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'Nick-Six': Ruffin, Davis combine for trio of Tiger takeaways
Nick Ruffin helped lead a defense that combined for three takeaways in the win over ULM on Saturday
Nov. 18, 2017

By Jeff Shearer

AUBURN, Ala. - Nick Ruffin and Javaris Davis teamed up for a trio of takeaways, including a "Nick-Six," in Auburn's 42-14 win over Louisiana Monroe.

Ruffin returned his first career interception 45 yards for a touchdown to put the Tigers up 35-7 midway through the fourth quarter.

"When I got the ball, the only thing I was thinking was definitely score," said Ruffin, whose last touchdown came on a similar play in high school. "Instinct kicked in. I had an incredible block, I think it was Daniel Thomas, and a lot of my defensive linemen were blocking downfield for me, so I wanted to utilize all of their efforts and score for them."

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said Ruffin "looked like an offensive player" on his TD return.

"It's an incredible feeling," Ruffin said. "I can understand why offensive guys get excited all the time. Especially as a defensive guy, you don't get that opportunity very often, so when you do, it's great."

Ruffin's interception was Auburn's third turnover in 10 minutes. Davis began the takeaway trend with a diving INT at ULM's 43-yard line late in the third quarter.

"I remember seeing that play [on video]," Davis said. "They were doing a lot of slants during the game. I just made a play for the team."

Auburn scored two plays later on Jarrett Stidham's 41-yard touchdown pass to Kam Martin. Three plays later, Davis forced his first career fumble after a ULM completion, with Ruffin making his first career fumble recovery at the Warhawks' 44.

"It felt great again just to be out there, because I missed a couple games," Davis said. "I felt like I was letting my team down when I was hurt, so I just tried to come back and try to help any way possible."

Ruffin's pick-six was Auburn's second of the season. Davis also returned an interception for a touchdown against Mississippi State. All in a day's work for an Auburn defense that has held opponents to 20 or fewer points in eight of 11 games this season.

"Coach Steele preaches to us every day, 'Just play to your standard.' It doesn't matter what the offense is doing. Doesn't matter what time we play, where we play, who we play. There's a standard here at Auburn. And our job is to play to it every snap.

"It's called winning your individual battle. For us, it's not about being Superman or making 50 million plays, it's just about us doing our job and doing it well."

Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:



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