Alabama 31, Auburn 17 (Nov 21, 1998 at Birmingham, Alabama)
Auburn jumped out to a 17-0 lead over intra-state rival Alabama but the Tide scored 31 unanswered points to defeat the Tigers 31-17.
Markeith Cooper returned the opening kickoff 56 yards to the Alabama 44-yard line to set up Auburnís first scoring drive. Six plays later, freshman fullback Heath Evans scored from one-yard out to put the Tigers up 7-0.
After Alabamaís opening drive stalled, the Tide punted the ball to the Tigers and Auburnís offense went back to work. Freshman quarterback Gabe Gross hooked up with wide-out Clifton Robinson for 48 yards to move the Tigers into field goal range and from there, Rob Bironas connected on a 49-yard field goal to increase Auburnís lead to 10-0.
Behind the strong rushing of Demontray Carter, who had his first 100 yard rushing game of the season, Gabe Gross connected with senior wide receiver Karsten Bailey from nine yards out to give Auburn a 17-0 lead over Alabama.
Alabamaís offense would rebound in the second quarter, scoring two quick touchdowns and driving to score what looked to be a third before linebacker Haven Fields intercepted Alabama quarterback Andrew Zow in the end-zone to preserve a three point lead for the Tigers at halftime.
With only 25 seconds left in the third quarter, Zow hit running back Shaun Alexander out of the backfield on a 43-yard crossing pattern to give Alabama its first lead of the game, 21-17.
In the fourth quarter, Alabama scored 10 more points on a 36-yard Ryan Pflugner field goal and a eight-yard touchdown run by Shaun Alexander to give the Crimson Tide a 31-17 Iron Bowl victory over the Auburn Tigers.
Georgia 28, Auburn 17 (Nov 14, 1998 at Auburn, Alabama)
For the previous six years, this series witnessed the visiting team coming away with a tie or a victory. It would happen once again in 1998 as the Georgia Bulldogs defeated Auburn, 28-17 at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
The Bulldogs marched 80 yards in 14 plays on their first possession to take a 7-0 lead. The Tigers would answer when Rob Bironas kicked a 45-yard field goal to make the score 7-3 at the conclusion of the first quarter.
After the Bulldogs scored on an Olandis Gary run from six yards out, the Tigers would once again answer with a score of their own. Freshman quarterback Gabe Gross moved the Tigers 80 yards in 11 plays which was capped off by a two-yard touchdown run by Demontray Carter to bring the Tigers within four points at 14-10.
With only 2:45 left in the first half, it took the Bulldogs only one play to find the endzone once again. Freshman quarterback Quincy Carter hit wideout Michael Greer streaking down the sideline, wide open, for an 80-yard touchdown strike to put Georgia up 21-10 at the half.
On Auburnís opening possession of the third quarter, Gabe Gross connected with senior wideout Karsten Bailey on a 16-yard touchdown strike to pull the Tigers to within four once again at 21-17.
With nine catches in the game, Bailey set the Auburn career receptions record, breaking Terry Beasleyís 27-year old record of 141.
As fog rolled in on Jordan Hare Stadium, Olandis Gary scored early in the fourth quarter on an 11-yard run to put Georgia up 28-17, which would prove to be the final score in this 102nd meeting between these two schools.
Auburn 10, Central Florida 6 (Nov 07, 1998 at Auburn, Alabama)
Trailing 6-3 with only 57 seconds remaining in the game, Auburnís freshman quarterback Gabe Gross found senior wideout Karsten Bailey on the sideline who side-stepped a would-be tackler and ran 58 yards to give Auburn its third victory of the season, 10-6.
Auburnís offense was held scoreless in the first half, but it was the Tiger defense that would shine on this day. The unit kept one of the nationís best quarterbacks, Daunte Culpepper from reaching the endzone. The Golden Knights high-powered offense could only manage two field goals against the stingy Tiger defense.
Down 6-0 in the third quarter, Auburn finally got on the board with a 44-yard field goal off the leg of kicker Rob Bironas at the 6:01 mark. The Tiger defense remained tough in the second half, and punter Jeremy Zills helped keep the Golden Knights backed up, punting the ball seven times for an average of 40-yards per punt.
With only 4:20 left in the game, UCF took over on its 38-yard line, knocked out two first downs, and appeared to be running out the clock. Auburn called its second timeout, and the next play from scrimmage, Daunte Culpepper fumbled the snap and Auburn line- backer Whit Smith recovered it with 1:43 left in the game.
