victory at then-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 that 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 59 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 is on his side. The previous 10 seasons that Auburn had a senior returning as the starter at quarterback, the Tigers won at least eight games every year, averaging 9.7 wins per season during those campaigns. Auburn's combined record during those 10 seasons was 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 previous 10 seasons that Auburn 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 turned 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 an Oct. 6 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.
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 11 games this season. Senior Josh Thompson, junior Rodgeriqus Smith and sophomore Sen'Derrick Marks all have started the last 24 games.
NO SHUTOUTS ALLOWED
Auburn has scored in 61 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.
WHEN SCORING 20+ POINTS
Under Tommy Tuberville, Auburn is 65-7 when scoring 20 or more points in a game, including a 63-6 mark in the regular season. Dating back to 1995, Auburn is 86-14 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.
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.
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 a three-hour encore presentation of the Auburn-Alabama football game Sunday at 5 p.m. ET/4 p.m. CT with Andy Burcham handling play-by-play duties and Cole Cubelic doing color commentary. CSS also airs 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 ... 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).