Adventures On the Bayou (Or This Bud's For You)

This Tiger defender knows the key to success as Auburn travels to Baton Rouge.

Auburn, Ala.--Being a Tiger fan in Baton Rouge, La., should be a fairly easy task considering it is the home of the LSU Tigers. But for Carlistia Torbor, that is not the case. She is given a hard time by her co-workers because the Tigers she roots dress in different colors.

However, if anyone has a legitimate excuse to root against the home team, it is Carlistia, whose son Reggie Torbor is a six-foot-three, 242-pound defensive end for the Auburn Tigers.

Reggie's Tigers will face off against the Tigers her co-workers pull for Saturday at 8 p.m. in Tiger Stadium in a game nationally-televised by ESPN2.

Auburn has won two straight games in the series, which has made it pleasant for at least one person to go to work in Baton Rouge the Monday morning following the battle of the Tigers. "The last two years she has kind of got away from it because we won," Torbor says. "So I'm going to try and make it easy on her and try to get another win."

Reggie Torbor

The redshirt sophomore has not played a football game in his hometown since his senior year at Baton Rouge's Lee High School in 1998 where he was a standout running back. "I would have liked the chance to have gone to LSU, but at the end they didn't offer me a scholarship so that's why I didn't go."

The LSU coaching staff that shunned Torbor three seasons ago is gone and he says that's not what makes him want this victory in Tiger Stadium. "That has nothing to do with it," he notes. "The biggest thing I'm hungry for is an SEC win. We need to go on the road and win this because whoever wins this is going to be in the driver's seat for the SEC West."

Tiger Stadium is a tough place to play a road game in the SEC and Torbor, who grew up attending LSU games and watching the Bengal Tigers practice, says he knows that all too well. "There is no way you can explain it," he says. "As loud as our stadium was (against Ole Miss), you multiply that times three. From the last time I went in there, I think they added 12,000 seats, so I don't even know what to expect."

That is a strong statement from a player who witnessed LSU fans throw beer cans and trash on Auburn teammate Clifton Robinson after he scored a touchdown in Auburn's 41-7 victory in 1999 when Torbor was redshirting. "He came back smelling like Budweiser," Torbor recalls. "They are just real hostile. When the bus pulls in, they start throwing rocks and sticks at the bus. They love their LSU Tigers. That's all I can say."

Torbor also witnessed a near riot in Baton Rouge after the Tigers knocked off top-ranked Florida 28-21 in 1997. "They beat the No. 1 team in the nation," Torbor says. "And they really celebrated that night. It makes the players feel good about themselves. The things you are doing are not going in vain. You have fans backing you up and I think that really makes a difference." The fans rushed the field following the game and did so much damage that LSU had to replace the turf for the next home game.

Getting the hostile Tiger Stadium crowd to sit back and relax is a challenge and it is something Torbor says is essential if the Tigers' want to leave Louisiana with a 3-0 record. And it will be a task that will be especially hard to do after fans have been sitting around anticipating the 8 p.m. kickoff for most of the day. "We have to jump on them early," he states. "If we let the crowd hang around, they are going to get louder and louder and it really makes a difference with all those people in there screaming and hollering."

Auburn took the crowd out of the game early in 1999 by passing the ball with great success, but the Tigers went on to win only five games that year. Torbor, who splits time with starter James Callier at the right defensive end spot, says this year that each team's running game will dictate who wins the game.

Being a former running back, he is well aware of the importance of a solid running attack. "My redshirt freshman year we didn't run the football at Auburn and we went 5-6. Rudi came and we started running the football and things turned around. And this year we are running the football.

Auburn is also stopping the run this season allowing just 57.5 yards per game on the ground and that's something which Torbor says is equally important. "If you don't do it, you are going to lose."

The Auburn defense will face a talented LSU backfield that features LaBrandon Toefield, who already has seven rushing touchdowns in just two games this season. "When you stop the run," Torbor says, "it kind of belittles the other team because they think they can't do anything."

Torbor says he expects no special treatment from LSU fans, even if he plays well. "Once you cross the other side and leave out of state you are not wanted anymore. You are a traitor. So, I guess I am a traitor going home." But still Torbor will have a few cheers ringing from the crowd of 92,000 fans who are expected to watch the SEC showdown.

Ticket requests have been coming in from friends and family members and Torbor has done all the wheeling and dealing he can do and then some to meet the high demand. He says he expects to have at least 30 to 35 tickets for the game. "I had to give some of my Floridas (tickets) away," he says. "It's going to catch up with me. I made some promises I can't keep. We kind of swap tickets for home games, but I think I promised like 13 Florida tickets and we only get four, so there are going to be some people mad at me."

His teammates might overlook that miscalculation if their Tigers can escape Death Valley with a victory Saturday night and Torbor, who now calls Auburn home, can relish the fact that at least one streak was continued and that there will be at least one happy Tiger fan in Baton Rouge on Monday morning at the software company his mother works.


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