Nov. 22, 2009
Complete Sunday Notes Packet in PDF Format
AUBURN (7-4, 3-4 SEC) VS. #2/3/3 ALABAMA (11-0, 7-0 SEC)
NOVEMBER 27, 2009 1:30 PM TV: CBS
JORDAN-HARE STADIUM (87,451) AUBURN, AL
Gene Chizik (Florida, 1985)
Auburn Record 7-4 (1st year)
vs. Alabama First meeting
Overall Record 12-23 (3rd year)
vs. Alabama First meeting
Nick Saban (Kent State, 1973)
Alabama Record 30-8 (3rd year)
vs. Auburn 1-1
Overall Record 121-50-1 (14th year)
vs. Auburn 3-4
Alabama leads, 39-33-1
at Auburn AU leads, 7-2
at Tuscaloosa AU leads, 6-1
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 UA 36, AU 0
Nov. 29, 2008 in Tuscaloosa, AL
*Birmingham games counted as neutral site until 1988 when ticket allocation changed.
Auburn Receiving votes - AP and USA Today
Alabama 2 AP/3 USA Today/3 Harris
TELEVISION - CBS
Play-by-play Craig Bolerjack
Analyst Steve Beuerlein
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 XM Channel 200
ESPN Radio (Live)
Bill Rosinski Play-by-play
Dennis Franchione Analyst
Joe Schad Sidelines
LOCALLY WKKR-FM (97.7)
Live audio & stats www.auburntigers.com
Auburn and Alabama meet for the 74th time in the Iron Bowl on Friday in Jordan-Hare Stadium. Auburn, which is coming off of its bye week after playing for the first 11 weeks of the season, is looking for its eight win of the season, while Alabama looks to remain undefeated prior to the SEC Championship game against No. 1 Florida.
* Seventeen of the last 21 meetings in the series have been decided by 10 points or less.
* Auburn has not allowed a first-quarter touchdown to Alabama since 1996.
* Auburn has 53 players on its roster from the state of Alabama, including eight starters.
* Auburn is 11th in the nation in rushing offense (219.6), 15th in scoring offense (34.0) and 16th in total offense (441.5).
* Auburn's current pace of 441.5 yards per game would result in a school-record 5,740 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, which tied for the fourth-highest total in the nation.
* Auburn ranks tied for sixth nationally in red zone offense at 94.3 percent (33-of-35), and has scored touchdowns on 25 of the 35 trips, which is tied for second in the SEC.
* Auburn has held four of its last seven opponents to less than 25 percent on third-down conversions and is tied for 17th nationally in that category (33.5 percent).
* Auburn has scored five non-offensive touchdowns this season, including three on defense, and returned a blocked PAT for a two-point score as well.
* Ben Tate ranks 19th nationally in rushing (109.9), and has six 100-yard rushing games this season, including five against SEC opponents.
* Tate ranks fifth in school history in rushing (3,168 yards) and has posted the 18th 1,000-yard rushing season in school history, now with 1,209 this season.
* Chris Todd has 19 touchdown passes - one shy of the school single-season record of 20 shared by Jason Campbell (2004) and Pat Sullivan (1971).
* Darvin Adams shares the SEC lead with nine receiving touchdowns, which is tied for third most in a single season in school history.
* Antonio Coleman leads the SEC with 13.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. His 22.0 career sacks is third in school history.
* Wes Byrum ranks tied for fourth nationally in field goal percentage (93.3) among kickers who have attempted at least 10 field goals.
AUBURN-ALABAMA SERIES NOTES
This will be just the third time the teams have met on Thanksgiving weekend since 1992 ... Alabama's win last year snapped a school record six straight wins for Auburn in the series, which was the second-longest winning streak in the series for either team ... 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 74.0 percent of the time (54-of-73) ... There have been 23 shutouts in the rivalry, with the Tigers winning eight ... Seventeen of the last 21 meetings have been decided by 10 points or less ... The visiting team has won five of the last 10 games after the home team had won the previous seven ... The game has been tied at the half on seven occasions, with Alabama winning six of those ... Since 1996 (last 13 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 10 meetings has outrushed the losing squad ... Auburn has held Alabama to 112 or fewer yards rushing in eight of the last 11 meetings ... In the last 10 games, Alabama has thrown eight interceptions and eight touchdown passes.
