Auburn's Rudy Ford heads to the end zone on an interception return as Montravious Adams provides an escort
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. ― Rudy Ford came to Auburn with the credentials as a running back, but has developed as one of the Tigers' most consistent tacklers over the last two seasons.
No, he didn't forget how to run during that time.
Ford intercepted an Idaho pass Saturday, and then showed some of his old running back moves by racing across the field, and then down the field, and avoided would-be tacklers along the way for a 48-yard return for a touchdown. He was asked later if that made him feel like the running back of old.
"Yes, sir, it did," Ford said.
Auburn beat Idaho 56-34 on its way to next Saturday's game against Alabama in Jordan-Hare Stadium behind a defense that wasn't as precise as it was in the two games leading up to Idaho, but made big plays with three turnovers, including interceptions by Ford and Jonathan Jones.
The Tigers allowed only an offensive touchdown to Texas A&M and an offensive touchdown to Georgia the previous two weeks. Idaho inflated its success by scoring two fourth-quarter touchdowns against backups.
"We're picking up a lot of confidence," Ford said. "We still have things to work on, so that's what we'll continue to do."
Ford did get into a game as a running back as a freshman. He rushed for 73 yards on just six carries and scored a touchdown, too. But what he has mostly done is tackle. He had 93 tackles last season. He had seven tackles Saturday and has pushed his total this season to 104, the most by an Auburn player since Dontarrious Thomas in 2001.
Ford's interception was his second of the season and fifth of his career.
Now, it's time for a new challenge for Auburn's defense. It's time for Alabama.
"We're going to come out with the same intensity and really the same attitude knowing what kind of game it is," said linebacker Kris Frost.
Alabama will be favored. Frost is OK with that.
"It's not the first time I've been an underdog. It's not the first time this team has been an underdog," he said. "We just have to go into this game knowing exactly what our game is."
Fellow linebacker Cassanova McKinzy said he knows Alabama is going "to bring it just like we're going to bring it. They've got good coaches, got good players. We're all on scholarships. We're just going to have to see on the 28th."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine