Auburn Family News: August 2017

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Few Questions Remain on Offense

Kerryon Johnson & Kamryn Pettway  photo courtesy OANOW

As I write this, it's just 10 short days until gameday on the Plains. The excitement is building, and reasonably so. Auburn is ranked inside or near the Top 10 in most major preseason polls. 

The QB situation has been sewn up, leaving just the starting offensive line, and the 3rd string Running Back to list before the depth chart on offense is known.

The offensive line is listed among the most experienced lines in the country. Having that experience, and the talent level, leaves little to worry about. The coaches believe any of at least 8 guys have the ability, and have earned the right to start. That is truly great news.

The situation at RB is different this season. No doubt Auburn has a very good tandem in the backfield. Kerryon Johnson, and Kamryn Pettway have proven they can deliver in any game situation. 

Durability has been an issue, although it has been a focus in the offseason for both. Pettway stated in an interview that he has trimmed his body fat percentage from 11% to just 8% and believes he is faster. Good news to say the least.

Because of the issues in the past with durability, there has been a real focus on finding a third man in the backfield. The number 3 is popular in this search as there 3 individuals that Gus Malzahn stated were vying for this spot. Kam Martin, Malik Miller, and Devan Barrett.

Martin has plenty of game experience in a backup role last season.

In his most recent presser, Coach Malzahn talked about the guys in this competition. Give a listen, and thanks for stopping by.


WAR EAGLE!

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The AU Wishbone Podcast: 2017 SEC West BBQ Special & Auburn Preview

Live from Casablanca, Van and John break down the entire SEC West season to come, as well as revealing what Auburn’s W-L record will be. All this plus Listener Questions and more!



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Scattered Thunderstorms today!



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The Countdown to Kickoff: The SEC's best No. 11

There are 11 days until the first Saturday of the SEC football season, and the No. 1 11 in SEC football history is Florida quarterback Steve Spurrier.

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Auburn NFL roundup: Cameron Artis-Payne makes his case

Twenty-nine former Auburn players were on the field during the second week of the NFL's preseason.

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Monday, August 21, 2017

Former Auburn running back Stephen Davis Jr. no longer with South Carolina

For the second time in eight months, Stephen Davis Jr. has left an SEC football team.

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Multiple Cleveland Browns take a knee during national anthem

A group of Cleveland Browns players kneeled together in a circle with their heads bowed during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" before a preseason game against the New York Giants on Monday night. Included in the group were running back Isaiah Crowell from Alabama State and wide receiver Ricardo Louis from Auburn.

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Auburn Ranked 12th in AP Poll

Earlier today, the Associated Press released its Top 25 rankings twelve days ahead of the first full Saturday of college football.

It’s a bit of a coincidence, then, where Auburn landed in the poll.

The Tigers will start 2017 ranked 12th in the country, and they’ll be the second-highest of six SEC teams in the Top 25. Auburn falls one spot behind Michigan, a spot ahead of LSU, and they’ll sit in front of Georgia at 15th, Florida at 17th, and Tennessee as the 25th ranked team in the land.

In the top five, there’s no surprise as Alabama begins the season ranked atop the poll once again, followed by Ohio State, Florida State, USC, and defending national champion Clemson, who Auburn will visit in Week 2.

So what does this mean for the Tigers and the heap of expectations that have been thrust upon them as kickoff has neared? Well, in the three years of the College Football Playoff, there’s been plenty of examples of teams ranked near Auburn’s spot reaching the end.

In 2014, things went pretty much according to plan. It’s uncanny, in fact, if you remember the playoff games — Florida State vs Oregon and Alabama vs Ohio State — they featured four of the preseason top five teams in the country. Ohio State placed 5th to start the year, just behind Oklahoma. FSU, Alabama, and Oregon were the top three and all reached the playoff.

One year later, however, things got a little more interesting. Auburn fans know all too well about how 2015 fared with high expectations, and when Alabama, Michigan State, Clemson, and Oklahoma reached the playoff, it featured the 3rd (Alabama), 5th (MSU), 12th (Clemson), and 19th (Oklahoma) place teams in the preseason poll.

2016 was a bit of a mix of the first two seasons of the playoff. Alabama and Clemson were #1 and #2 to start, and both played in the national championship game. Clemson beat Ohio State in the semifinal, and the Buckeyes began the year ranked 6th, but Alabama’s opponent, Washington, started the year at #14 in the rankings.

That’s all to say that there’s plenty of sample size showing that Auburn’s in a good spot right now. There are expectations, sure, but they’re not as high as in years past and it could be a great spot to start the year. We’ll almost assuredly see the Tigers get a bump in the polls with a solid win over Georgia Southern to create a top ten matchup at Death Valley against Clemson.



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Jeff Holland has taken 'ownership' at Buck position for Auburn

Jeff Holland has taken 'ownership' at Buck position for Auburn

After two seasons of grooming, Jeff Holland in line to take over as Auburn's top pass rusher this season.

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Check out the solar eclipse scene at Auburn University



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Auburn announces enhancements to football gameday experience

Student section DJ, outdoor beer sales among Auburn 'gameday enhancements'

A DJ in the student section at Jordan-Hare Stadium is among 25 "gameday enhancements" Auburn announced it is making this fall.

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Four Auburn Players Poised to Have a Breakout Year on Offense in 2017

Oct 1, 2016; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers receiver Nate Craig-Myers (3) makes a touchdown catch as UL-Monroe Warhawks safety Aaron Townsend (31) defends during the third quarter at Jordan Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

It’s just 12 days till kick off for the Auburn Football Team. After finishing second in the SEC Western Division in 2016, the Tigers enter the 2017 season with several new faces along with several questions.

Perhaps the biggest of which is how much can the Tiger offense rebound from a disappointing 8-5 ending that saw the offensive production grow stagnant with the late season injuries at quarterback and running back.

New Offensive Coordinator Chip Lindsey is expected to add some new schemes giving plenty of opportunities for players to have a breakout year.

This week we will look at five players from the offense who I believe are poised to make a big impact. Next week we will look at five defensive players that could be very important in turning things around on The Plains.

Here are five offensive players that are set to have a breakout season heading into 2017:

* Nate Craig-Myers, WR

The Auburn receiving corps took a back seat to the running game for the Tiger offense last year. In an effort to improve the air attack, Malzahn has emphasized receivers in the last two recruiting classes and went out and hired passing guru Chip Lindsey to open up things up.

Near the top of that group was Craig-Myers who came in ranked as the nation’s No. 6 wide receiver. He hasn’t done much since arriving on the Plains playing behind Tony Stevens and dealing with injuries. In fact, Kyle Davis got more snaps last year due to Nate being banged up most of the year. But the former five-star is in his best health since arriving on campus as his five receptions for 154 yards on A-Day showed.
 
Adding to his good health is the fact he’s developed a good chemistry with the new quarterback Jarrett Stidham. “I feel like now, as we’re progressing, we’re getting better,” said Nate.  “We’re clicking on the right timing… It’s a pretty good relationship.” In addition, reports out of fall camp say the 6′-2″ receiver is a great blocker, an important commodity in the Malzahn offense.

* Prince Tega Wanagho, Offensive tackle

Wanagho is a remarkable story. With only one year of football experience he was ranked by Rivals, Scout, 247 Sports and ESPN among the top 10 strong-side defensive ends in his class. Recruited to use his height and speed at defense end he was moved last year to the O-Line.

A swimmer and basketball player in high school, he has tremendous athleticism. And at 6’7” his long arms help him with blocking assignments. Auburn offensive guard Mike Horton said. “His athleticism is one of the biggest things that I think helps him. And he’s aggressive, too.”

He played in 10 games last season for the Tigers as the backup to left tackle Darius James. But Coach Herb Hand said, “From where he was at this time last year to where he is now is an astronomical difference.” And it now appears James will move to the right side and the Prince will take over the all important left tackle position guarding the quarterbacks’ blind side. That’s a big assignment to be trusted with and the veteran hand believes he can handle it.

* Sal Cannella, Tight End/WE

A versatile player, Cannela could play tight end or wide receiver. Tight End position had not been utilized much in the Malzahn passing game except for blocking assignments but when the TE is part of the passing game it brings another dimension to the table. The Tigers have thrown a forward pass to the tight end only two times in the past two seasons and both were touchdowns. That is expected to change under Chip Lindsey who has a reputation for incorporating tight ends into his game plan.

Enter Canella who caught 31 receptions for 521 yards and seven scores last year at Scottsdale Community College where he finished his time in Arizona as the No. 1 JUCO tight end in the country.

His versatility reminds Auburn tailback Kerryon Johnson of fomer Tiger, C.J. Uzomah. “He catches a lot of contested balls, he’s a big target, he knows how to use his body to block off defenders,” said Johnson.. “He knows how to go and get the ball. He’s a sneaky athlete. I think he’s going to be very big for us this year … I think he’s got it all.”

