Known for taking over games when he played at Blount High School in Prichard, the soft-handed Green had the game of his career Saturday afternoon in Auburn's 48-41 overtime win over the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs. With eight catches for 121 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner in overtime on a jump ball from quarterback Daniel Cobb, the sophomore appears to be hitting his stride just in time for the Tigers' late season run for the Western Division title.
"I had thought all along that one of these games I would have a breakout game," Green notes. "I just didn't know which one."
Green takes off for his first touchdown of the day.
Coming into the game with the thoughts of running the ball to keep it away from Tech's powerful offense, the Tigers were forced to go to the passing game when it was obvious that the Bulldogs were going to force Auburn to throw. That meant more time on the field for Green and that was perhaps the best news of the season for this offense.
"Coach said we were going to run the inside zone, we were going to run the ball," Green says. "Coach Tubs said the way to beat this team was to run the ball consistently so I didn't have any idea that we were going to throw the ball like we did today, but we made the best of it. Our receivers played good, the line blocked and Dan Cobb had a great game. I hope next week we can do the same thing, open it up like that every game. Once we open it up like that the running game will fall into place."
Green lays out for a catch in the first half.
Having Green involved in the offense is also good news for Noel Mazzone. Struggling at times in the passing game this season, the coordinator says he was excited to see number 86 get into the action.
"I've been waiting on that for a long time," Mazzone says. "D.D. has had a bad ankle, he's had this, he's had little nagging injuries. The kid makes big plays. He's not the fastest guy in the world, he's not the biggest, he just goes out there. He's a playmaker and makes plays for us. I was just happy to see Daniel have a lot of confidence in him and get the ball in his direction."
That confidence was never higher than in overtime. After Tech won the toss and gave the ball to Auburn, it was up to the offense to get a touchdown and put the pressure on the visitors. Facing a second and goal from the five-yard line, Cobb tried to draw the defense offsides with a hard count. If that were to occur, Cobb had a plan for Green, one that would eventually be the game-winner.
"When Dan Cobb said he was going to throw the jump ball, once I lined up I knew all along that if I saw the ball in the air I was going to get it," Green notes. "My confidence level was real high on that pass. I knew I was going to catch that touchdown."
Green leaps high for the game-winning score.
Somewhere deep down inside, Cobb must have known it, too. The way the two clicked on Saturday, there will likely be more of these moments in the future for the Tigers.