Receiver Says Tigers Are Hungry For Victory

Sophomore Ben Obomanu talks about practices in Nashville and what it would mean to get a victory over Wisconsin.

Nashville, Tenn.--When the Auburn Tigers face the Wisconsin Badgers on New Year's Eve in the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl much of defensive attention from the Badgers will be focused on the running game and back Carnell Williams. That makes Auburn's passing game even more important and one of the key factors will be sophomore Ben Obomanu.

A terrific athlete who has improved since his arrival on the Auburn campus last year, Obomanu had a solid second season on the Plains with 21 catches for 367 yards and three touchdowns after starting the year with a case of the drops. While many will remember his drop in the Ole Miss game that likely cost Auburn a victory, Obomanu made strides during the season and finished the year strongly with 214 yards and two touchdowns the last three games.

Because of that expect quarterback Jason Campbell to look Obomanu's way a good bit during Wednesday's game. That has been the case during practices in Nashville as Obomanu has made nice catches over the middle and down the field. The Selma native says that the team has responded well after having a week days off for Christmas.

"It's been going pretty well for us," Obomanu says. "We had to get some of the rust out of it and we're getting back into the groove. A lot of guys got a break during Christmas and we're trying to recuperate from that, but it's going pretty well."

Ben Obomanu makes a big play against Ole Miss earlier this season.

One thing that Obomanu and his teammates have been thankful for already this week is the weather in Nashville. Normally cold and blustery this time of year in Tennessee, the temperature has been in the 50s during the day, making for good football weather. Obomanu says he hopes that continues during Auburn's stay in the Music City.

"I'm very surprised," a smiling Obomanu says. "I packed some long johns and some head gear to get ready for the cold. So far it has been very good and hopefully it's like that on Wednesday, too."

Ben Obomanu

Kickoff for Wednesday's game is scheduled for just after 11 a.m. at The Coliseum in Nashville. If history is an indicator, the odds are not in Auburn's favor in the game as the SEC has lost every Music City Bowl game since it was started five years ago. Obomanu says that he feels like the Tigers have prepared well and will make a good showing in the final game of 2003.

"The coaches did a good job of keeping us focused," Obomanu says. "We had some workouts and things to do. We realize how important this game is. An SEC team hasn't won since this bowl's existence. A lot of the players are looking forward to it. We really want to go out and make a statement for the seniors especially.

"Being from Auburn this is our first time playing in this game," Obomanu adds. "If we can be the ones to start a new tradition of the SEC winning then that would be a big step for our team. To end the season that kind of way and represent the SEC would be big."

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