After a long, hot night on the road, the big lineman bounced out of the locker room looking fresh enough to play a couple more quarters.
"I enjoyed it a lot," the junior defensive tackle said with a big smile. "A dogfight game on the road, you have got to love it. That is what I came to the SEC for."
Auburn improved to 2-0 with the victory and 1-0 in the SEC with the victory over the Bulldogs as Fairley and his defensive teammates stopped a desperation Mississippi State drive in the closing seconds to preserve the win.
Fairley, who was an All-State basketball player at Williamson High, showed his good hands with a tip drill play for an interception. Like a power forward blocking a shot, he also pulled in the rebound. "I was able to show my hand-eye coordination," the junior tackle said.
The junior defensive tackle made his first collegiate interception in the second quarter on the first turnover of the season forced by the AU defense. Fairley also was in on the second turnover when he recovered a fumble in the second quarter.
The last player to recover a fumble and intercept a pass in the same game for Auburn was also a defensive tackle from Mobile--Sen'Derrick Marks, who did it vs. New Mexico State in 2007.
"It was a big win for us because it let us know we can win SEC games in the road," said Fairley, who was credited with five tackles, including 2 1/2 for lost yardage ( 1 1/2 sacks) and three quarterback hurries. "Coach (Gene) Chizik told us there was going to be adversity in this game. He said how we responded to it would determine whether we won or lost."
In other news and notes:
*The last Tiger to intercept a pass and recover a fumble in an SEC game prior to Thursday night was Karibi Dede, who did in 2005 vs. Arkansas.
*Senior left tackle Lee Ziemba extended his consecutive starts streak to 40 games, nine shy of Will Herring's record set from 2004-2007. However, Ziemba injured his right knee in the second quarter and was replaced by first-year Tiger Brandon Mosley, a transfer from Coffeyville, Kan., Community College. Ziemba is expected to be able to play in game three vs. Clemson.
*Auburn's first touchdown, a 39-yard pass to Emory Blake on the opening possession, was the sophomore's first college touchdown. It was also the longest catch he has made as an Auburn player.
*Darvin Adams moved into a tie for 10th in Auburn history with a touchdown catch in the second quarter. After the 12-yard play the junior has 11 TD receptions.
*With a 34-yard field goal in the second quarter, Wes Byrum moved into a tied for the second most field goals in Auburn history with 45. It was his ninth consecutive field goal without a miss going back to the 2009 season. However, that streak ended in the fourth quarter when he had field goal blocked that set up the final drive for the Bulldogs.