The Bulldogs lived up to the hype as Smith accounted for four touchdowns on offense to lead the charge, but it was on the defensive side of the ball where the statement was made. Grabbing his second interception of the season and shutting down a solid Jones County passing attack, Bridges helped his team to a 42-3 victory in a statement game for the rest of the junior college football world.
“We have been pointing towards this game all year,” Bridges tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. “Like our coaches have been telling us, they’re going to have to beat us deep. It was up to the corners and the secondary to see what we were going to do. We played a big part in the game, we didn’t give up anything.
“I think I played great,” he added. “The receiver I had didn’t catch anything except a bubble screen. That’s all he caught on me. The interception was their first time trying me. It was really the first time anybody has tried me this year.”
It’s a feeling that Bridges is getting used to being the top junior college cornerback in the country. A physically-gifted player that has the size and speed to play on an island for the defense, he said that his technique and skills at the position have improved tremendously as a sophomore.
“I feel like I’m at 100 percent right now,” Bridges said. “I went back and looked at tape from last year compared to this year and it was horrible. My freshman year I was young and just doing it. Now I have bought in to what the coaches are telling me and my technique is way better. It’s going to be hard to beat me.”
In addition to getting a big win for his team, Bridges also had another reason to smile on Thursday night with two of his future coaches in attendance watching him play. Auburn Head Coach Gus Malzahn and Cornerbacks Coach Melvin Smith both traveled to Jones County to see Bridges, Smith and defensive tackle Maurice Swain in action. Bridges said having them there was a huge thing for him and shows him how much he means to the Tigers.
“It was great,” Bridges said. “I just want to be the one that makes it out with those guys. It really brought a smile to my face when I looked over there and saw the coaches there for me. It just brought a smile to my face.
“That means a lot to me,” he added. “It means those guys really want me. It’s amazing to me the situation I’m in right now. It’s just amazing.”
Saying he plans to take an official visit to Ole Miss as well, Bridges will take his first visit next weekend to Auburn to see the Tigers take on LSU at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Expected to be joined by both Smith and Swain on the trip, he said he can’t wait to see his first game at his future home.
“I’m ready to get there,” Bridges said. “It’s going to be my first visit that I go on. I’m ready because it’s going to be my first big college game. I have never been to a really big-time game other than Southern Miss. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.
While he does plan to visit the Rebels, Bridges said he has no doubts about his decision and is very happy to be an Auburn Tiger.
“I love the Tigers,” Bridges said. “I’m very solid.”