This year marks the 20-year anniversary of the first Auburn-Alabama game to be played in Jordan-Hare Stadium. The game was held on Dec. 2, 1989, and Alabama came into the game with a 10-0 record and a No. 2 national ranking. Before a Jordan-Hare Stadium then-record crowd of 85,319, No. 11 Auburn ended Alabama's national title hopes with a monumental 30-20 victory.
ALABAMA QUICK HITTERS
Alabama improved to 11-0 with a 45-0 victory over Chattanooga last Saturday ... Alabama's defense ranks No. 1 in the country in total defense (225.2) and pass efficiency defense (82.52) and is No. 2 in scoring defense (9.9) ... The Crimson Tide is fifth nationally in turnover margin, forcing 23 while committing just 10 ... Alabama is 10th nationally in rushing offense (225.6) and 89th in passing offense (192.4) ... Mark Ingram leads the SEC and ranks fifth nationally in rushing, averaging 127.2 yards per game ... Javier Arenas leads the conference and is sixth nationally in punt returns (15.4) and has seven career punt returns for scores, which is one shy of the NCAA record ... Leigh Tiffin leads the SEC in scoring (109 points) and field goals (25) ... Alabama has scored touchdowns on just 19 off 44 red zone possessions (43.2 percent), which is 11th in the SEC.
Auburn has 53 players on its roster from the state of Alabama, which easily surpasses Georgia (20) as the state that has produced the most members of this year's team. Included in the list of 53 players are 24 players listed on the current depth chart, including eight starters (Antonio Coleman, Eltoro Freeman, Andrew McCain, Ryan Pugh, Jake Ricks, Tommy Trott, Demond Washington and Terrell Zachery).
* Auburn defensive coordinator Ted Roof started his coaching career as a graduate assistant coach at Alabama in 1987-88.
* Alabama associate head coach/linebackers coach James Willis played at Auburn from 1990-92, and coached linebackers for the Tigers in 2006-08. Willis led Auburn in tackles in 1990 (123) and 1992 (126) and earned first-team All-SEC honors during his final season at Auburn.
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
One of the most incredible Auburn-Alabama games 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
One of the more memorable games from the 1980s was the 1982 affair which 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.
SETTING A SACKS RECORD
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.
TIGERS DOMINATE FIRST QUARTER VS. TIDE
Auburn has dominated the first quarter against Alabama in recent seasons, outscoring the Crimson Tide 83-17 in the last 12 opening periods dating back to the 1997 game. Alabama has not scored a first-quarter touchdown against Auburn since 1996, collecting just five field goals and a safety in the last 12 meetings. Auburn has shut out Alabama in the opening period in seven of the last 12 games, while the Tigers have scored 10 or more points in the first quarter in five of those 12 contests.
TIGERS VS. NO. 2-RANKED TEAMS
Auburn has an all-time record of 3-8 against teams ranked No. 2 in the Associated Press poll, but the Tigers did win their last game against a No. 2-ranked team. In 2006, No. 11 Auburn knocked off No. 2 Florida, 27-17, at Jordan-Hare Stadium, handing the Gators their only loss on their way to a national championship.
Prior to that contest, Auburn had not played a No. 2-ranked team since 1992, when a second-ranked Alabama team won 17-0 against the Tigers in Birmingham. However, Auburn's previous meeting with a No. 2-ranked Alabama squad, in 1989, resulted in a 30-20 Auburn victory in the first-ever meeting between the two teams in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Auburn's other victory against a No. 2-ranked team was another memorable victory over Alabama, as the No. 9 Tigers won the Punt Bama Punt game against the No. 2 Tide in 1972, 17-16.
ON THIS DATE
Auburn has an all-time record of 7-6-1 on Nov. 27. The last six times Auburn has played on this date have all been games against Alabama, with the Tigers going 3-3 in those games. The last meeting was in 1987, with No. 7 Auburn earning a 10-0 win against No. 18 Alabama in Birmingham. The 1982 game famous for "Bo over the top" also happened on Nov. 27. The last time Auburn played an opponent other than Alabama on this date was in 1948, when No. 9 Clemson edged the Tigers, 7-6, in a game played in Mobile.
Auburn is 215-167-21 (.560) all-time in the month of November. The Tigers are 11-6 in their last 17 games in November.
