The nation's top-ranked junior college team scored two early third quarter touchdowns and added an insurance field goal to break open a game that was tied 14-14 at halftime.
Despite the setback, head coach Tommy Tuberville said he was pleased as he watched the game from the press box. "We got what we wanted out of this game. "On our offensive and defensive lines, the guys who hadn't played, got some game experience."
One of those offensive players, redshirt freshman Rich Trucks, agreed with his head coach. "It was a lot of fun getting out there and playing in a game," Trucks said. "I am disappointed that we lost, but I thought our overall effort was pretty good. We came out and moved the ball well in the first half, but we didn't ever get into a rhythm in the second half."
Another redshirt freshman lineman, scholarship defensive end Bret Eddins, said the game experience was a plus for him, too. "It was fun to go out there and compete. I don't think any of us would be here playing at this level if we didn't like to go out and compete. We hate that we lost like we did. They were a good team."
The stars of the show offensively were a pair of tailbacks. GMC's Derrick Wimbush scored all four of his team's touchdowns, gaining 203 yards on 19 carries. The sophomore showed excellent straight ahead speed for his team that improved its record to 8-0.
The most exciting thing for the 3,206 fans from an AU perspective was the running of scout team player Victor Horn, who rushed for 122 yards on 13 carries. Just three weeks ago he was moved back to tailback, his high school position, after failed tries to play whip, inside linebacker and wide receiver.
"That was a lot of fun out there tonight," Horn said. "That was the first time I have played running back since early in the 1999 season when I was at Hargrave. I want to keep working hard and compete and see what I can do."
Tuberville singled out Horn for postgame praise. "Victor Horn obviously did well," Tuberville said. "I was really impressed with him. "He ran hard and did some good things and actually played some defense, too."
It was that kind of evening for the Tigers, who had players out of position at times to field a 40-man JV squad evenly divided between walk-ons and scholarship players. Redshirts did not play in the game so they would not lose a year of eligibility.
Auburn apparently got through the game without any major injuries. Linebacker Phillip Pate suffered a bruised shoulder, which will be checked on Friday.
Auburn struck early and struck hard. After Silas Daniels scampered 43 yards with the opening kickoff, the Tigers were in business at their own 48-yard line. AU opened in a shotgun as Daniels caught a pass for no gain, but on the next play on a straight handoff up the middle Horn found a seam through the middle of the defense and was untouched on the way to the end zone.
On their second possession, the visitors tied the game with a two-play drive of their own. Talented tailback Derrick Wimbush, a 6-2, 208 sophomore from Butler, Ga., showed his speed on a 56-yard run, breaking a tackle at the 10 from cornerback Horace Willis, who was the star of last year's GMC secondary. That score came with 8:45 left in the first quarter.
After a nice 26-yard Don Timmons kickoff return, the Tigers moved into GMC territory with a 30-yard pass from Allen to Daniels the big play. After a third down sack, the Tigers tried a 56-yard Philip Yost field goal, but the holder, Taylor Mosley, couldn't get the snap down and GMC took over at the Tiger 43.
The visitors visitors took their first lead with a 10-play drive that covered 57 yards. Most of the damage was done on the ground. Wimbush scored from six yards out with 2:24 left in the first quarter.
After both teams failed to move on possessions, Auburn had another quick scoring drive. Horn got the drive started with a 47-yard run, running at left tackle and cutting back across the field for big yardage.
Two plays later Allen threw a perfect deep sideline pass to Daniels, who got his feet in-bounds while making a catch at the four. Horn then got three at right end and really appeared to score, but on the next play Allen got in officially on a QB sneak. That score came with 11:42 in the second quarter.
That ended the scoring for the first half. The Tigers had 75 yards passing on 5-11 from Allen and 73 net rushing with Horn having 108 yards on eight carries.
The Tigers managed just 16 net yards in the second half that was played quickly with a running clock during parts of the third and fourth quarters.
GMC got what would prove to be the winning points on its opening drive of the third quarter. Wimbush found a big hole in the middle of the AU defense and was untouched on a 26-yard run to complete a five-play, 80-yard drive.
A 46-yard punt return set up another TD, this one coming on four and goal at the AU one. That drive took seven plays to cover 12 yards.
The only fourth quarter points came on a 52-yard field goal by Scott Campbell, who missed two easier attempts earlier in the game.
"They got after us in the second half," said Tuberville. "We played everybody we could in the second half."
The Tigers return to practice on Friday and are expected to get a day off on Saturday.
Subscribe to Inside the Auburn Tigers magazine and football newsletter