A Lot To Like With Football Tigers

Oxford, Miss.--Tommy Tuberville said he had a feeling that his Tigers would be in for a battle on Saturday night.

That is exactly what happened before his football team prevailed for a 35-14 victory over the Ole Miss Rebels. That improved Auburn to 9-0 overall and 6-0 in the SEC, clinching the divisional title before Halloween.

"We were fired up, but you can only get so much out of these guys," the Auburn head coach said after his team played its ninth straight week without a break. "We desperately need this open date."

Tuberville said it was good to see his team figure out a way to win on the road in the SEC on a night when the Tigers weren't as sharp offensively or defensively as they had been in previous contests. "By any means, we didn't play as good as we have been playing, but it says something when you can win on the road in this conference and not play at full strength."

At intermission, the Tigers led just 7-0 and hadn't looked particularly sharp in doing it against the Rebels, who were nearly a three-touchdown underdog coming into the contest with a 3-4 record.

"At halftime I was very concerned about our defense," Tuberville said. "We were out there 20 minutes out of 30 and that is not what we wanted to do in this game. They reached down deep in the second half and played better."

Auburn's only first half points came on a 99-yard touchdown drive to score on a one-yard quarterback sneak by Jason Campbell with just 26 seconds left in the second quarter. Tuberville said the drive was huge in the big picture.

"It was obviously something that is going to be talked about by our football team for a while," the coach said. "That is difficult to do, especially when you don't have any points on the board. We just executed. It was a great call from our offensive coaches throwing the corner route to Courtney (wideout Courtney Taylor) on first down. The catch by Cooper Wallace was outstanding and the screen pass to Carnell."

Auburn used that momentum to score on its opening possession of the third quarter, too, as the Tigers raced 76 yards on four plays for a 14-0 lead. However, Ole Miss didn't let up and became the first team since LSU to make it a four quarter game against Auburn.

Quentin Groves and his position coach, Terry Price, celebrate the team's ninth victory and a divisional title.

"We are going to have to play better than what we played in the next two games to have a chance to finish out the regular season the way we want to," Tuberville said. "It was a nice finish to the first nine game season. Now we have a two-game season coming up and then we will have an opportunity to go back to Atlanta."

With six SEC victories already, the Tigers didn't waste any time reaching their first goal of winning the divisional title so they can play for the SEC Championship.

"It hasn't set in with our team or myself that we are not even into November yet and we have already earned a berth to Atlanta," Tuberville said. "That is a feather in these guys' hats. The coaches have done a great job. It has just been fun watching these guys play. They get themselves up to play and play with enthusiasm."

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