Backups Stay Busy In Victory Over The Citadel

Comments from players and coaches are featured about Auburn's 33-3 football victory.

Auburn, Ala.--In a day for the reserves to take center stage, Auburn cruised to 4-0 for the season with a 33-3 football victory over The Citadel on Saturday in which the backups played more than the starters.

Overall, it was an uneven performance by the offense despite running up 593 total yards on the Bulldogs. Defensively, the Tigers had a few lapses, but overall the defense played well, allowing just 169 total yards and no touchdowns.

"We took care of business," Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville said following the victory. "I thought we played well other than a couple of fumbles and two or three penalties. That is going to happen on a day like this when you lose your focus a little bit."

The head coach noted that he liked his team's effort. "They played hard and The Citadel came in and played hard and moved it a little bit on us early and made us work at it," Tuberville added. "I thought our offense was clicking other than the fact that we made too many turnovers early in the first half.

"We had the opportunity to play some guys we wanted to play. We played the second team defense 2 1/2 quarters and the second team offense 2 1/2 quarters. That was about what we figured."

Auburn got through the tune-up for next Saturday's SEC test at Tennessee in good shape physically. Backup cornerback Kevin Hobbs got "his bell rung," but that appeared to be the most serious mishap. Tailbacks Ronnie Brown (hamstring) and Tre Smith (shoulder) were available for duty on the sideline, but weren't needed and didn't play. "We are trying to get those guys ready for next week," Tuberville said.

In their absence redshirt freshman Carl Stewart had his coming out party. He was impressive with 91 rushing yards on 10 carries and his first college touchdown. He also caught two passes for 28 yards.

"I was nervous going into the game because I expected I would get to play a good bit," said the former Tennessee Mr. Football. "It was a lot of fun. The best part was scoring a touchdown and looking into the stands and seeing my parents yelling to me. That was great."

Carnell Williams was the leading rusher with 95 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. The true freshmen tailbacks got 11 carries. Brad Lester carried the ball five times for 17 yards and Jerald Watson had six carries for 15.

Defensively, backup middle linebacker Mayo Sowell led the tacklers with seven stops, including four solos. Sowell was coming back from an eye injury that kept him out last week. Another backup, noseguard Josh Thompson, was the second leading tackler with five stops.

"The second team defense played good," Tuberville said. "They probably held them to less yards than the first team did. It was good to see them stop them and keep them out of the end zone after the long kickoff return kind of put their back against the wall. The last time Mississippi State scored twice on them so it was a good learning experience for all of them."

Devin Aromashodu jumps over a couple of Citadel defenders after making a catch in the first quarter.

Tuberville said he was pleased with the overall week including the practices and the game. "We pushed them hard," he said. "This week we will basically game-plan and get everybody fresh and ready to go."

With a crowd of 76,302 watching on a sun-drenched afternoon at Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn racked up 390 yards of total offense in the first half, but managed just 23 points at the break with Williams losing a pair of fumbles and John Vaughn missing a short field goal at the end of a half in which the Tigers didn't punt.

The turnover action started early as the visitors tried a halfback pass on the opening play from scrimmage. Free safety Will Herring was not fooled and was there for his his second interception of the season and fifth of his collegiate career.

The Tigers took over at their 47, but gave the ball back at The Citadel 23 when Williams fumbled on his fourth consecutive carry to open AU's first offensive series.

The visitors then had their best possession of the half with big tailback Nehemiah Broughton finding good holes to help the Bulldogs push into Auburn territory. However, the AU defense held at the 30 when Antarrious Williams made a tackle for a five-yard loss on the big tailback.

The Bulldogs faked a field goal and punted the ball instead, backing the Tigers up to their four-yard line. After a false start by tackle Troy Reddick, the Tigers methodically marched 98 yards for a touchdown. A 22-yard pass from Campbell to Ben Obomanu at the one set up the score, a one-yard up the middle run by Stewart for his first collegiate score.

Chas Crofoot, the new field goal and PAT snapper, made a perfect snap to Sam Rives to put the Tigers on top 7-0 with 3:01 left in the first quarter. Crofoot said after the game everything went smoothly in his college debut. "I have done it a thousand times before in practice and I just did the same thing," he said.

After a quick three and out for the visitors, the Tigers made the score 9-0 when Eric Brock blocked a punt into the end zone. Lester and Andrew Letts both had shots at recovering the loose ball for a score, but it squirted out of the back of the end zone for a safety and a 9-0 AU edge.

After the free kick from the 20, the Tigers took over at their own 39 after a 25-yard return by Lester who was promoted to first team kickoff return along with Watson. "Man, I really wanted to break one for a big play on the kickoffs," Lester said.

The Tigers moved the ball again, but another fumble by the Cadillac, this one on a sweep of left end, gave the Bulldogs the football at their own 12.

The Citadel could not move the football and Auburn took over at its own 47. Seven plays later the Tigers were back in the end zone when the Cadillac scored from a yard out through a hole that was big enough to drive a stretch limo through. A 23-yard run by Courtney Taylor on a reverse was the big play on the series.

Campbell and the first offense got one more chance to put some points on the scoreboard before calling it a day. They drove 89 yards in nine plays. The drive had big plays from Stewart, who ran 24 yards with a short pass, and Devin Aromashodu, who pushed the ball 42 yards down field with his catch and run.

The TD came on third and goal from inside the one when Campbell scored on a sneak, his first touchdown of the season. The score, with 3:48 left in the half, put the Tigers on top 23-0.

Brandon Cox call the call at QB and moved the Tigers into field goal range. The Tigers might have had a touchdown, but backup lineman Rich Trucks got a late hit penalty when Auburn moved to first and goal on the one with 12 seconds left. The Tigers had to settle for a 32-yard field goal try that sailed wide.

Cox and the second team offense couldn't get the ball in the end zone in the third quarter, but did manage a 33-yard field goal by Vaughn on the first possession of the second half. That was set up by a 43-yard run by Stewart.

Walk-on wide receiver Jamoga Ramsey, who led all receivers with four catches for 61 yards, got the only TD of the fourth quarter on a nine-yard pass from Cox with 6:01 left. That capped a drive that covered 63 yards in eight plays.

"Jamoga has a knack for getting open," said Cox, who played much of the game with sore ribs after getting a shot in the chest. "My pass wasn't that great."

Ramsey, a walk-on redshirt sophomore from Del Ray Beach, Fla., said, "It felt great to go out there and show the coaches what I could do." Ramsey, who got both feet down before going out of bounds, said, "I wasn't sure exactly where I was, but I knew I was close to being out of bounds. I just concentrated on the ball and made the catch."

Cox finished the day with 165 passing yards, hitting 11-17 passes. He was sacked three times and three a potential interception that was dropped by the Bulldogs.

Starting QB Jason Campbell, who was nursing a sore toe, was pulled in the second quarter. He hit hit 11-14 passes for 194 yards and had a would-be TD pass dropped by fullback Jake Slaughter before scoring on a sneak.

Auburn racked up 22 first half first downs and 33 for the game while limiting the now 0-2 Bulldogs of the Southern Conference to eight first downs.

The Tigers return to action next Saturday with a 6:45 p.m. CDT game at Tennessee.

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