Big Finish For Big Demarco

Demarco McNeil was a major factor in a strong defensive performance by the Auburn football team in its bowl victory over Wisconsin.

Nashville, Tenn.--Demarco McNeil loves smash mouth football and he got a full helping of that dish in his final college football game.

The senior noseguard and his buddies on the defensive line finished the season in style during Auburn's 28-14 victory over the Wisconsin Badgers. McNeil finished the game with seven tackles and had one of Auburn's six quarterback sacks.

"We played pretty well," McNeil said with a huge smile after the physical performance by his Tigers. "We knew we were going to be able to get to the quarterback some and put a little pressure on him. Our guys were coming off the end pretty well after him and that made the job easier for the inside guys because he had to step up in the pocket."

Demarco McNeil blasts Jim Sorgi in Auburn's victory.

McNeil said the Badgers went into the game with the philosophy of blocking him and the other Tiger defensive linemen and may the best football player and team prevail.

"They had a simple pass protection scheme," McNeil said. "It was basically them trying to block us one on one. Later in the second half they realized they couldn't block us and they started rolling out off of play action to buy the quarterback a little more time, but looking at the film we knew we were going to be able to get a little pressure."

McNeil, whose next game will be in the Senior Bowl All-Star Game in his hometown of Mobile, said his final college game turned out rather nicely. "This was special for me," McNeil said. "Every senior wanted to go out on top and it is especially satisfying to have had such a vital part in the game."

The defensive lineman noted that the two teams were establishing their turf early in the game and there were several scuffles. "That is the normal type of thing that happens in a bowl," he said with a grin. "After a few series it calmed down and things were all right."

McNeil said it was particularly satisfying to him that two fourth quarter turnovers the defense forced led to touchdowns. "That is the name of winning any game," he said. "When you force turnovers, good things are going to happen. We got 14 points out of those turnovers and we are thankful for that."

Tiger Ticket Extra: Another senior defensive lineman, Spencer Johnson had a big day with six tackles and a sack despite missing much of the fourth quarter with a hamstring problem. Johnson says that he hopes to be well enough to play in an all-star game in Orlando, Fla., in January. "This is what the seniors wanted for our final game," he said. "I am very proud of the guys for doing such a good job." Another senior, wide receiver Jeris McIntyre, said, "Thankfully, the seniors will have a good memory of our last game," he said. "It feels great to go out as winners."


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