While Jalen Harris seems to be entrenched in the position, Lindsey may run a two TE set, lining Harris up beside the tackle and moving Cannella out wide as a receiver making the defense having to respect two big guys.

* Jarrett Stidham, Quarterback

The last on the list is no surprise. Stidham came to Auburn as the nation’s No. 1 JUCO transfer.  He threw for 1,265 yards and 12 touchdowns in three starts as a freshman at Baylor. Coming off the bench in his first career appearance he threw for 419 yards and three touchdowns against Kansas State.

When he announced his intention to transfer, he immediately became a focus of the national media to see where he would land. Through spring and fall camp he has not disappointed. Jarrett received the A-Day MVP award after hitting four passes of 30 yards or more while completing 16 of his 20 passes for 267 yards – in just one half of play.

Many think he may be the best passer that Malzahn has ever had. In addition he will be paired with one of the most touted group of wide receivers that Auburn has fielded in along time. If he can live up to his billing, the Tigers should a have big year in 2017.

Those are my picks. I would be interested in seeing yours.

War Eagle!

The post Four Auburn Players Poised to Have a Breakout Year on Offense in 2017 appeared first on Track 'Em Tigers, Auburn's oldest and most read independent blog.



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25 New Enhancements for 2017 Auburn Football Gameday Experience

Auburn Athletics is always striving to introduce new features to each football season in an effort to improve the gameday experience. This season Auburn has made improvements in food service, game presentation, parking and traffic, gameday weekend events and in-stadium features.

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Happy Birthday Ben Tate! - Auburn Tigers on 247Sports

Football. 25 New Enhancements for 2017 Auburn Football Gameday Experience

Auburn Athletics is always striving to introduce new features to each football season in an effort to improve the gameday experience. This season Auburn has made improvements in food service, game presentation, parking and traffic, gameday weekend events and in-stadium features.

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SEC Football by the Numbers: AP preseason poll includes 6 from conference

Six SEC teams are ranked in The Associated Press preseason college football poll for the 2017 season, including Alabama at No. 1.

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The Future Legatron!

Georgia Southern names starting quarterback for season opener with Auburn

Georgia Southern's starting quarterback will be making his collegiate debut against No. 12 Auburn.

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12 Days Until Kickoff

Fans outside the stadium, honk if you sacked Brodie...

Today’s the first day on our Countdown to Kickoff wherein I have very little information on a game that Auburn won while scoring that number of points. Twelve points is difficult to come by in a game. Four field goals, two touchdowns sans extra points... some combination with a safety... it’s tough!

That said, here you go:

1964 - Auburn 12, Mississippi State 3

As best as I can tell, Auburn beat the Bulldogs for their next-to-last win of the season in a year where they finished 6-4.

1956 - Auburn 12, Houston 0

Auburn beat the Cougars in the shutout, but it spurred Houston on to win out the rest of the way, meanwhile the Tigers won four of their next five including a blowout win over a hapless Alabama team.

Boy, wasn’t that exciting? Let’s move on.

12 Years Ago - 2005

Coming off of the perfect season in 2004, Auburn wasn’t picked to do much in 2005. To be fair, they’d lost a ton of talent. Four first round draft picks were gone, not to mention a good portion of the offensive line and Broyles Award winner Gene Chizik at the defensive coordinator spot. The Tigers started the year ranked 16th, and opened with Georgia Tech at home. It was the return trip from 2003, where Auburn got spanked in Atlanta by a pretty mediocre Yellow Jacket bunch.

I wish I could say Auburn did better in facing off against Reggie Ball for the second time. This was the quarterback that ran out of the back of the end zone on accident one time in his career, but he always had the game of his life against the Tigers.

To be fair, Tech had Calvin Johnson. And Auburn made some really bad mistakes, like Brandon Cox throwing four interceptions in his first start. The miscues weren’t limited to the players, though... the coaching staff gave Kenny Irons just one carry because “he wasn’t up to speed on pass blocking assignments.” Instead they ran Tre Smith, who rightfully has a place in Auburn lore, but wasn’t cut out to be a full-time SEC back.

Auburn lost 23-14 and didn’t score in the second half. It was a sobering ride back home and Auburn’s fifteen game win streak had been snapped. Cool.

The Tigers did get their first win of 2005 at home against Mississippi State the next week, but the 28-0 victory was so lackluster. Auburn ran for only 118 yards and showed little life against a bad Bulldog team. It wasn’t until week three when Irons became the feature back that the offense finally started clicking.

Irons ran eleven times for 147 yards in the win over Ball State to improve Auburn’s record to 2-1, and Brandon Cox looked the part of the efficient quarterback that we’d seen in his limited duty the year before. Auburn’s offense continued to roll in a win over Western Kentucky the next week, and then the Tigers gave Steve Spurrier his worst loss as a head coach at the time when they spanked South Carolina 48-7 to improve to 4-1.

Things were looking up as Auburn headed to Fayetteville in a game that oddly enough wasn’t broadcast on TV and brought everyone back to earlier times and the magic of radio. It was a stressful game because I remember hearing the name McFadden over and over, and each time it seemed like he sliced through the Tiger defense like a wet paper bag.

Still, Arkansas was regressing at that point and Auburn’s run game was too powerful. Kenny Irons rumbled for 182 yards as Auburn won 34-17 on the road and jumped back up to its original starting point in the polls at #16.

Then came Baton Rouge. In each of the recaps of an odd year I feel like the loss at LSU will start with that simple sentence. Leading up to the game, Kenny Irons got right up to an ESPN camera and predicted that he’d go for 200 yards on the night, but it took him a while to get moving...

In a game where you’ve got a tailback that goes for 218 yards, and your offense posts 451 yards with zero turnovers, you feel pretty good about the win. That would be unless your kicker left fifteen points on the field.

John Vaughn, bless him, will always be remembered for that night in Death Valley. He missed five field goals, including the game-winner with a second left and the game-tying kick in overtime. I felt horrible for him, but it was a brutal loss as an Auburn fan. LSU took the win 20-17 in overtime and dropped Auburn to 5-2 overall.

The next week, Auburn beat Ole Miss at home, and I distinctly remember John Vaughn attempting a field goal and seeing a fan a few rows in front of me hold up a sign that said “Laces out, John!” Savage, but... accurate.

After that, Auburn still sat at 6-2 with a shot to win the West, and continued to win at Kentucky despite the best efforts from an upset-minded Wildcat team. Rafael Little went for 246 all-purpose yards but a backup backup tailback named Tristan Davis scooted for 162 yards on just eight carries for Auburn and the Tigers pulled away in a shootout to win 49-27 in Lexington.

It set the Tigers up in a good position for a solid finish, but they’d have tough competition. Don’t look now, but Alabama was good again, and before the Tide came to town, Auburn would have to get by Georgia in Athens.

This turned out to be one of the best Auburn-Georgia matchups in recent history. A back-and-forth affair that showed off Auburn’s balanced offense and timely defense. The Tigers gained over 500 yards on offense that night, but found themselves driving to win with two minutes left and facing off with a fourth-and-long.

Right there you’ve got one of the wackiest plays you’ll ever see, that’s much deeper than it appears on the surface. Aromashodu fumbles it, Taylor recovers in the end zone, and it’s called a touchdown. Well, you can’t fumble forward on fourth down. So the ball goes back to the spot of the fumble and Auburn retains possession since they recovered it. It was actually perfect because it gave the Tigers a chance to burn the clock and give John Vaughn a chip shot field goal for the win. Auburn 31, Georgia 30.

The win jumped Auburn back up to #11 as the Iron Bowl loomed the next week. Alabama had been ranked #3 in the nation despite escaping week after week, until they lost to LSU the day Auburn beat Georgia. The offense had sputtered for the Tide and they’d only scored one offensive touchdown in their previous three SEC games.

It turned out to be the biggest beatdown of a Bama team for Auburn this millennium. Auburn sacked Bama quarterback Brodie Croyle on the first play of the game. And the third play. And nine times after that.

Despite gaining just 257 total yards, Auburn dominated from start to finish, and only a late touchdown run by John Parker Wilson in the final minute made the score somewhat close. Auburn finished the year at 9-2, losing out on the SEC West title thanks to that night in Baton Rouge, and earned a trip back to the Capital One Bowl to face off against Wisconsin. In a game that the team clearly didn’t prepare for, the Badgers took it to Auburn and some back named Brian Calhoun rushed for over 200 yards as the Tigers lost 24-10 in a game that wasn’t nearly that close.

The season ended on a bit of a sour note but with the wins over Georgia and Alabama, you had to be optimistic heading into 2006, especially since the Cox/Irons backfield combo was returning for the Tigers.



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NASA TV Public-Education

Football. 'People care for each other here': Chase Ritter senior spotlight

Chase Ritter earned his scholarship offer to Auburn thanks to his stellar classroom work. The Wetumpka, Ala., native boasted a 4.2 high school GPA at Saint James in Montgomery.

