Clayton Pleased With AU's Run Defense

Senior defensive tackle Zach Clayton talks about Auburn's victory over South Carolina in this report that features news and notes from the SEC football game.

Auburn, Ala.--A key factor in Auburn's 35-27 victory over South Carolina Saturday was stopping the Gamecocks' running game led by true freshman Marcus Lattimore who was limited to only 33 yards on the ground.

The Tigers held South Carolina to only 79 yards rushing for an average of 2.8 yards an attempt.

"One of our big focuses coming into this game was stopping the run and forcing them to go to their passing game," Auburn senior defensive tackle Zach Clayton said. "I feel like we accomplished that tonight. Lattimore is a great back, but we were focused on stopping him."

The senior from nearby Opelika helped clog up the middle from his tackle slot on the defensive front. He had two solo tackles, one for a loss of a yard.

In addition to stopping South Carolina's running game, Tiger defenders forced four Gamecock turnovers in the second half--two fumbles and two interceptions.

"It was great to get those turnovers because it's something we haven't done the first three games," Clayton pointed out. "We still have a long way to go. We made some mistakes, but will look at the film and address them at practice. We proved once again tonight we can fight hard in every single game."

Clayton agrees with head coach Gene Chizik this year's 4-0 start has a different feeling to the four wins out the gate in 2009 before the wheels came off at midseason during an 8-4 campaign.

"The 4-0 has a different feeling because we have a lot of seniors with a lot of leadership," Clayton said. "You don't see everybody getting down when somebody scores. It's nice to have that kind of senior leadership step up to the plate."

Playing tough, physical games like the Tigers have managed to win over Mississippi State, Clemson and South Carolina the past three weeks doesn't surprise Clayton. "When I was being recruited by Auburn it was one of the things you look forward to,"?he said. "You come to Auburn because you know you are going to play in those kinds of games."

In other news and notes from Auburn's victory:

*Cameron Newton had his second 100-yard rushing game of the season, picking up 176 yards on 25 carries, including touchdown runs of 54, three and four yards. He also passed for two touchdowns becoming the first Auburn player in history to throw at least two touchdowns in each of the first games of a season. It marked the second time Newton has accounted for five touchdowns in one game, the first coming against Arkansas State in the season opener.

*Newton's 179 yards rushing is the most by an Auburn player against South Carolina, surpassing Kenny Irons' 117 yards against the Gamecocks in 2006.

*True freshman Michael Dyer recorded his first 100-yard rushing game by finishing with exactly 100 yards on a career-high 23 carries. He only had 22 yards on eight carries in the first half with 78 yards on 15 rushes in the second half. Heralded South Carolina freshman running back Marcus Lattimore, who narrowed it down to South Carolina and Auburn before deciding to stay in his home State, finished with only 33 yards on 14 carries after picking up only seven yards on three second-half rushes.

*Josh Bynes interception at 3:19 in the fourth quarter was his first of season. The senior linebacker has five career interceptions.

*Demond Washington's interception in the end zone with 33 seconds remaining in the game was the first of his career.

*Defensive back T'Sharvan Bell came up with his first fumble recovery on a play that linebacker Daren Bates forced the first fumble of his career.


Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories