Tigers Sack Bulldogs To Improve To 6-0

Auburn's 52-7 victory over Louisiana Tech featured a quick strike offense plus big plays from the defense and kicking game.

Auburn, Ala.--The "stingy" Auburn defense, led by a strong pass rush from its aggressive young ends, led the way for a happy Homecoming on the Plains as the Tigers cruised past Louisiana Tech 52-7 on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

The Tigers finished the game with nine quarterback sacks with Quentin Groves, Stanley McClover and Chris Browder in on two apiece. Fellow ends Bret Eddins, Marquis Gunn and Doug Langenfeld got sacks, too. The defense has yet to allow a rushing touchdown.

The visitors managed just 3.8 yards per play and 222 for the game even though the Tigers played the second stringers much of the game and even third stringers saw action.

The offense did its job, too, as Ronnie Brown rushed for 109 yards and fellow senior Jason Campbell continued his strong play with two more touchdown passes, including an 87-yard bomb to Silas Daniels, the longest TD pass in Auburn history.

The Auburn offense didn't have a turnover while the defense took the ball away three times, including one for a touchdown as Carlos Rogers went the distance with his first interception of the season. The defense forced two more fumbles that Tech recovered and had an interception by Zac Gilbert negated on what Gene Chizik, the defensive coordinator, termed a mysterious pass interference call.

"We played pretty good on defense, but we still gave them way too many yards," Rogers said. "I think we lost a lot of intensity when their running back got hurt." Ryan Moats, who was second nationally in rushing yards per game, carried the ball just four times for zero net yards before going down with an ankle injury.

Ben Obomanu catches the first of his two touchdowns after wrestling the ball away from Louisiana Tech defensive back Tramon Williams.

Rogers, a senior cornerback who played tailback in high school, was happy to talk about his team's first defensive touchdown of the season, a 53-yard beauty in the second quarter. "I enjoyed that," he said of the interception return for a score. "I am used to running the ball so I got myself a little cutback run on that one."

In their final non-conference game of the season, Auburn improved to 6-0 overall while Louisiana Tech, which upset Fresno State a week earlier, dropped to 3-3.

The victory, combined with Georgia's loss to Tennessee, leaves the Tigers as the only remaining unbeaten team in the SEC as they head into a big divisional showdown in game seven vs. the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Auburn, which was ranked sixth nationally, is expected to move into the Top Five in this week's Top 25 polls. However, Coach Tommy Tuberville said that although that is nice, it is not that important where the Tigers are ranked this week. "If you are up there for one week, they don't give a trophy for that," he said. "We just have to got to keep working and try to get better."

On Senior Day at Jordan-Hare Stadium, a senior made a similar point. "We just have go out and play the game and not worry about that," said strong safety Junior Rosegreen. "What we need to worry about is the next game or the next play."

Louisiana Tech coach Jack Bicknell said he was impressed with what he saw from the home team. "I have to say, in my mind, that Auburn is a very complete team right now. They've got great receivers, a great quarterback, great running backs and a great defense."

Tuberville said that the Tigers showed some new stuff offensively vs. the Bulldogs, but didn't give away their entire playbook. "We have still a lot left in the hopper," he said, noting that Tech was a good tuneup for Arkansas because they play similar styles on defense.

"It was an overall team effort," said Tuberville, who noted the challenge gets tougher with three straight SEC games before an open date. He singled out the kicking game, the pass rush and the aggressive play of the wide receivers for praise. He said he also liked his "stingy" defensive unit that has been hard to score on all year.

On the down side, he said the intensity could have been better in the first half and he told his team that at intermission as a crowd of 77,016 watched on a cloudy day that was dry despite a forecast for rain.

It didn't take the Tigers long to get on the scoreboard. After a three and out for the visitors, Auburn took over at its own 45. Six plays later Carnell Williams was untouched on a six-yard touchdown run behind fullback Jake Slaughter at right end. The big play on the drive was a third and 11 pass to Courtney Taylor for 20 yards.