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General News. Auburn You: new program serves student-athletes

From orientation to graduation, resumes to retirement, Auburn Athletics' new student-athlete experiential learning and internship program, AUBURNYOU, seeks to serve student-athletes before, during and after their time on the Plains.

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Auburn ranked No. 12 in first AP poll of season (ESPN)

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Hokies ranked 21st in preseason AP poll

Auburn ranked in top 15 of preseason AP poll

Auburn will open the 2017 season ranked in the top 15 of the Associated Press poll for the third time in four years.

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'People care for each other here': Chase Ritter senior spotlight

Chase Ritter earned his scholarship offer to Auburn thanks to his stellar classroom work. The Wetumpka, Ala., native boasted a 4.2 high school GPA at Saint James in Montgomery.

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Shon Coleman excited to show what he can do as Cleveland Browns' tackle

Former Auburn standout Shon Coleman has emerged as the frontrunner to start at right offensive tackle for the Cleveland Browns when they kick off the 2017 NFL season on Sept. 10 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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AL.com All-Access: Tell me what you really, really want this football season

Some of you think we write too much about (pick one) Alabama or Auburn. That's not going to change, but how can we make your season more interesting?

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W. Volleyball. Get To Know...Shaina White

With her sophomore year drawing near and the start of a new season at a new school just around the corner, Shaina White, a 6-1 middle blocker from Mission Viejo, Calif., is ready to make an immediate impact. We took time to talk to her when she arrived on campus in July so read up!

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Softball. Cooper, Scrap Yard Dawgs Win Cowles Cup

Kasey Cooper had as memorable of a first professional season as one could hope for in 2017

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General News. Auburn Athletics Launches AUBURNYOU Program

Auburn University Director of Athletics Jay Jacobs announced today the launch of AUBURNYOU, a comprehensive student-athlete enhancement program dedicated to providing experiential learning and internship opportunities. The program supports student-athletes from recruitment, to graduation, to employment.

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Auburn Athletics Launches AUBURNYOU Program - Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site


Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site

Auburn Athletics Launches AUBURNYOU Program
Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site
AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn University Director of Athletics Jay Jacobs announced today the launch of AUBURNYOU, a comprehensive student-athlete enhancement program dedicated to providing experiential learning and internship opportunities. The program ...



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Link sAUsage: Weekend Update

August 21, 2017

We’re in the final couple of weeks before kickoff, and now that we’re on the back side of Fan Day, the opener against Georgia Southern should zoom right along and be here ‘fore you know it.

Over the last few days, Auburn awarded six scholarships to walk-ons, including Will Hastings and Auburn legacy Gary Walker...

Speaking of Hastings, he was a key part of Auburn’s early-season offense in 2016, and we all heard a ton about how well he did in fall practices last year. Well, this time around he’s hoping for a little more consistency.

And while we’ve had a few starting roles shored up, there’s still the battle raging on the offensive line. Last week’s visits with the coaches confirmed that we’ve got 7-8 guys battling it out for the five starting spots, including Auburn’s two grad transfers from other schools.

Finally, on the other football field, Auburn soccer started the season with a victory on Friday night over South Alabama, but things weren’t so easy yesterday. Check out the highlights from the Tigers’ come-from-behind draw against Lipscomb.

We’ll have more soon, War Eagle!



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Auburn YOU



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Why Quanderrius Robinson's Auburn workout ended with tears

Quanderrius Robinson enters this sophomore season at Jackson-Olin with one, maybe two career tackles and one college football offer (thanks, Auburn!).

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A-List No. 4: Asa Martin continues Courtland's football legacy

The four-star Austin running back hails from a small, football-rich town in Lawrence County.

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Inside Hoover wide receiver George Pickens' early pledge to Auburn

A strong spring helped Hoover junior receiver George Pickens establish himself as one of the state's top 2019 recruits.

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Projected Auburn depth chart for Week 4 of preseason practice

AL.com's projected Auburn depth chart for the fourth week of preseason practice

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Partly Cloudy today!



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The Countdown to Kickoff: The SEC's best No. 12

There are 12 days until the first Saturday of the SEC football season, and the No. 1 12 in SEC football history is Mississippi State quarterback Jackie Parker.

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Conference Preview: The Big Ten West

Sunday, August 20, 2017

W. Soccer. Resilient Tigers Strike Late, Earn Draw with Lipscomb

Rocio Sanders scored her first career goal, while Courtney Schell secured her second goal in as many matches

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Gus Malzahn Press Conference After Third Week of Fall Camp

Coach Gus Malzahn met the press at the end of Auburn’s third week of camp Saturday. He said the final scrimmage was focused on special teams. However, he also talked about his new starting quarterback Jarrett Stidham and singled out Wide Receiver Noah Igbinoghene and Defensiveback Jason Smith as having really come on during the last three weeks. In particular he called Smith a, “heat seeking missile.”

Malzahn said all of the injured defensive players are, “back in some capacity.” And he indicated the starting five offensive linemen will probably be named this week.  And of course he took a look ahead at the Tigers September 2  season opener against Georgia Southern.

See the video below for the rest of Coach Malzahn’s remarks.

The post Gus Malzahn Press Conference After Third Week of Fall Camp appeared first on Track 'Em Tigers, Auburn's oldest and most read independent blog.



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Auburn soccer ties Lipscomb 2-2



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The Petrie Dish Podcast talks to the Auburn fan in charge of those alien goats on the roof

Well, I did it: The Petrie Dish Podcast. Throwing Auburn culture under the microscope of my microphone (which is actually my phone for the moment). It’ll be like TWER, only with my mouth. There will be a lot of episodes. Believe it or not, I’m going to try to keep most of them short-ish. I’m excited. It will be a journey. Hold my hand. War Eagle.

Here’s the video I talk about. Podcast below…

You can learn about Goats On The Roof here. Thanks to Russ! #nitroicecream



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Sunday Evening sAUsage

Some solid predictions rolling in for Auburn...

Yesterday was Fan Day on the Plains, giving the Auburn family a chance to meet the current and future stars of the football program at the Auburn indoor facility. When I was younger, meeting a coach or a player was one of the biggest thrills I could have, so Fan Day is always a fun time.

As for something a bit more serious, there’s already been a lot of talk about Auburn this year and the fact that the Tigers may be set up for some pretty good success. We usually like when Auburn’s underrated, but eventually you’ve got to find a way to live up to the expectations when they’re given.

Well, they’ve being given right now.

We’ll give you the skinny from that article -- Mel picks Auburn, Washington, Ohio State, and Florida State to go to the playoff, with the Huskies coming out on top. It’s an interesting pick for sure.

For a little more analysis, broad strokes if you will, College Football News has given its short preview on Auburn and essentially says that the Tigers are the only team that compete with Alabama. Again, there are the expectations.

Something that should bode well in the meeting-expectations game is the fact that for the first time in a couple years, Auburn hasn’t endured a critical injury during the preseason (knock on wood), and the bumps it has encountered haven’t been anything to really fret over.

The little scrapes even provided an opportunity to give younger guys a bit of an extended look in scrimmages and practices, which only helps out with depth and the case for playing time.

If you check that link, they talk a good bit about Marlon Davidson’s injury and how it’s allowed Nick Coe more snaps in practice, but what about other defensive ends? Paul James III was the MVP of A-Day on defense, and he should end up having a good role this fall on the line.

And in case you were unsure, even in the NFL, everyone wants to be just like Auburn.

Final two weeks before kickoff, people. Buckle up! War Eagle.



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Where does Auburn edge rusher Paul James III need to improve?

Paul James III showed he can be a presence in the backfield on A-Day.

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W. Volleyball. Get To Know...Shea McNamara

reshman Shea McNamara enjoyed a lot of success at the high school level and now is looking forward to bringing those experiences to The Plains. The 6-1 middle blocker from Cumming, Ga., is our feature with five days left until first serve!

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13 Days Until Kickoff

Fans outside the stadium, the official Jordan-Hare time is...

Yesterday marked two weeks until kickoff, so now we’re going to get into the real rollercoaster ride that’s been Auburn football over the last dozen years or so. Today we talk about the number thirteen.

2002 - Auburn 13, Penn State 9

We touched on this game very briefly just a couple of days ago during the article about the 2002 season. Auburn had just beaten Alabama with a bunch of backups on the field after having nearly beaten Georgia the week prior. The Tigers had finished the regular season strong, winning four of five and taking out two top ten teams along the way. Ronnie Brown had been a major workhorse in his time taking over the starting role, and despite and ankle injury that kept him out of the Iron Bowl, he’d be well enough to play in time for the Capital One Bowl against the Nittany Lions.

