Part 2, AU 55, UT 23: News, Notes & Quotes

Comments from Coach Gus Malzahn, players and notes on Auburn's SEC football win at Tennessee are featured.

Knoxville, Tenn.--While the offense and special teams play were in the spotlight on Saturday, and deservedly so in Auburn's 55-23 SEC football victory over Tennessee, the Tigers' defense contributed to the team's ninth victory of the season.

The Vols finished the day with 354 total yards, including 226 on the ground, but managed just 16 points vs. the defense with the other UT points coming on an interception return. Most of the Vols' yardage came between the 30-yard lines.

"That has kind of been our M-O all year," Coach Gus Malzahn said. "Our defense has really rose up once they get in the red zone. It is one of the better defenses in all of college football when they get in the red zone and that has been a factor, and I think vice versa on the other side of the football."

The Vols were able to convert just 4-13 third downs vs. the Tigers and Auburn had another stop on fourth down and one.

Sophomore linebacker Cassanova McKinzy led the Tigers in tackles with six solo stops and four assists. Senior safety Ryan Smith added six solo tackles and two assists, but said the Tigers need to play better after allowing the Vols to rush for 226 yards at 5.3 yards per carry.

"We don't like the rushing yards a bit and feel like we had a lot of misfits so we'll get back to practice and fix it before next week," Smith said.

Tennessee safety Brian Randolph had more reason to be concerned about his team's run defense and he was.

"I think we have to do a better job of keeping a leverage on the player and set an edge to the defense," the redshirt sophomore said. "We can't let people get to the outside and also we have to have gap integrity. We have to maintain our gap."

Auburn junior Corey Grant said the receivers have been a big part of the team's success running the football.

"The receivers have been doing their job on the perimeter, especially with the sweeps and things like that," the running back said. "They're getting on their guys and making it easier for me to make my reads to see if I should cut it up or keep it outside."

In other news and notes:

*Nick Marshall's 62-yard run in the second quarter was the longest for Marshall this season and the longest for an AU quarterback since Cam Newton's 75-yard run vs. Arkansas State in 2010. Marshall's run was the longest by a Tiger vs. Tennessee.

*Marshall now has three 100-yard rushing performances in nine games playing for the Tigers. His 164 yards by intermission are the fourth most ever for an AU player in the first half of a game.

*On Auburn's first touchdown Cody Parkey's PAT kick was block, ending a streak of 90 straight makes for the senior. It was also the first PAT kick blocked against Auburn since LSU did it to Jaret Holmes in 1996.

*Auburn's 28 points in the second quarter are the most by an AU team ever in that period vs. an SEC opponent.

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