Rudy Fordhas been in on a team-leading 63 tackles in six games for the Auburn Tigers.
Auburn, Ala.--Junior safety Jonathan "Rudy" Ford said his football team’s first SEC victory of the season was exactly what the Auburn Tigers needed as they head into the second half of their schedule.
“Beating Kentucky was a must win for us,” he said. “Getting the W was like getting refueled. It was big for us to get the win on the road.”
Ford said the Tigers went into Lexington with respect for Kentucky and knew they would have to perform well to come out with a victory, which they did by a score of 30-27 on Thursday night.
“We really prepared for the game and came together as a team,” he said of the Tigers, who improved their record to 4-2 overall and 1-2 in the league.
Making it an even better night for Ford and his defensive teammates was despite their struggles earlier in the game that when Gus Malzahn made the decision to punt the football back to Kentucky for a final do-or-die drive the coach’s confidence in the defense was rewarded.
“That is the best moment to be out on the field when the game is on the line and it comes down to us as a defensive unit,” said Ford, who led all tacklers in the contest with 14 stops, including nine solos and one of his team’s three quarterback sacks.
With Auburn leading 17-7 in the second quarter, Ford made one of the big defensive plays of the game on a third down and goal situation at the four-yard line. Kentucky’s Patrick Towles dropped back to pass, but was dropped for a seven-yard loss by Ford on a safety blitz so the Wildcats had to settle for a field goal.
“That was very big,” Ford said of the sack. “It was a blessed situation to be in. Hats off to the defensive linemen. A hole opened, there was an opportunity there and I seized it. It was a great call by the coaches.”
Ford said the most important thing was to win the game, but noted the defense needs to improve. “We need to all stay together and continue to work on the stuff we need to work on in practice,” he said. “We need to all play as one unit and we are going to be fine.”
Ford and the Tigers will return to action next Saturday with an 11 a.m. CDT contest at Arkansas.