Auburn and Penn State met on New Year’s Day 2003 with the Tigers back at full strength, but with a big test ahead. PSU featured Larry Johnson in the backfield, a powerful tailback who’d eclipsed the 2,000-yard mark over the course of the year. He’d even finished third in the Heisman voting behind Carson Palmer and Brad Banks of Iowa. In his final four games of the regular season, he’d gone for 279, 188, 327, and 279 yards with ten total touchdowns. The guy was a machine and would certainly pose a huge threat to the Auburn defense.

He got completely outclassed by that Tiger D and Ronnie Brown. Johnson was limited to just 72 yards on twenty carries, while Brown rumbled for 184 yards and the game winning score with just a couple minutes left. Auburn ended up winning 13-9, setting up impossible expectations for the next season.

1983 - Auburn 13, Georgia 7

I would expound on this game that sent Auburn to the Sugar Bowl with a conference title, but why not just let John Facenda, aka the Voice of God, do it for you?

What’s not shown there is a nearly-field-length touchdown run by Bo Jackson, who barely grazed the sideline on his way to paydirt and negated what would’ve been one of his signature runs. Either way, and you see it in the video, Georgia had no business testing that Auburn defense, and the furtive sugar-licking glances of Pat Dye afterward suggest as much.

13 Years Ago - 2004

And here we are, finally reaching 2004. Up until Cam Newton arrived on the Plains, this was the greatest year in the last half-century of Auburn football. Undefeated, conference champs, SEC Player of the Year Jason Campbell, two top-five draft picks, and some of the best football played at Auburn in some time all came out of this season.

How did we get there? Well, after the fiasco of 2003’s offense, the Nallsminger experiment, Tommy Tuberville knew he needed to modernize just a bit. Thus, the coaching search began for a new coordinator. I remember the prospective guys, from small schools with high-flying attacks like Miami (Ohio) and Toledo.

Then, a decision was made. Auburn hired Al Borges from Indiana. He hadn’t really been on the list, and after looking at the Hoosiers’ stats from 2003, I had 100% confidence that we’d screw up Campbell, Williams, and Brown’s senior seasons. Indiana averaged less than fifteen points per game, good for 115th in the country. They barely put up 300 yards per game, again near the bottom of the ranks. This did not look good.

Still, as we watched Auburn in the opener against Louisiana-Monroe, we saw some different things. Oh, there’s a deep ball. Hey, they threw to the running backs. That out route actually went past the sticks on third down. It was super vanilla, but it got the job done and the Tigers took the opener 31-0 over the Warhawks. We’d see how things went in a couple weeks against the defending national champions when LSU came to town.

There was still a game against the newly-led Mississippi State Bulldogs before that. Gone was Jackie Sherrill, and in his place was the first black head coach in SEC history in Sylvester Croom. Croom seemed to be a great hire — a former star under Bear Bryant and a well-respected coach around the country. He just had too much going against him in Starkville, where the cupboard was completely barren.

Against the Bulldogs, Auburn really opened up the offense a bit. Both Williams and Brown went for over a hundred yards, while Jason Campbell threw for three scores. Auburn got up 43-0 before MSU hit a couple of garbage time touchdowns, but it was still a very satisfying win.

At 2-0, Auburn would have to now face off in a huge early season matchup with LSU, the defending national champions. These two had traded 31-7 wins the last two seasons, but LSU had hit its stride under Nick Saban, boasting a stingy defense and an offense that put up points fairly quickly. Two days before the game, however, Hurricane Ivan struck the Gulf Coast.

Living in Montgomery at the time, the road to my house was blocked from trees falling everywhere around it, and we didn’t get power back until Sunday night. All Thursday, the winds blew and rain spat down from above and doubt was cast upon whether they’d be able to play the game. Friday dawned hot and humid with power out around the Southeast, but Saturday emerged with all the clouds sucked away by the storm and a gloriously dry and wonderful September Saturday.

When the game kicked off, LSU took its opening drive on a quick march all the way down the field and scored on a Dwayne Bowe touchdown that took nearly seven minutes out of the opening quarter. The Bayou Bengals would miss the extra point, putting them up 6-0 (this would be so important later).

Auburn notched a field goal by John Vaughn on its opening drive, and LSU matched with a kick of their own early in the second quarter to go up 9-3. For nearly 45 minutes after that, the two teams played even football.

In one of the most hard-hitting and tense ballgames I can remember, Auburn and LSU went back and forth, advancing and retreating, jabbing and blocking, weakening each other with each blow, until Auburn ended up with the headshot late.

The Tiger defense stood tall after allowing the nine early points, hitting as hard as possible and abusing the LSU offense throughout the rest of the game...

Auburn’s offense wouldn’t have it any easier. You could tell they were close to breaking through, even failing on a fourth down inside the one late in the third, but they couldn’t cross the goal line. With just a few minutes remaining in the game, however, they’d need to cobble something together to get the necessary points.

The Tigers began their final drive methodically with about six minutes left on the clock, starting with powerful running from Ronnie Brown and a stellar catch-and-run from Anthony Mix for first downs. Still, they’d find themselves in a fourth-and-twelve situation inside the LSU 30. This was where the Auburn Tigers of my childhood would fail and we’d be disappointed, but not overly surprised. This time, though, Jason Campbell calmly rolled out and found Courtney Taylor at the last second just past the sticks for the first down and new life. Three plays later, Taylor again came to the rescue.

Oh, the bewildered looks of Nick Saban and Will Muschamp on the opposite sideline. That was one heck of a coaching staff that also featured Jimbo Fisher at offensive coordinator. Good Lord.

We weren’t out of the woods yet, as Auburn missed the extra point but was given a retry thanks to a newly-instituted leaping penalty. The Tigers booted through the second attempt and led 10-9 with a minute to play. Junior Rosegreen intercepted Jamarcus Russell’s last-second pass to seal the win and Auburn had escaped with a monumental victory.

The win vaulted Auburn into the top ten, and they’d cruise against The Citadel a week later, getting everyone involved in a 33-3 win. It set up a top ten tilt with Tennessee inside Neyland Stadium the first Saturday in October. College Gameday was there, as Tennessee rotated two fantastic freshmen quarterbacks in Erik Ainge and Brent Schaefer. In an interesting move, ESPN got not a Vol legend to visit the show for their final picks, but Sir Charles himself. And Charles had no qualms about sticking up for his guys.

If you watch past the picks and listen to Tubs’ pregame speech, I love his rationale for playing on the road. “No stupid penalties, we on the road, so you know they gonna call ‘em.”

What followed was a complete evisceration of Tennessee. Auburn gave notice to the entire country that they were playing with the big boys. The Tigers led 31-3 at halftime and ended up winning 34-10. Junior Rosegreen picked off four passes on the night, and Ronnie Brown made a poster of Vol safety Jason Allen. It was both one of the loudest atmospheres (right before kickoff) and the quietest (right after halftime) that Neyland Stadium has ever heard.

Auburn moved up to #6 in the polls following that win, and breezed by Louisiana Tech 52-7 the next week. With other teams around the country falling off, the Tigers sat at 6-0 and #4 in the land when Tuberville’s personal bugaboo visited the Plains for what everyone hoped wouldn’t be a classic spoiler game.

The day of the Auburn-Arkansas game, my grandfather was on death’s door. I was at home, while both of my parents waited at his house for the inevitable to happen. Just as kickoff happened, I got the call from my dad that he’d finally passed on after a long battle with cancer. After breaking the news (and he knew I was watching the game), I could hear him walk out of earshot of everyone else and he asked “So, uh... what’s going on with the game?”

I told him Auburn had the ball first and had just run its first play. He told me they’d be over there for a little while making some arrangements and he hung up. The very next play, something miraculous happened.

I like to think my grandfather going out had something to do with that, but it could’ve just been good timing. Anyway, Auburn throttled the Razorbacks, winning 38-20 as Jason Campbell threw for more touchdowns than incompletions.

Auburn enjoyed an easy win over Kentucky the next week by a score of 42-10, then headed to Ole Miss for a Halloween showdown with the SEC West on the line. That’s right, the Tigers could win the division before November, and all they had to do was beat Ole Miss.

The Rebels proved to be a tough home opponent, and stymied the Auburn offense for nearly thirty minutes. Auburn finally broke through on a Campbell sneak at the goal line in the final seconds of the first half, but a 7-0 lead was shaky at best. The Tigers scored on their opening drive of the third quarter, but Ole Miss answered with a long touchdown pass to cut the lead back down to a touchdown. It went like that all night long before Auburn finally pulled away late with two fourth quarter touchdowns for a 35-14 victory.

It wasn’t even November, and everyone else in the SEC West might as well have stopped playing. Auburn had won the division and would play TBD in Atlanta the first weekend in December. There were still much bigger things on the table than a chance at the Tigers’ first SEC title in fifteen years.

Sitting at 9-0 and #3 in the polls behind unbeatens USC and Oklahoma, Auburn needed a statement game against a powerful opponent to truly pull into the discussion for the BCS National Championship. What better opportunity than with #5 Georgia heading to the Plains the next week with an 8-1 record and a national TV audience?