After three incompletions, Auburn was suddenly faced with a fourth and 10 situation. With the game on the line for the Tigers, Gabe Gross found wideout Clifton Robinson for a 13-yard gain which kept the Tigers hopes alive. The very next play, Gross found Bailey, who ran 58 yards down the sideline to score Auburnís only touchdown of the day and help the Tigers escape with a 10-6 victory over Central Florida in Auburnís 86th observance of Homecoming.
Arkansas 24, Auburn 21 (Oct 31, 1998 at Auburn, Alabama)
Auburn lost its first game under interim head coach Bill Oliver, falling to undefeated Arkansas, 24-21.
Following an Arkansas field goal late in the first quarter, Auburn would take the lead as fullback Tellie Embery took a pass from Gabe Gross 37 yards for his first career touchdown. Robert Bironas stayed perfect in extra points, nailing the kick and pushing the Tigers to a 7-3 lead.
Auburnís lead would be short lived as Clint Stoerner connected with Michael Williams for a 58-yard touchdown.
The Razorbacks would add one more score before the half was over. Five plays after Jeromy Flowers picked off a Gabe Gross pass, Stoerner found Nathan Cole in the endzone from four yards away to give Arkansas a 17-7 lead at the break.
Auburn stormed out after halftime scoring 14 unanswered points to regain the lead 21-17 midway through the third quarter. Karsten Bailey pulled down his 14th career touchdown, moving him into fourth place all-time in Auburn history. Baileyís 54-yard touchdown grab from Gross capped off a three play drive. Demontray Carter scrambled to the endzone from 10 yards out pushing Auburn out front.
On a fourth and one inside Arkansas territory, Gross could not handle the snap from center, resulting in a fumble which gave possesion to the Razorbacks. Arkansas would use just six plays to score as Eric Branch scored from 14 yards out to give Arkansas the final edge and the victory over Auburn, 24-21.
Auburn took the field under new management against Louisiana Tech. Defensive coordinator Bill Oliver was named interim head coach the night before the game after Terry Bowden, Auburnís head coach since 1993, resigned.
The Tigers racked up 32 points and beat Lousiana Tech, 32-17.
The game started with Louisiana Techís star wide receiver Troy Edwards taking a direct snap from center and running 68 yards for a touchdown on the Bulldogs third play from scrimmage.
An interception by Auburn junior linebacker Kenny Kelly at the Louisiana Tech 41-yard line set up the Tigers first score. Six plays later, Auburn freshman quarterback Gabe Gross ran 11 yards to score the Tigersí first touchdown and tie the game at 7-7.
The Bulldogs went three and out on their next possession and the Tigers moved 40 yards in four plays to set up a Rob Bironas 34-yard field goal to give the Tigers a 10-7 lead.
Auburn added another touchdown on a Gabe Gross fumble recovery in the endzone and Charles Dorsey sacked Tim Rattay in the end zone for a safety to give the Tigers a 19-7 edge. The Bulldogs answered with a touchdown when Rattay hit James Jordan with a 14-yard pass to make it 19-14 at halftime.
The Tigers wasted no time in the third quarter, scoring on Rob Bironasí career best field goal of 49-yards. Auburn added to the lead when Gross connected with running back Michael Burks on a 30-yard touchdown pass to put the Tigers up 29-14.
The Bulldogs never threatened in the second half managing only three points against Auburnís defense. Bironas added to Auburnís lead with a 29-yard field goal to make the final 32-17 and give interim head coach Bill Oliver his first win at Auburn.
The Florida Gators took advantage of Auburn turnovers and good field position in the first half to build a 24-3 lead that the Tigers couldnít overcome.
After the Auburn defense held Florida three and out on their first possession, the Tigers gave the ball back to Florida at the Auburn 32-yard line when Ben Leard fumbled the snap from center. Two plays later, the Gators would strike when Travis Taylor caught a 32-yard pass from quarterback Doug Johnson to take an early 7-0 lead.
Auburn went three and out on their next possession and have to punt the ball back to the Gators. From their own 38-yard line, Florida began a nine play, 62-yard drive that ended with Travis McGriff scoring on a seven yard run to put the Gators up 14-8.
After 14 quick points by the Gator offense, the Auburn defense would hold the Gators to minus two yards on their next two possessions.