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.
SEVEN WINS IN FIRST YEAR
With seven victories so far this season, Gene Chizik has posted the second-most wins by a first-year head coach in Auburn history. The only coach with more wins in his first season leading the Tigers was Terry Bowden, who went 11-0 in 1993.
Chizik also became just the third coach in Auburn history to win his first five games as head coach. Bowden won his first 20 games from 1993-94, and Mike Donahue went 5-0 in 1904 before losing the 1905 season opener. Chizik is also 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.
Dating back to his days as Auburn's defensive coordinator, Chizik was a part of 20 consecutive victories as a member of the Auburn coaching staff. His first stint at Auburn ended following 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.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES
Auburn has 4,856 yards of offense in 11 games this year, which is already the seventh-best total in school history and more than 1,200 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 34.0 (15th) 17.3 (T110th)
Total offense 441.5 (16th) 302.9 (104th)
Rushing offense 219.5 (11th) 137.5 (69th)
Passing offense 221.9 (54th) 165.4 (99th)
First downs 21.2 (T35th) 16.5 (102nd)
Red zone offense 94.3 (T6th) 57.1 (119th)
RECORD PACE FOR OFFENSE
Auburn's average of 441.5 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 5,740 yards. The current school record for yards in a season is 5,469, set in 2004. With two games to play, Auburn needs to average 307 yards per game to break the school record. The Tigers collected 665 yards Nov. 7 against Furman, which is the fourth-highest total in school history (records since 1967) and most since 1988.
Auburn ranks 11th nationally in rushing offense, averaging 219.5 yards per game. If the Tigers maintained that pace, the total of 2,854 after a bowl game would be sixth most in school history.
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).
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 15th nationally in scoring offense at 34.0 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 374 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 56 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 19th nationally averaging 109.9 yards per game. With 1,209 yards rushing, Tate has posted the 18th 1,000-yard rushing season in Auburn history, and ranks ninth on the school's 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. He is averaging 125.6 yards per game against SEC opponents, with five 100-yard rushing games.
Tate has also added 16 catches for 88 yards and five kick returns for 139 yards (27.8 yards per return). His average of 130.5 all-purpose yards per game ranks 43rd nationally.
Tate ranks fifth in Auburn history with 3,168 career rushing yards. He needs 200 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 thrown 19 touchdown passes, which is just one shy of the school single-season record shared by Jason Campbell (2004) and Pat Sullivan (1971). He has established a career high in passing yards three times this year, including a season-best 287 yards against Ball State. He also threw for what was then a career-best four scores against West Virginia, 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 19 touchdown passes are tied for 21st most in the NCAA. He ranks 17th nationally in passing efficiency (146.55).
Year Cmp-Att-Int Pct. Yds TD Eff.
2008 86-156-6 55.1 903 5 106.64
2009 163-272-5 59.9 2196 19 147.12
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 (44), receiving yards (717) and touchdown receptions (nine), while Zachery has 23 grabs for 468 yards (20.3 ypc) and five 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 shares the SEC lead and ranks tied for third in school single-season history with his nine TD grabs.
Zachery's five TD receptions have averaged 49.2 yards this year, including a school-record 93-yarder. His average of 20.3 yards per catch ranks sixth 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, which tied for the fourth-best total in the nation. 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 nine 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.
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 33 of 35 possessions in the red zone (94.3), which ranks tied for sixth in the nation, but 25 of the 33 scores have been touchdowns. Auburn's red zone TD percentage of 71.4 ranks tied for second in the SEC behind only Arkansas. Fourteen of the touchdowns have come on the ground and 11 through the air.
Auburn's offense has not only been explosive, it has been consistent. The Tigers have scored at least once in 36 of 44 quarters this season (81.8 percent - tied for ninth nationally), and started the season by scoring in the first 20 quarters of the year. Auburn has scored at least one touchdown in 29 of the 44 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.
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 112 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 15 quarterback sacks this season, which is 31st nationally. Virtually the same group last year surrendered 21 sacks.
FIRST DOWN FLURRY
Auburn is currently tied for 35th nationally in first downs per game, averaging 21.2. 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.
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 Mountaineers, 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 39 games (82.1 percent).