After another three and out, the Tigers started in great field position following a 50-yard punt return by the Cadillac. Another pass, a 21-yarder to Ben Obomanu over the middle on third and 10, set up a three-yard run by Ronnie Brown at left guard.

After a 37-yard pass moved the Bulldogs into Auburn territory, the visitors went into four-down mode. After converting a fourth and five, the drive stalled when Travis Williams got an interception on another fourth down play. The junior linebacker returned the interception 11 yards.

Auburn moved from its own 31 across midfield, but came up inches shy when there was no gain on a fourth down quarterback sneak attempt at the Tech 48 as Campbell tried to run behind center Steven Ross, who filled in for starter Jeremy Ingle, who could have played if needed.

Auburn's first points of the second quarter came on its next possession. John Vaughn nailed a 41-yarder, with plenty of leg to spare, to stretch the lead to 17-0 to end a drive that covered 64 yards in 10 plays. Earlier, on his first PAT of the game, it was Auburn's 200th straight make to set a new SEC record.

The defense got its first touchdown of the season when cornerback Rogers picked off a pass from Matt Kubik, who was under pressure from Travis Williams. Rogers tight-roped the sideline and ran 53 yards for the score. That put Auburn up 24-0 with 3:23 left in the first half. The interception was the first of the season for Rogers.

With Tech's star running back Moats going down with Auburn on top 7-0 in the first quarter, the Bulldogs spent much of the first half passing. Matt Kubik was 9-17 for 92 yards, but never seriously threatened the Tiger end zone although the Bulldogs controlled the ball for 17:06 to 12:54 for the Tigers in the first two quarters. Auburn held a 170-124 lead in total yards. For the game it was 472-222 with Auburn rushing for 198 and passing for 242.

Auburn went three and out and punted for the first time on the opening possession of the third quarter. The next time the Tigers got the ball they moved 99 yards for a score with Brown's 17-yard run getting it off the goal line and a 43-yard run moving to first and goal.

Three plays later from the nine, wide receiver Ben Obomanu was in the right place at the right time on a fade route pass from Campbell that tipped off the hands of cornerback Tamron Williams into Obomanu's hands for a touchdown.

However, on the first play following the kickoff Seneca Chambers ran past safety Will Herring for a 78-yard touchdown pass from Kubik.

Auburn struck back quickly. Three plays later, Silas Daniels ran a stop-and-go route on the sideline. Campbell's pass hit the senior in stride and he took it 87 yards for a TD and a 38-7 lead for the Tigers.

That was it for the first team, but the Tigers weren't done offensively.

Brandon Cox, the redshirt sophomore quarterback, threw a 37-yard TD to Obomanu, who took the ball away from defensive back Williams, the same player he victimized earlier in the quarter.

The defense set up the final TD. Groves pressured Tech backup QB Zac Champion and Browder knocked the ball loose. Josh Thompson recovered at the Tech two-yard line. Two plays later, Cox hit a one-yard TD pass to walk-on wide receiver Maurice Anderson with 9:42 left in the final quarter to end the scoring.

"Quentin Groves, Stanley McClover and those guys are raw mentally, not really knowing what to do all the time," Tuberville said. "But, they are playing hard. It is kind of catching. This defense is all around the ball. They are moving and having a lot of fun."

Travis Williams led the Tigers in tackles with eight stops. Junior Rosegreen had six solo tackles and freshman cornerback Patrick Lee was next with five.

Campbell hit 13-18 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns. "That was another strong game for Jason," offensive coordinator Al Borges said.

Borges said he aslo wanted to get Cox on the field in situations to throw the ball. That happened as the lefty was 3-3 for 73 yards and two TDs.

Carnell Williams was held to 56 yards on 12 carries and Carl Stewart ran it six times for 45 yards.

Daniels had two catches for 89 yards and Obomanu hree for 67 yards.

Auburn returns to action next Saturday for a 2:30 p.m. home game vs. Arkansas.


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