"Tennessee has been talking about how physical they are and about how we were not going to be able to run on them," said Auburn quarterback Jason Campbell. "We wanted to get off to a good start. We knew they played a lot of man coverage. We knew we were going to have an opportunity to make some big plays. We made some big plays down the field, you know, the touchdowns. We got robbed with one of them. We kept pushing. The offensive line did a good job."
Auburn's offensive front and fullback Brandon Johnson lead the way for tailback Carnell Williams in Saturday's victory.
Carnell Williams, who rushed for 185 yards on 36 carries, echoed his quarterback on the theme for the evening. "They were talking all week about how physical they were and how we were so soft," Williams said. "We just came out and hit them in the mouth. It wasn't time to talk. It was time to show them what you got and we stepped up to the challenge."
Campbell said he was impressed with the job the offensive line did. "I saw guys with a great attitude," the quarterback said. "They made a statement tonight. They came out. They pushed people off the ball. They gave our running backs holes to make plays. I take my hat off to them. We have one of the best backfields in the nation and the OL did a good job giving them the opportunity."
Williams said the victory was a sweet one. "Some of their backs talked trash about them being the best in the SEC," the Cadillac said. "I felt we as a team needed to come out and make a statement.
"The boys up front were getting body on body, pushing them off the ball," Williams added. "They did a great job. Anytime a running back can run four or five yards without getting touched, that goes all to the offensive line."
Williams came up with one of the big plays of the game in the fourth quarter, gaining a first down to keep Auburn's final drive alive to help preserve a one touchdown lead. He caught a swing pass and beat a UT defender to get six-yard gain when it looked like nothing was there. "I was Jason's third or fourth read on the play," Williams noted. "I went one on one with the linebacker. I knew if I could make him miss I could get the first down."
Coach Tommy Tuberville liked what he saw, "We have been wanting to run the football and we are a running football team. We obviously want to want to throw it about 20 times a game. That is what we want to focus on. The first two games we couldn't get back to the line of scrimmage.