No Sweat On Sunny Homecoming For Tigers

The Tigers scored 10 touchdowns on their way to a homecoming victory at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn scored often and scored quickly on a happy homecoming Saturday as the Tigers cruised to a 73-7 victory in a football game that was probably even more one-sided than the score indicated.

The reserves saw more action than the starters at every position except quarterback, where Jason Campbell played the first two quarters and Josh Sullivan and Wesley Hill played the final two.

The Tigers scored touchdowns on six runs and two passes on offense. The defense got a TD on an interception return by Kevin Hobbs. A blocked punt and recovery by Justin Fetsko, one of three blocked punts in the game by the Tigers, accounted for the other touchdown.

The 73 points are the most scored by the Tigers since getting 76 vs. UT-Chattanooga in 1996. It was the most against a Division I team since racking up 77 vs. Washington & Lee in 1920. The margin of victory is the largest vs. a Division I team since beating Samford 72-0 in 1922.

Tailback Carnell Williams breaks loose for a 72-yard touchdown run on Auburn's first possession of the game.

The game figured to be lopsided going in, but whatever chances the Indians had of pulling an upset were significantly reduced when their star quarterback, Steven Jyles, did not play. A death in the family caused him to miss the trip as his team fell to 1-8 while Auburn improved to 6-3.

"We did a lot of good things right, obviously," AU Coach Tommy Tuberville said. "They came in without their quarterback and they struggled offensively."

The visitors managed just 151 net yards in the game while Auburn finished with 481, including 258 in the first quarter while the Tigers were playing their starters and still had their feet on the gas pedal.

Despite the lopsided victory, Tuberville said, "You really can't tell a whole lot from that game."

One thing the Tigers expected was a good workout for the secondary with Jyles being one of the better passers in the country. However, with the sophomore not available the Indians never seriously challenged the Tiger secondary until putting together an 80-yard drive against the reserves in the third quarter.

Defensive coordinator Gene Chizik said he liked his group's aggressiveness as the Tigers intercepted three passes while causing three fumbles, one which they recovered.

Tuberville said the special teams were a plus with the blocked punts and other solid play except for several shaky instances of kickoff coverage when Montae Pitts saved potential very long returns with one on one tackles.

"It worked out about the way we wanted," Tuberville said. "We wanted to play our first team the first half, and make sure they got their mind into it and had to concentrate a little bit, and not get anybody hurt and then let the second and third teams play."

The Tigers got through the game with no injuries and were able to turn their focus to next week's Ole Miss game rather quickly. Junior Rosegreen said he started thinking about Eli Manning and the Rebels in the first half after it quickly became clear that Louisiana–Monroe was not going to be able to spoil homecoming for the 81,061 fans on a sun-drenched Nov. 1st afternoon. "Manning is definitely one of the top quarterbacks in the country," Rosegreen said.

Redshirt freshman defensive end Kyle Derozan makes a stop in the backfield for the Tigers. Derozan along with Marquies Gunn played almost the entire second half for Coach Terry Price at defensive end.

For the fans who stayed the entire four quarters, they got a preview of the future of Auburn football as Tuberville's staff cleared the bench and gave virtually everyone a chance to show what they could do.

The Tigers scored on their first possession on Carnell Williams' second run of the day, a 72-yard burst at right tackle. He broke one tackle near the line of scrimmage and was untouched on his way to the end zone.

The Tigers got the ball back one play later when Dontarrious Thomas intercepted a pass that deflected off the intended receiver. That put Auburn in business at the Monroe 32. Campbell then threw the ball into the end zone and Jeris McIntyre, despite being tightly covered on the slightly underthrow pass, shielded the DB and made the TD grab. That put Auburn up 14-0 with 10:37 left in the first quarter.

Auburn's third possession meant a third TD with the Tigers racing 80 yards on five plays. A 46-yard pass to McIntyre started the drive and a one-yard run by the Cadillac ended it after Ben Obomanu caught a 14-yard pass to the one.

The next score came in the second quarter on a 21-yard field goal by Philip Yost to cap a 10-play, 65-yard drive.

Auburn made it 31-0 nine seconds later when Kevin Hobbs was waiting in the flats for a pass by Floyd Smith. The Auburn cornerback was untouched on his way to the end zone. "The quarterback threw it to the wrong receiver," Hobbs said. "He should have thrown it to the inside guy."

Fetsko got his first college touchdown at the 9:22 mark of the second quarter on the first of his two punt blocks of the day. After a scramble for the football, he fell on it in end zone to put the Tigers ahead 38-0.

The Tigers added one more score before halftime after Donnay Young blocked a punt giving the Tigers just 11 yards to go for a TD. Campbell hit passes of 10 yards to Anthony Mix and one-yard for the score to Cooper Wallace after rolling out toward right end.

The Indians had a minor uprising in the third quarter, marching 87 yards on 10 plays to cut Auburn's lead to 45-7 with 7:56 left in the third quarter.

That scored seemed to re-energize the Tigers, who added three touchdowns in a little more than four minutes on the game clock. The first score came on a 20-yard run at right end by Brandon Jacobs to cap a seven-play, 60-yard TD drive from the second offense.

Thirty-five seconds later, Auburn led 59-7 on a one-yard run by Tre Smith. Mayo Sowell set up the score by stripping the ball from running back Kevin Payne and falling on it at the ULM 12. Josh Sullivan appeared to hit tight end Cole Bennett for a TD on the next play, but a curious spot by the official put the ball inside the one. On the next play Tre Smith scored to make the margin 59-7.

Fetsko blocked another punt and Donnay Young got on the ball at the 13-yard line the next time the Indians got possession. That led to another short TD drive. Jacobs carried the ball seven, three and three yards for the score.

Auburn's only fourth quarter score came with 9:56 left on a 12-yard run up the middle by Smith to cap a drive that covered 65 yards on 10 plays.

The Tigers came into the contest looking to improve their passing game. Tuberville said he wasn't sure that happened even though Campbell completed 11-13 passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns. He also was intercepted once and sacked twice when he had time to throw the ball away. Sullivan completed 5-7 passes for 60 yards and Wesley Hill threw one pass that was incomplete.

Jeris McIntyre caught four passes for 100 yards while Williams was the rushing leader with 113 yards on seven carries. Smith added 68 yards on 14 carries, Jacobs had 10 on 61 and Ronnie Brown carried the ball four times for 15 yards.

The Tigers return to conference play with a home game next Saturday vs. the streaking Ole Miss Rebels, the only SEC team without a conference loss.

"It was a good game for us," Tuberville said. "We could kind of relax. Most of the week has been that way. We cut back on practice and cut back on sprints. We had to get our legs back. We didn't look like we had the fire in us we needed last week so we are going to need it for the games coming up."


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