BYRUM ON TARGET
Junior Wes Byrum has excelled during his junior season, connecting on 14-of-15 field goals and all 46 extra point attempts. Among kickers who have attempted at least 10 field goals, Byrum's percentage of .933 ranks tied for fourth nationally. Byrum has scored 88 points this season, which is seventh best in school history and just 14 shy of the school single-season record, and just six points shy of the most points ever scored by an Auburn kicker in a single season.
Byrum, who is tied for fourth in school history with 42 career made field goals, is fourth in the SEC in scoring with 88 points and sixth with 14 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.
WASHINGTON WOWS THE DOGS
Auburn junior Demond Washington had a record-setting night as a return man Nov. 14 against Georgia. Washington set school single-game records with 202 kickoff returns yards (of five returns) and 229 total return yards, which included 27 punt return yards. He had a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, which was the sixth-longest in school history.
Washington's 202 kickoff return yards and 229 return yards were both the fourth most in SEC single-game history, and his 40.4 kickoff return average is second best in SEC history for a single game (min. 4 returns) behind Kerry Goode of Alabama's 49.3 average versus Boston College in 1984.
Auburn scored its fifth non-offensive touchdown of the season Nov. 14 against Georgia, and also has a blocked PAT return for two points. The Tigers have returned three interceptions, a kickoff 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.
Opponent Player Score
Mississippi State Antonio Coleman 20-yd INT
West Virginia Craig Stevens 15-yd INT
Kentucky Neiko Thorpe 69-yd Blk FG
Ole Miss Walter McFadden 29-yd INT
Ole Miss Demond Washington Blk PAT
Georgia Demond Washington 99-yd KOR
THIRD DOWN D GETTING STRONGER
Auburn's defense has gotten stronger this season on third-down plays, and now ranks tied for 17th in the nation in opponent third down conversions (33.5 percent). Auburn has held its opponents under 25 percent on third down conversions in four of the last seven games, including a season-low 8.3 percent (1-of-12) by Furman Nov. 7 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.
Auburn has also allowed just seven points or less in the first half in five of its last seven contests.
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 11 games, DL Zach Clayton for six games, DB D'Antoine Hood for four games, DE Antoine Carter for three games 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.
COLEMAN'S DOMINATING DEFENSIVELY
Antonio Coleman, a first-team preseason All-SEC selection, leads the SEC with 13.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. Coleman also has 41 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 third in Auburn history with 22.0 career sacks, which is one ahead of his defensive line coach, Tracy Rocker.
Coleman has come on strong during the last five games, totaling 22 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss (-44 yards), 5.0 sacks (-37), 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.
Senior Walter McFadden leads the team with four interceptions which is tied for fourth most in the SEC, and his 11 passes defended (four interceptions, seven pass break-ups) is tied for sixth best. 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.
JUNIOR LINEBACKERS LEAD DEFENSE
A pair of experienced junior linebackers have stepped up to lead Auburn defensively this season. Josh Bynes leads the team and is tied for seventh in the SEC with 84 tackles, while Craig Stevens is 11th with 83. 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.
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, 15 players have made their first career starts: WR Darvin Adams, DB Daren Bates, WR Emory Blake, 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. Four true freshmen have earned starts this season, including safety Daren Bates, who has started all 11 games. Running back Onterio McCalebb has started twice and wideout Emory Blake and offensive guard John Sullen have started one game each. The 14 true freshmen that have played include: Bates, Blake, McCalebb, Sullen, WR Deangelo Benton, 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 50 career games, including 48 of a possible 49 over the past four seasons. Gabe McKenzie is the only player who has played in all 49 games since 2006. Antonio Coleman is next with 48 career games played, followed by Walter McFadden (47 games), Ben Tate (45), Jake Ricks (42) and Andrew McCain (38).
Junior Lee Ziemba has the longest staring streak on the Auburn squad, having started all 36 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 26 straight contests, while junior Craig Stevens has 24 straight starts under his belt.
Senior Walter McFadden has the fourth-longest streak, having started every game since the start of the 2008 season (23 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 78-10 (.886) when scoring 20 or more points in a game. Dating back to the start of the 1993 season, Auburn is 121-17-1 (.874) when scoring 20 or more points in a game.
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.
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.
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. Miami (Fla.) 9
Penn State 9
6. Auburn 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.
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 in 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.