With another College Gameday setup, all eyes were on Auburn to see how the Tigers would fare against their first really good opponent since LSU. Auburn didn’t disappoint.

After a testy first drive from the Bulldogs, Auburn went on autopilot. A cold, relentless machine that ran over and around Georgia in all facets. The Tigers marched down the field on their opening drive to take the lead, then dazzled the crowd with trick plays and murderous defense. Ronnie Brown showed off the hands that helped earn him a high draft grade, catching seven passes for 88 yards and score, while Carlos Rogers probably won the Thorpe Award in this game by locking down Georgia’s passing game all day.

24-6. Auburn. All day.

The win propelled the Tigers into a tie for second with Oklahoma. Auburn was finally in the actual discussion for the national championship, and had overcome the huge lead the Sooners had in the polls. Just beat Alabama, and this could hold up.

Easier said than done.

A trip to Tuscaloosa is never easy, and even when Auburn has been the vastly superior team, the Tigers have failed to run the Tide out of their own building. Same story, different day on November 20th, 2004.

Alabama succeeded in limiting the effectiveness of Auburn’s West Coast passing game, negating Brown and Williams out of the backfield, while the wet conditions evened the playing field just enough to keep Bama in it. The Tide led 6-0 at the half and things were on edge. But just as they’d found ways all year, the Tigers took one shot early in the third quarter, and it hit.

After the big completion to Aromashodu, Auburn took control, scoring three straight touchdowns to lead 21-6 before a late Bama score made it look closer than it was.

The damage had been done. Oklahoma regained its lead in the polls and Auburn fell back to third, but the SEC Championship still loomed the next week with a top fifteen opponent and another chance to show off for the country.

Auburn met Tennessee for the second time that season, making it the second Tigers-Vols meeting in Atlanta as well. Of course, Auburn had massacred Tennessee back in Knoxville two months prior, but today would be different. That didn’t mean that the Tigers still wouldn’t start off in a hurry.

Auburn scored barely 90 seconds in to take an early 7-0 lead, then followed it with another touchdown and it looked like the rout was on again. Tennessee did regain composure enough to cut the deficit in half, and keep within striking distance until Gerald Riggs’ 80-yard burst tied the game at 21 midway through the third quarter.

The Tigers didn’t panic, as Jason Campbell was having one of the games of his career. Two long late touchdown passes sealed the deal as Auburn won 38-28 to claim the first SEC Championship since 1989. Campbell won the game MVP award, and Auburn sat at 12-0. Some people threw oranges onto the field, but the win had a bittersweet taste due to the fact that most already knew Oklahoma or USC would likely have had to lose for the Tigers to move up in the polls.

While the Trojans got to play a weak UCLA team (and squeak by 29-24), and Oklahoma got to wear out a 7-4 Colorado team in the Big Twelve Championship Game, Auburn had beaten a top fifteen team by double digits after already rolling them on the road earlier in the year. I won’t go through the entire case for the Tigers to play in the title game, but it was hefty.

Auburn was “rewarded” with a trip to the Sugar Bowl to face ACC Champ Virginia Tech. In a lackluster game, Auburn took a 16-0 lead before the Hokies finally scored twice in the final seven minutes to make it a close ballgame. The Tigers held on for a 16-13 win and a perfect 13-0 season. It was a dream year, but right in the middle of the celebration was a jilted feeling of being perfect in the nation’s best conference and getting left out.

It would’ve felt better if Oklahoma played USC close in the BCS title game. It would’ve been alright if it seemed like both of those teams were better than Auburn. The fact remains that only in one ballgame all year (LSU) did an opponent have the ball in the fourth quarter with a chance to take the lead over the Tigers. It’s astonishing when you consider that Tuberville sat on the ball with a big lead and Auburn didn’t score nearly as much as it could’ve. The Tigers had the nation’s best scoring defense, while Oklahoma and USC were taken to the wire several times that year.

Everyone remembers the 55-19 Trojan win, but before that, they nearly lost at 4-7 Stanford, 6-6 UCLA, and 7-5 Oregon State. Not exactly the best of the best. Meanwhile, Oklahoma got scared by Texas A&M and Oklahoma State in back-to-back weeks. Auburn won four games against ten-win teams. OU and USC combined for that many victories against ten-win teams.

Some good did come out of the snub. The SEC got a free pass after that, and finally Florida showed what the league could do in 2006. Auburn would get its own chance just a few short years after that.

Coming Up: What Comes After Perfection?



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Grad transfers Wilson Bell, Casey Dunn searching for roles on Auburn offensive line

Dr. Saturday's 2017 Top 25 Countdown: No. 6 Clemson

Cody Parkey on Cleveland Browns' kicking competition: 'This is my job'

Former Auburn standout Cody Parkey made 20 of his 25 field-goal attempts for Cleveland after joining the Browns in a rush for the third game of the 2016 NFL season. The Browns thanked him by using a choice in April's NFL Draft on Arizona State's Zane Gonzalez, the NCAA FBS career record-holder for field goals and points and the winner of the 2016 Lou Groza Award as the nation's top collegiate kicker.

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Take a look inside Auburn Fan Day 2017

Auburn holds Fan Day Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, at the Auburn Athletic Complex in Auburn, Ala.

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Mostly Sunny today!



With a high of 95F and a low of 73F.
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TET Podcast Episode #1 Available Tonight

Podcast Day-Of Time Announcement 2

Greetings TET readers! The day has finally arrived! We couldn’t be happier or more excited about bringing this show to you. Episode one of the TET podcast will be added by 8:00 PM est tonight and will be available to stream immediately, or at any time (once posted), through our SoundCloud account.

As new episodes are uploaded, previous shows will be archived and available to listen to at any time. Also, in the near future, the TET Podcast will be available through iTunes. Additional access options will be added as soon as possible.

I am humbled by the positive reception this new outlet has received and appreciate your patience as final preparations are being made. I can’t wait to see where and how this grows over time. We’re going to have a lot of fun together. I promise. 

And finally, I look forward to hearing your feedback and encourage you to share your thoughts here or e-mail TETpodcast@gmail.com with any questions or comments.
After all, the Track’Em Tigers Podcast is for you.

Talk to you soon! 

 

 

The post TET Podcast Episode #1 Available Tonight appeared first on Track 'Em Tigers, Auburn's oldest and most read independent blog.



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The Countdown to Kickoff: The SEC's best No. 13

There are 13 days until the first Saturday of the SEC football season, and the No. 1 13 in SEC football history is Georgia safety Jake Scott.

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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Daniel Carlson‏ Had A Great Final Fan Day!

Auburn Fan Day Video.

W. Soccer. Auburn Prepares for Sunday Fixture Against Lipscomb

Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. CT at the Auburn Soccer Complex between the Tigers and Lady Bisons

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Football. 'Nothing but love' - Auburn Fan Day

Tony Jones arrived at Auburn's Indoor practice facility Saturday at 7 a.m., more than 8 hours before the doors opened for Fan Day.

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'Nothing but love' - Auburn Fan Day

Tony Jones arrived at Auburn's Indoor practice facility Saturday at 7 a.m., more than 8 hours before the doors opened for Fan Day.

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Who will Auburn turn to on 2-point conversion attempts?

Auburn is in search of a new "Batman."

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W. Volleyball. Tigers Sweep UAB in Exhibition

The Auburn volleyball team had a successful showing in its first action against an opponent, defeating UAB in an exhibition, 3-0 (25-11, 25-16, 25-15), Saturday afternoon in Auburn Arena.

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'Very confident in what I can do' - Eli Stove eager to build on freshman success

Jarrett Stidham 'raised his level' since being named Auburn's starting QB

In the five practices since being officially named Auburn's starting quarterback, Jarrett Stidham has been everywhere on and off the field.

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Post-Practice Presser: Scholarships, Health, etc.

Tons of stuff to unpack from Auburn’s third scrimmage...

Auburn scrimmaged. Gus met with the media. It was Fan Day. Nice little Saturday on the Plains, don’t ya think?

There’s a lot to get to here, and we’ll start with the awarding the other night of six scholarships to walk-on players.

It’s a huge honor for these guys and it’s really cool that they were able to earn scholarships, especially for Will Hastings after the contributions he made last year. Other things from today’s news and notes include more visits with players that we haven’t gotten to hear from yet, like Wilson Bell.

Bell’s obviously one of the eight linemen in play for a starting spot, but however it shakes out, things ought to be alright up front for the Auburn offense. He’s hoping to nab one of those guard positions, where he might be shoulder-to-shoulder with another grad transfer.

We also got to hear from some of the receivers today, which was nice after they’ve been quiet from a media standpoint this fall so far. I’m expecting them to have a stellar year with the addition of Jarrett Stidham at quarterback.

And yeah, we’ll make you scroll down to the bottom to get the video on the head coach. Enjoy!

More to come... War Eagle!



