AU Wraps Up Preparations For Senior Day Game

Auburn tuned up the game plan for Saturday's first-ever football game vs. Alabama A&M.

Auburn, Ala.--Most of Auburn's seniors are likely to see game action on Saturday when the Tigers close the home portion of their football schedule with their Senior Day contest as Alabama A&M visits Jordan-Hare Stadium.

The 2012 senior class includes six players who are expected to be in the starting lineup. That group includes Daren Bates and Jonathan Evans at linebacker, Onterio McCalebb at running back, Emory Blake and Travante Stallworth at wide receiver plus John Sullen at offensive tackle. Cornerback T'Sharvan Bell could be in the lineup if the Tigers open the game with five defensive backs in the lineup like they did last week.

Philip Lutzenkirchen would have been the starter at tight end, but is out for the season after having hip surgery. Linebacker Ashton Richardson has interviews in Birmingham on Friday and Saturday as a finalist to become a Rhodes Scholar so the pre-veterinary medicine honor student is unlikely to be back on campus in time for the game.

Other seniors include wide receiver DeAngelo Benton, safety Ikeem Means, running back/receiver Anthony Morgan, linebacker Ashton Richardson and defensive tackle Jamar Travis.

McCalebb goes into Saturday's game needing 15 yards to become the eighth player in Auburn history to rush for 2,500 yards. The others are Bo Jackson, Carnell Williams, James Brooks, Joe Cribbs, Ben Tate, Stephen Davis, Brent Fullwood and Ronnie Brown.

Blake needs 54 yards to become the fifth player in Auburn history to reach the 2,000 yards mark as a pass receiver. He is currently tied in seventh place with Freddy Weygand. Blake needs 33 yards to pass his former teammate, Darvin Adams, and 54 yards to pass Frank Sanders.

Emory Blake has made 123 catches in his four seasons with the Tigers.

Terry Beasley has the receiving record with 2,507 yards and is joined in the 2,000 yards group by Tyrone Goodson, Karsten Bailey and Courtney Taylor.

Blake, McCalebb, the other seniors and the rest of the Tigers had a light workout on Thursday evening to wrap up on-the-field preparations for the first-ever game between the Tigers and Alabama A&M, a team that plays in the SWAC and comes to Auburn with a 7-3 record. The Tigers are 2-8 heading into the 1 p.m. kickoff.

Injury Report: In addition to the players out for the season with injuries such as Lutzenkirchen and offensive linemen Avery Young and Jordan Diamond, several other Tigers could miss the final home game of the season. The group includes defensive end Craig Sanders, quarterback Clint Moseley and defensive tackle Devaunte Sigler. Moseley, who suffered an ankle injury vs. Texas A&M, was able to throw the ball in practice this week, but does not have his normal mobility.

Cornerback Chris Davis (concussion) should be back in action this week along with middle linebacker Jake Holland, who missed last week's loss to Georgia with an ankle sprain. Holland's backup, Cassanova McKinzy, has been also dealing with an ankle problem this week, but should be ready to play middle linebacker along with sophomore Justin Garrett, who is learning the position after previously only playing on the outside.

Third-string middle linebacker Richardson said he believes it is unlikely he will be able to get back to campus in time for the game because of his interviews on Friday and Saturday in Birmingham as one of a dozen finalists to win the Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford University in England.

Ashton Richardson's Big Weekend: The former walk-on linebacker said it would be a "life-changing" experience for him if he wins the Rhodes Scholarship. "I have gone through a series of mock interviews as well as practice dinners and things of that nature," he said, noting that he has received plenty of help and encouragement from faculty members and others preparing him this weekend.

Ashton Richardson

"Getting grilled and receiving tough questions, and having to figure out ways to answer them, has helped me gain confidence," he said concerning the interviews that start on Friday evening.

Football Forecast: No chance of rain is predicted for Saturday's 1 p.m. kickoff. The temperature is expected to get into the lows 60s in Auburn, which should make for good tailgating weather.

PPV TV: The Alabama A&M at Auburn game is available on television on a pay-per-view basis across the state of Alabama. Those interested can contact their local cable provider or small dish provider for information on ordering the game. Andy Burcham will call the action with former Tiger quarterback Ben Leard as the analyst.

Radio Coverage: In addition to Auburn Network stations around the southeast, Saturday's game can be picked up on Sirius Channel 112 and XM Channel 198.

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