Larry Casher caused Travis McGriff to fumble on the Florida 43-yard line. The Tiger offense moved 18 yards in six plays to set up a 31-yard field goal from Rob Bironas which put Auburn on the board with 28 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
After a 54-yard kickoff return by Floridaís Robert Gillespie, Johnson connected with McGriff to give the Gators a 21-3 lead only six seconds into the second quarter.
The Gators added a 46-yard field goal to their lead at the 7:55 mark to give them a 24-3 lead, which they would carry into halftime.
The Auburn offense moved deep into Florida territory twice in the second half but failed to score either time. The Gator defense turned the Tigers away one last time on the Florida four yard line to hold on to win 24-3 in front 85,557 at Florida Field.
The Auburn defense held Florida to just 301 total yards which was the third lowest total in Steve Spurrierís nine seasons at Florida.
Auburn 21, Mississippi State 38 (October 10, 1998 at Starkville, MS)
Mississippi State reeled off 24 points in the third quarter to break a 7-7 tie and take a commanding lead that it would never relinquish.
The Bulldogs took an early 7-0 lead when Auburnís Markeith Cooper fumbled the opening kickoff and Mississippi Stateís Eugene Clinton returned it 31 yards for the touchdown.
After both offenses continually struggled throughout the first half, Auburn would finally get on the board late in the second quarter when Gabe Gross hit wideout Erick Lowe on a 26-yard slant pass for Auburnís first touchdown.
In the third quarter, the Bulldogs offense came to life quickly, scoring on a 48-yard touchdown pass from Wayne Madkin to Kelvin Love to take a 14-7 lead.
On the Tigersí next three possessions the Bulldogs blocked two punts and intercepted a pass. Mississippi State turned the Auburn miscues into 21 points, taking a commanding 31-7 lead.
Auburnís Leonardo Carson intercepted a pass and returned it 21 yards to bring the Tigers back within striking distance, 31-14 going into the fourth quarter.
With 9:25 remaining in the game, the Bulldogs added another touchdown as James Johnson scored on a 23-yard run to increase their lead to 38-14.
The Tigers scored the gameís final points late in the fourth quarter when Ben Leard hit Karsten Bailey on a 16-yard touchdown strike.
Tennessee 17, Auburn 9 (Oct 03, 1998 at Auburn, Alabama)
For the first time since 1991, the Auburn Tigers and the Tennessee Volunteers would clash in the regular season. The Tigers also hoped to avenge their one point loss to Tennessee in the 1997 SEC Championship Game.
On Auburnís opening drive, the Tigers drove the ball down to the Tennessee 11-yard line after a 49-yard scamper by tailback Demontray Carter. Two plays later, Ben Leard was picked off by Volunteer defensive lineman Shawn Ellis, who returned the ball 90 yards for the first score of the game.
Auburn would go three and out on its next possession and have to punt the ball back to the Volunteers. On Tennesseeís first offensive play from scrimmage, tailback Jamal Lewis scored on a career long 67-yard touchdown run to put the Volunteers up 14-0.
The Tigers continued to struggle offensively going three and out on their next two possesions. The Volunteers added to their lead after a 46-yard Jeff Hall field goal put Tennessee up 17-0 in the first quarter.
Auburn got on the board midway through the second quarter when Auburnís Rob Bironas connected on a 40-yard field goal.
Late in the quarter, Auburn outside linebacker Marcus Washington delivered a blow to Tennesseeís Tee Martin causing him to fumble on his own one yard line. Defensive Lineman Leonardo Carson fell on the loose ball which set up a first and goal opportunity for the Tiger offense. Freshman quarterback Gabe Gross was called on to lead the offense after Leard left the game with a bruised elbow. After four tries from the one, Auburn failed to crack the endzone, and the Volunteers would take a 17-3 advantage into the lockeroom at halftime.
In the second half, Bironas split the uprights with 44 and 45 yard field goals but Auburn could not pull any closer. In his first significant playing time, Gross completed 7-of-15 passes for 112 yards.
LSU 31, Auburn 19 (Sep 19, 1998 at Auburn, Alabama)
LSU took advantage of four Auburn turnovers to hand the Tigers their first SEC loss of the season, 31-19, before a capacity crowd of 85,214.
After stopping the Bayou Bengals in three plays and forcing a punt, Ben Leard was picked off by LSU defender Clarence LeBlanc who returned the interception 21 yards for a touchdown.
After receiving the kickoff, Auburnís first play from scrimmage resulted in another turnover when Michael Burks fumbled and Thomas Dunson fell on it for LSU. It took Herb Tyler only five plays to put six more points on the board, capping the drive off with a five-yard touchdown run. However, on the extra point, Charles Dorsey sneaked through the line to block the kick.
Auburn quickly answered with a 80-yard six- play drive, highlighted when Leard floated a 54-yard pass to fullback Heath Evans for a touchdown, pulling the Tigers within six points, 13-7.
LSU struck back, going 80-yards in 11 plays, ending when Tyler connected with Kevin Faulk for a 19-yard touchdown strike, pushing its lead to 19-7. Auburnís special teams came up big again, stuffing Tylerís two point attempt.
Auburn would fight back adding a 10-yard strike from Leard to Karsten Bailey, and a Rob Bironas 29- yard field goal at the end of the first half.
However, Auburnís offense was shut down the rest of the game. LSU padded its lead late in the third quarter when Tyler threw his third touchdown pass, this time a 29-yard toss to Larry Foster. Auburn would get its only points of the half when Brad Ware returned the blocked extra point for two points.
Tyler found Kyle Kipps from six yards out for a touchdown to finish the scoring at 31-19. Once more, Auburnís special teams stuffed the two point conversion attempt.
Auburn 17, Ole Miss 0 (Sep 12, 1998 at Oxford, Mississippi)
Karsten Baileyís 28-yard touchdown reception from Ben Leard gave Auburn its first points of the year as the Tigers handed Ole Miss its first loss of the season, 17-0.
Auburnís defense held the Rebels to 136 total yards including just 32 rushing yards and intercepted two passes from quarterback Romaro Miller. The Tigers took full advantage of Ole Missí miscues, scoring 10 points off of the turnovers.
Ben Leard accounted for 195 of Auburnís 301 total yards completing 16 of 27 passes and tossing his first career touchdown to Bailey.
After Rob Pate picked off his first career pass, Leard connected with tight end Jack Schwieger for 32 yards to the Ole Miss one-yard line. On the next play, Heath Evans plunged over the goal line to give the Tigers a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.
Evans, in his second college game, carried the ball six times for 28 yards and also caught two passes for 38 yards.
Auburnís running game got a much needed boost from freshman tailback Michael Burks, who ran for 61 yards including a game-long 17-yard run.
Following Larry Casherís third career interception, Rob Bironas capped off a 12-play 45-yard drive with a 26-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to close out the scoring, 17-0.
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
----------------- -- -- -- -- -----
Auburn.............. 14 0 0 3 - 17
Ole Miss ........... 0 0 0 0 - 0
Virginia 19, Auburn 0 (Sep 03, 1998 at Auburn, Alabama)
Auburn faced Virginia in the season opener for both schools as the Cavaliers made their first trip to Jordan-Hare Stadium. The game matched two strong defenses which was evident as both offenses failed to put any points on the board in the first quarter.
With 6:51 remaining in the first half, Auburn moved into Cavalier territory but Tiger quarterback Ben Leard was picked off at the Virginia 24-yard line by the Cavaliersí All-American saftey Anthony Poindexter. Three plays later Virginiaís Aaron Brooks connected with wide-out Coffey on a 61-yard touchdown strike to give UVA a 6-0 lead. The extra point try hit the upright and fell short keeping the score at 6-0.
On Auburnís next possession, the turnover bug would strike again. Leard was hit from behind by Maurice Anderson causing him to fumble. The Cavaliers recovered on the Auburn 43-yard line with only :42 seconds remaining before halftime. Virginia moved the ball down to the Tigersí 24-yard line but failed to call timeout as time expired. The Tigers had dodged a bullet and went into halftime down only 6-0.
In the third quarter, Virginia took advantage of good field postion at the Auburn 37-yard line after a 27-yard punt by Jeremy Zills. The Cavaliers moved to the Tigersí seven-yard line, and once again faied to reach the endzone as the stubborn Tiger defense held them to a 24-yard field goal which gave Virginia a 9-0 lead going into the final 15:00 minutes of play.
Auburnís offense would touch the ball three more times but couldnít manage to get anything going against the Cavalier defense. Virginia added another field goal and touchdown to its lead to come away with a 19-0 victory in the opening game of the season.