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Eli Stove believes Auburn receivers could be best 'ever' in school, SEC history

Eli Stove believes Auburn receivers could be best 'ever' in school, SEC history

It will take a lot for Auburn's receivers to make history, individually or collectively.

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Football. 'Very confident in what I can do' - Eli Stove eager to build on freshman success

Eli Stove played a starring role in the third longest run by a freshman in Auburn history.

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VIDEO: Auburn coach Gus Malzahn on Auburn's 3rd fall scrimmage, RB competition

'Very confident in what I can do' - Eli Stove eager to build on freshman success

Eli Stove played a starring role in the third longest run by a freshman in Auburn history.

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Graduate transfers Wilson Bell, Casey Dunn have positions, will they start for Auburn?

Wilson Bell and Casey Dunn are solidified in their positions on Auburn's offensive line, but whether either graduate transfer ascends to the starting lineup is still to be determined.

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'All' of Auburn's injured defensive players 'back in some capacity,' Gus Malzahn says

Auburn's first-team defense is on the mend.

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14 Days Until Kickoff

Fans outside the stadium, the official Jordan-Hare time is...

Two weeks from today we’ll be getting ready for the opener of the 2017 season as Auburn gets ready to meet Georgia Southern. It’s coming quickly, folks. Get ready.

1993 - Auburn 14, Vanderbilt 10

Auburn was in the midst of an undefeated season, but hadn’t really been tested yet. The Tigers were 4-0 heading to Nashville to take on a Commodore team that had won only against Wake Forest. Meanwhile, Auburn hadn’t faced a team with a winning record. That didn’t mean this game wouldn’t be difficult.

The Tigers got up 14-10 as the third quarter ended, but the Commodores were inside the Auburn 10-yard line with roughly thirteen minutes to play. Vandy coach Gerry DiNardo decided to go for it, and the Tiger defense stood tall.

The stop led Auburn to its fifth win of the year, and the Tigers would run the table to go 11-0 in Terry Bowden’s first season.

1958 - Auburn 14, Alabama 8

The Tigers were in the midst of their longest winning streak ever over Alabama -- four games — entering the 1958 season. As defending national champions, Auburn ran out to an 8-0-1 record before the Iron Bowl, with the only blemish coming in a tie against Georgia Tech in Atlanta in the first month of the season.

One year earlier, Auburn had blanked Alabama 40-0 to finish off a perfect year and claim the AP national title, but the Tide had made a big coaching change that offseason, bringing in former player and current Texas A&M coach Bear Bryant.

Alabama was vastly improved, but wouldn’t have quite enough yet to hang with a powerful Auburn team in Bryant’s first year. The Tigers opened up a 14-0 lead and hung on as Bama scored a late touchdown and then couldn’t convert an onside kick.

Auburn finished the year undefeated, but the lone tie and the fact that they didn’t play in a bowl game prevented the Tigers from repeating as national champions. Instead, LSU took the title along with Iowa, as the Bayou Bengals and Billy Cannon finished 10-0 on the year.

14 Years Ago - 2003

If ever there was a year where the expectations blew through the roof, it was 2003. After finishing 2002 on a tear, beating three top ten teams, including Alabama and Penn State, and nearly unseating Georgia as well, Auburn had all the hype in the world.

Jason Campbell had become an efficient quarterback, capable of hitting the big play when necessary, and he was joined in the backfield by two potential All-Americans in Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown. Throw in the fact that Auburn had some incredible talent on defense — Karlos Dansby, Dontarrious Thomas, and Carlos Rogers — and it was a perfect recipe for a team destined for greatness.

Leading up to that year, one publication visited the Tiger practice and wrote “they look like an NFL team out there,” while the Sporting News picked Auburn #1 and said that they’d meet Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl for the national championship. I remember talking to my dad and pondering the possibility of going ahead and purchasing tickets for the BCS title game. We all knew Auburn would be in it. There was no doubt.

Except nobody really considered the loss of Bobby Petrino. He’d gone to be the head coach at Louisville, and it would be a loss that no one else on Auburn’s staff could fill. Instead, Tuberville promoted Hugh Nall (offensive line) and Steve Ensminger (quarterbacks) to be co-coordinators and to run Petrino’s offense. Great! Continuity! National championship, here we come.

Auburn opened the year with USC at home in the return game for the Tigers’ trip to LA the previous season. USC had lost Carson Palmer, Troy Polamalu, and a ton of other talent. They’d be starting some kid named Matt Leinart and nobody had any illusions that they’d be competitive on the Plains.

I was there. August 30, 2003. It’s the reason that I’ve been taught not to EVER EXPECT THAT ANYTHING GOOD WILL HAPPEN.

A few months earlier, in May, Auburn’s beloved radio announcer Jim Fyffe had passed away. In his place now was Rod Bramblett, former baseball play-by-play man, and the seemingly easy choice to fill the booth. To honor Fyffe, the mic man got up before the game on the field and said “When Auburn scores the first touchdown of the day, I want this side to yell ‘Touchdown!’ and I want this side to yell ‘Auburn!’”

It was going to be great. My dad and I were on the “Touchdown” side, and we practiced with great gusto before the inevitable rout of the Western visitors. They wouldn’t be able to handle the humidity or the 22 NFL starters that Auburn had in orange and blue.

Auburn’s first snap went backward as Cadillac got stuffed behind the line. Okay, no problem.

Then Jason Campbell’s first pass was tipped and picked off. Seconds later, Matt Leinart’s first college pass attempt went for a touchdown right in front of the students. Something was terribly wrong.

I sat there and watched Auburn struggle on offense as USC bebopped its way right down the field. They only notched 23 points (which would be low for them in coming years), but they would’ve been fine kneeling the ball after their first score. They shut Auburn out 23-0. The car ride back was a daze. We listened to the disbelief on the postgame radio show. None of the players and coaches could fathom what had happened. Auburn’s ranking — gone.

In the days following, we heard that USC had used slants to jam up Auburn’s defensive line. The coaches spoke of it as if it was some secret weapon that the Trojans had invented and employed for the first time ever. As a kid, I wasn’t totally aware that slants were in fact PRETTY COMMON.

The next week, they’d travel to Georgia Tech. This was a sure win... like Chan Gailey and Reggie Ball, whoever that was, could pose a threat to an angry Auburn team.

Well, they did. A 17-3 Yellow Jacket win later, Auburn was 0-2 and had scored three points combined in its first two games. Something was terribly wrong. The awful incompetence was astounding. Auburn couldn’t get out of its own way.

Finally, the Tigers got to play someone that would basically lay down and die. The Tigers scored their first touchdown of the year against Vanderbilt in week three, winning 45-7 and at least getting something right. Then they blasted Western Kentucky 48-3, but I knew it would all come crashing down again when #7 Tennessee visited Jordan-Hare the following Saturday night.

Tennessee boasted Casey Clausen and a slew of athletic receivers, plus a great linebacker corps that would make Auburn’s running attack work much harder to gain yardage.

Despite the 2-2 record, fans showed up in full force on the Plains. A filled Jordan-Hare with Ron Franklin on ESPN’s broadcast made it hard to look away. Over the first few weeks, the Tigers’ run game hadn’t been churning the way it had been, and we found out why Cadillac in particular was having a tough time. He was tentative.

After breaking his leg the year before, he wasn’t totally sure in its sturdiness. After taking a hit against WKU right on the spot where it broke, he regained his confidence and decided to run hard.

Against Tennessee, he ran 36 times for 185 yards and a touchdown as the Tigers got up 28-7 before holding off a furious rally by the Vols. A Carlos Rogers interception sealed the deal in the final minute and the Tigers got the kind of win we expected once the season started.

There was no rest for the weary, however. Auburn had to travel to Fayetteville for an 11 AM game with Tuberville’s personal nemesis, the Arkansas Razorbacks. After routing Texas and beating Alabama, the Hogs were ranked 7th now, making it the Tigers’ second straight game against a team ranked in that spot.

Again, Cadillac ran wild, going for 150 yards and the game’s only touchdown, and Karlos Dansby notched a key sack at the end to finish off the Razorbacks as Auburn won 10-3. Now they were 4-2 and looking like the team we expected.

The next week, sitting at 4-2, Auburn hosted Mississippi State in what would turn out to Jackie Sherrill’s last Starkville squad. This was Cadillac’s true coming-out party at the midpoint of the year.

Cadillac ran for 161 yards and six touchdowns (five in the first half) as Auburn blew out the Bulldogs 45-13. Junior college transfer Brandon Jacobs also rumbled for 182 yards on the day, finally breaking out in his first extended action of the year.

Things were looking good up until the trip to Baton Rouge. Nick Saban’s fourth team at LSU turned out to be pretty salty, but they hadn’t really turned it on to that point yet. They’d beaten Georgia early in the season, but lost to Ron Zook and Florida in a pretty uncompetitive game before Auburn came in.

LSU quarterback Matt Mauck completed a 64-yard touchdown to Devery Henderson just two minutes in, and the rout was on. Two touchdowns later and Auburn trailed 21-0 in the first quarter. Auburn finally got on the board with an Anthony Mix touchdown catch late in the game, but it had been over for a while. Auburn headed back home at 5-3 with a 31-7 loss.

Auburn roughed up Louisiana-Monroe the next week 73-7, and got back in to winning ways before Ole Miss and senior Eli Manning came to visit Jordan-Hare. This was a game that Auburn could definitely win, and may push the season to be deemed a success if they could upset the 20th-ranked Rebels.

The Tigers led 10-7 after one quarter, then trailed 14-10 at halftime before a tipped catch-and-run for 68 yards by Ben Obomanu gave them a 17-14 lead in the third quarter. After Ole Miss tied the game, Auburn kicker Phillip Yost booted a short kick to give the Tigers a 20-17 lead.

Eli Manning drove the Rebels down the field and they scored the go-ahead touchdown with a little over two minutes to play. Down 24-20, Auburn needed something. Again, Obomanu acted the hero, taking a short dump pass and weaving deep into Rebel territory. Auburn found itself at the Ole Miss ten, and a few plays later threw into the endzone.

By God, I won’t even show you the video. You know what happened next. Ben Obomanu, the only reason Auburn was even in position to score, dropped the ball. Campbell hit him right in the numbers, and he inexplicably leapt to try and make the catch. He just sort of swatted the ball into the ground instead and fell to his knees in agony. On the ensuing fourth down play, Auburn tried the same rollout pass, but it was defended much better.

Ole Miss won 24-20. In the postgame interview room, a teary Obomanu came in, still wearing his uniform, and answered every question asked of him. It took real guts to do that, but that loss numbed me like few have since. I remember sitting at dinner after that staring at the menu, blindly replaying the drop in my head.

Next up was a trip to Athens that more resembled the games against USC and LSU earlier in the year. Auburn put up zero fight and lost 26-7. Sitting at 6-5, far from where they’d expected to be at this point, the only thing that could salvage any excitement was a win in the Iron Bowl. We still had a lot to get through first.

We had to get through Jetgate. Auburn officials took booster Bobby Lowder’s private plane to fly to Louisville in an attempt to woo Bobby Petrino to replace Tuberville after the season. To be fair, the expectations set and the season Auburn had warranted a firing. It really did. And the only reason Tuberville got to stay is because the entire thing blew up in Auburn’s face. That news all came out a couple of days after the Iron Bowl, but it was still embarrassing.

Tuberville had managed to save face a bit, in large part, by beating Alabama. How did that happen, you ask? Well, it gave us one of the most famous plays in recent Auburn history.

Auburn won a weird Iron Bowl 28-23, with Cadillac rushing for two scores and in excess of 200 yards. If Auburn had lost that Iron Bowl and finished 6-6 on the year where they were supposed to win the national title, Tuberville would’ve been fired. After the win, he gained a sympathy from Auburn fans because of the administrations back-alley dealing, but a loss to Mike Shula and the 4-7 Tide wouldn’t have gotten him any help.

Jetgate afforded Tuberville another year, at the very least, and he’d make the most of it. After Auburn beat Wisconsin in the Music City Bowl, things looked up for the Tigers as they headed into 2004. With a senior-laden team, it could only get better, right?

Coming Next: Undefeated but Still Sitting at Home



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AP poll madness: Predicting predictions or a total eclipse of common sense

Kudos to the AP for scheduling its preseason poll release the same day as the solar eclipse. Hard to predict which will inspire more mass hysteria.

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LIVE UPDATES: Auburn coach Gus Malzahn speaks after Saturday's practice

Live updates: Gus Malzahn recaps Auburn's third week of fall camp

Follow along for live updates from Gus Malzahn's press conference

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Greg Robinson off to 'solid' start with Detroit Lions

After the three seasons that offensive tackle Greg Robinson had to open his NFL career, "solid" is high praise - and maybe the start of a new and better chapter for the former Auburn standout.

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Mostly Sunny today!



With a high of 93F and a low of 71F.
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The Countdown to Kickoff: The SEC's best No. 14

There are 14 days until the first Saturday of the SEC football season, and the No. 1 14 in SEC football history is Tennessee safety Eric Berry.

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'One of the best moments of my life': six walk-ons receive football scholarships

Auburn soccer defeats South Alabama 3-0



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Check out Duke Williams' circus catch for the Edmonton Eskimos

A pair of Auburn alumni caught touchdown passes in the same Canadian Football League game on Thursday night.

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Friday, August 18, 2017

Head to The Plains – Saturday is Auburn Fan Day!

Coach Gus Malzahn at Fan Day. Fan Day in Auburn, Ala., on Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014. Zach Bland/Auburn Athletics

Auburn Fan Day will be held today August 19 from 3:30-5:30 p.m. As usual there’s no charge to attend the annual event.

It’s a great time for fans to meet and talk with the players and coaches. Doors to the Indoor Practice Facility and Watson Field House will open at 3:15 p.m. CT.

In addition to the football team, fans can meet and get autographs and/or pictures with Aubie, the Auburn cheerleaders, Tiger Paws, and the soccer and volleyball teams.

It’s always a fun time for the whole family, so grab the kids and head to the Plains!

War Eagle!

Readers can view more information  here.

The post Head to The Plains – Saturday is Auburn Fan Day! appeared first on Track 'Em Tigers, Auburn's oldest and most read independent blog.



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W. Soccer. Tigers Trounce Jaguars in Season-Opening Victory

The Tigers (1-0-0) outshot the Jaguars (0-1-0) 11-4 in the contest at the Auburn Soccer Complex

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'One of the best moments of my life': six walk-ons receive football scholarships

Football. 'One of the best moments of my life': six walk-ons receive football scholarships

When his sister started crying tears of joy, Gary Walker felt his eyes watering, too."It was one of the happiest phone calls I've ever made home," said Walker. "My sister started crying. That kind of messed me up a little bit."

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'One of the best moments of my life': six walk-ons receive football scholarships

When his sister started crying tears of joy, Gary Walker felt his eyes watering, too."It was one of the happiest phone calls I've ever made home," said Walker. "My sister started crying. That kind of messed me up a little bit."

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SEC Football by the Numbers: Jalen Hurts could join short list of repeat winners

Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts could become the third player to win the SEC Offensive Player of the Year Award twice.

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W. Volleyball. Auburn Hosts UAB in Exhibition Saturday

With over a week and a half of practice come and gone, the Auburn volleyball team will welcome UAB in an exhibition Saturday afternoon. First serve is set for 1:30 p.m. CT in Auburn Arena and admission is free.

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Football. Auburn Athletics to Offer Solar Eclipse Football Ticket Special

On Monday, Aug. 21, history will be made as the continental United States will witness the first total solar eclipse traveling coast-to-coast since 1918. Coinciding with this historic event, Auburn Athletics will offer an exclusive solar eclipse ticket special to the entire Auburn Family.

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Auburn football offering $20 tickets to season opener

Auburn offering $20 tickets to football season opener

Auburn is offering tickets for $20 ffor the Sept. 2 game with Georgia Southern

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Auburn Uniform Database: More Auburn Football Concepts

Auburn Uniform Database: More Auburn Football Concepts: Last year I randomly asked people to send me their craziest Auburn football uniform concept ideas and I would make them come to life. I enj...

Auburn Athletics to Offer Solar Eclipse Football Ticket Special

On Monday, Aug. 21, history will be made as the continental United States will witness the first total solar eclipse traveling coast-to-coast since 1918. Coinciding with this historic event, Auburn Athletics will offer an exclusive solar eclipse ticket special to the entire Auburn Family.

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W. Golf. Q&A: Auburn women's golf freshmen ready for new experiences

AuburnTigers.com caught up with Auburn's three women's golf newcomers and got their thoughts on the beginning of their college careers.

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Auburn DT Dontavius Russell making transition from 'plugger' to playmaker

W. Volleyball. Position Preview: Setters

The setter is what some like to call the “quarterback” of a volleyball team and the 2017 Auburn squad has a pair of setters ready to lead the team to success this year.

