The defeat dropped the Tigers to 6-4 for the season and out of the race for Atlanta and the SEC Championship Game. While there wasn't much positive to come out of the game for the Tigers, the play of quarterback Jason Campbell gave a glimpse of what Auburn fans had been hoping to see all season.
Mixing in the run and pass as well as he's done since late last season, Campbell kept the Auburn offense from bogging down completely in the middle of the game and gave the Tigers some life late in the contest. That was perfectly illustrated on Auburn's last drive that ended on the Rebel three-yard line. Driving the ball nearly the length of the field in just two minutes, his play along with the strong running of Ben Obomanu gave Auburn a chance for the win.
"I feel like I got back to my old self," Campbell says. "I got back to being comfortable just taking it and running with it. If I see a hole, instead of sitting in the pocket and waiting for something to come open, I'm just running with it and take advantage of it. You never know what that can do to a defense. It may get them out of doing some things."
Campbell takes off for yardage against Ole Miss on Saturday.
What it did Saturday was open up another avenue of attack for the Auburn offense. Early in the game Campbell pulled down the ball in the pocket and broke a run for 20 yards. Finishing with 42 yards on seven carries with just one sack, his rushing total was only a part of what it did for the offense as a whole.
"I think after I did that they stopped bringing so many blitzes," Campbell says. "They stopped running man coverages and started playing more zone. They were trying to account for the quarterback staying in the pocket. I think it changed up some of the things they were doing."
Campbell's scrambling ability and the chance to make plays running the ball will be important this weekend as the Tigers face the SEC's top defense and one of the best rushing defenses in the country. Led by defensive end David Pollak, the Bulldogs have stifled just about every offense they have faced this season. That alone would be enough for the offense to be ready, but Campbell says the rivalry between the two schools makes this game a fun one to be a part of.
"It's a real good rivalry game," Campbell notes. "Coach Tub (Tommy Tuberville) said that the last three years the game has been decided by about three points. That just shows you what a rivalry game this is and how much it means to Auburn and how much it means to Georgia."
With both Georgia and Alabama remaining in what has been a very disappointing season, the chance is there for the Tigers to make something positive happen and salvage some of what was supposed to be a special year. If Auburn could go into both and come away victorious Campbell says it would put a good finish on a tough season.
"I think having them at the end of the schedule and everything we've been through this season, for us to have an opportunity to play two of our biggest rivalry games and two of the biggest rivalries in college football period gives us an opportunity to go out there and play hard and have something to play for. You wouldn't want to play a team that is not a rival at the end of the season after the way our year has gone. You want to play someone that gets you ready to play.
"It's very important that we finish this year strong," Campbell adds. "We are playing for the seniors, we are playing for a good bowl game, we're playing for pride and we're playing to build on next season also. It's an opportunity for us to go out and play hard and not to quit. Even though we're out of the SEC Championship race we still have some things to play for."