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15 Days Until Kickoff

Fans outside the stadium, the official Jordan-Hare time is...
With things really shaping up practice-wise, we’re nearing the two week mark of the Countdown to Kickoff. Fifteen days away. Odd number, and there are only a couple games in history in which Auburn has won while scoring that many points.
1988 - Auburn 15, Alabama 10
Auburn finished up a frustrating 1988 regular season with a win over the hated rivals in the final game in the continuous streak of Iron Bowls held at Legion Field.
From 1948-1988 the game would be held in Birmingham, but this was the last time in that string, since the game would move to Auburn the next season.
The Tigers came in ranked 7th, and ended up grabbing one big play thanks to Lawyer Tillman when they really needed it.
Tillman’s big catch set up Auburn’s only touchdown of the day, a Vincent Harris burst into the end zone that gave the Tigers a 15-3 late in the third quarter. Bama scored a touchdown of their own with just a few minutes left, but Auburn recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock. Ron Stallworth recorded four sacks in the win, as well as thirteen total tackles as the Tigers won their third straight Iron Bowl.
1957 - Auburn 15, Mississippi State 7
Auburn’s defense wilted as much as they had all season as the Tigers beat the Bulldogs, who were one of the better squads Auburn would face in their championship season of 1957.
The defense allowed a touchdown for just the third time that year, as they’d given up scores UT-Chattanooga and Houston in blowout wins earlier in the season. This was the first time the defense allowed any points in what would turn out to be a close game. Other than this win, the Tigers had shut out Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia Tech, and Florida to reach a 6-0 record by the time Mississippi State came in.
Auburn would of course finish the year 10-0, allowing just one more touchdown on the year (against Florida State in a 29-7 win), and thrashing Alabama 40-0 to win the national championship.
15 Years Ago - 2002
After falling apart down the stretch of the 2001 season, losing three straight to end the year, Auburn began 2002 with new blood on the coaching staff. They’d grabbed an offensive coordinator from the pro ranks (Jacksonville’s Bobby Petrino), and a defensive coordinator from the college levels (UCF’s Gene Chizik).
They’d also begin the year unranked but with an opportunity to test themselves with a young, but talented offense out in Los Angeles. Auburn opened the year at USC in the first part of a home and home agreement, wherein the Trojans would visit the Plains in 2003.
Starting Daniel Cobb once again, the Tigers also rolled out an improved Cadillac at the Coliseum. Carnell Williams rushed through the USC defense with ease... for a half. Then he cramped up and Auburn’s offense went in the dumps. In the end, Carson Palmer led a game-winning drive to take a 24-17 lead in the final two minutes, and Auburn wouldn’t be able to respond. The Tigers dropped the opener to fall to 0-1.
Things got easier in the next few weeks, though, as Auburn romped past Western Carolina, Vanderbilt, and Mississippi State for easy wins before the Syracuse Orange came to town.
For one, this was a fantastic game. It spawned the name of SB Nation’s Syracuse site when they quarterback Troy Nunes scrambled around and the ESPN announcer exclaimed “Troy Nunes is an absolute magician!” And it impressed the hell out of one Syracuse writer in particular.
Believe me on this. Please. I have descended into college football’s Grand Canyon. I have stood in its Alps. I have gazed at its ocean sunset. I have attended a game at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala. And I’ve been changed forever.
That’s an excerpt from Bud Poliquin, in his piece written after attending the game. Certainly, that sentiment was helped out by the fact that it was a double-overtime thriller win for the Tigers, where Cadillac rushed for 200 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including the overtime winner. Still, it’s a feeling we can all agree on.
Sitting at 4-1, Auburn felt pretty good. Then came the DREADED 11 AM home game against Arkansas. I have no idea how these seemed to happen year after year, but the Tigers had trouble all the time with the Pigs, and in 2002 it birthed the legend of some little scatback named Fred Talley. He just ran by my window, by the way.
Auburn hit the skids hard, allowing 241 yards to Talley, 426 total to the Hogs, and fell 38-17. The Tigers actually led 17-14 with two minutes to play in the first half, but Fred Talley went 80 yards just before the horn and that was all she wrote. 4-2.
The next week, Auburn had to regroup and go down to Gainesville to meet Florida. Steve Spurrier was gone, headed to the NFL to try his hand with the Washington Redskins, and in his place was longtime Gator assistant Ron Zook. Rex Grossman was back for his junior season, and the Gators were alright, although not nearly as powerful as they had been a year earlier when Auburn tripped them up on the Plains.
Trailing 14-0, Auburn ran Cadillac up the middle, and the Tigers’ star tailback would not get up. Broken leg. Broken DREAMS. Things seemed dire for Auburn, but in stepped a guy who’d become an even more highly-regarded draft pick than Cadillac. Let’s head to fourth and one with a big deficit.
Side note: Ron Zook made the best facial expressions — check him out right after Ronnie Brown scores.
If you watch that video, you can see the moment where the Riverboat Gambler moniker probably took a fatal blow for Tuberville. He was this edgy guy, calling weird things on fourth downs, and it typically worked out for him. Until Damon Duval entered the picture.
Conspiracy theorists will point to this game and tell you that Duval and Tuberville hated each other and this was Duval’s way of getting back at the coach. It’s hard to disagree after watching him run right into a tackler, instead of cutting outside to grab a few yards and a key fourth down conversion.
It’s also hard to disagree when later he kicks the game-winning field goal into the rear end of the offensive lineman in front of him.
Auburn lost in overtime 30-23, and sat at 4-3. Cool. Still, we did have the emergence of Ronnie Brown, and that was nice. He ran for 163 yards in relief of Cadillac that night and cemented himself as the starter heading into the next game.
Another thing to note from the loss in Gainesville is that is was a complete reversal of the season before. Jason Campbell came in to spell Daniel Cobb, nearly completed the comeback, and made himself the starter. The much-maligned sophomore would get his next starting chance against LSU at home.
On a rainy day on the Plains, Nick Saban brought in his second Bayou Bengal squad for what turned out to be a double-revenge game. After the Cigars in 1999, LSU beat Auburn in Death Valley in 2001, but now Tubs needed revenge on Saban.
It happened.
Auburn picked off four Marcus Randall passes and found another tailback named Tre Smith (more on him later), as they routed LSU 31-7. Things were suddenly right back on track.
At 5-3, the next stop for Auburn came in Oxford against a potent Ole Miss team led by Eli Manning. Auburn had beaten the Rebels twice in a row, and gave them a heavy dose of Ronnie Brown at Vaught-Hemingway. Brown rumbled for 224 yards and three touchdowns as Auburn intercepted three Manning passes in winning 31-24.
With an easy win over Louisiana-Monroe the next week, Auburn sat pretty at 7-3 with a huge game against the all-of-a-suddenly good Georgia Bulldogs coming to town for the start of Amen Corner.
Georgia had started 8-0 in Mark Richt’s second season, but lost to Florida because that’s what Georgia did back in the day. Still, sitting at 9-1, they were in line for a trip to the BCS Championship Game if certain things fell their way. But on this day, Auburn would open up hot and play with one of the best teams in the country.
Ronnie Brown got the scoring started with a 53-yard scamper in the first quarter, then Jason Campbell hit Brandon Johnson on a short touchdown pass to give the Tigers a 14-3 lead at halftime. In the second half, however, Georgia started to come back. David Greene’s quarterback sneak got the Bulldogs their first touchdown, then they cut the Auburn led to 21-17 late in the third quarter.
The fourth was mostly scoreless until the final two minutes, when Georgia began to drive. Auburn looked as if it had a desirable situation, pitting Georgia into a 4th-and-15 at the Tiger 19-yard line. David Greene dropped back, lofted the ball right into the corner of the end zone in front of the students, and Michael Johnson pulled it down for the go-ahead score. 24-21, Georgia won.
To make matters worse, Ronnie Brown had sprained an ankle during the second half, and Brandon Johnson suffered an injury as well. As high as Auburn had been at the break, it was now all gone. A big comeback win for Georgia had broken our hearts and now we’d get to go watch our boys get beaten by Alabama without our workhorse in the backfield.
About that...
Nobody gave the Tigers a chance heading into Tuscaloosa. Everyone thought Bama would get its first win at its actual home stadium against Auburn. The Tide, although on probation for excessive and rampant cheating, were a top ten team and boasted one of the best rushing attacks in the country. Auburn was doomed.
Until they showed that they weren’t afraid from the very first drive.
Auburn wouldn’t score there, but it set the tone. With Ronnie Brown out of the game, Auburn turned to Tre Smith at the tailback spot. He performed alright.
Smith ran for 126 yards on the day, and Jason Campbell threw two touchdowns to Robert Johnson. Auburn opened up a 17-0 lead and only allowed a touchdown when the game seemed to be well in hand. 17-7 final, Auburn had won in Tuscaloosa again.
Things got worse for the Tide after this, as Dennis Franchione left to take the Texas A&M job (what a time to be alive), and Alabama ran through embarrassment after embarrassment in trying to find a suitable head coach after that. It took them a few years.
Auburn earned a bid to the Capital One Bowl (the old Citrus Bowl), and went to play Penn State. Now, I had watched the Nittany Lions beat Auburn in the Outback Bowl back on New Year’s Day 1996, and I cried in my little Auburn uniform I’d received for Christmas. There would be no crying on this day. Ronnie Brown outdueled Heisman finalist Larry Johnson 184 yards to 72 yards, and Auburn won the game 13-9 to finsih 9-4 on the year.
With the way the Tigers had finished -- winning five of six, beating three top ten teams, and nearly knocking off Georgia -- everyone was sure we were in for something special in 2003. Oh. We were.
Coming Up: Great Expectations


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