Campbell Plays Like A Champion In The Clutch

When the Tigers needed big plays, senior quarterback Jason Campbell was ready for the challenge as Auburn defeated Bama in Tuscaloosa.

Tuscaloosa, Ala.--Jason Campbell said he is glad the Tigers have an off week to regroup before playing a rematch with the Tennessee Volunteers in the SEC Championship Game.

Basking in the glow of an 13th straight victory on Saturday night at Bryant-Denny Stadium, the smiling senior quarterback put on a strong performance as Auburn defeated its archrival Alabama 21-13 to improve to 11-0.

Campbell was asked if he thought that was good enough to move the Tigers up in the polls next week. "If you are the SEC Champion, and you go undefeated in the league, I think that is quite a statement," he said. "I am not going to say we should move ahead of Southern Cal or Oklahoma, but I do think we are deserving of going to the Orange Bowl if we take care of business against Tennessee.

"Anytime you play a team like Tennessee twice in one season, you have to prepare very hard for the game," Campbell said. "I think this off week couldn't fall at a better time for us because we had to get emotionally high two weeks in a row (Georgia game, Alabama game). That is tough to do to come on the road and play like this. It shows what kind of team we have.

"The first half we were down, but in the second half we rose up. To do that on the road in the Iron Bowl is tough."

Campbell hugs Borges following Auburn's victory on Saturday.

Campbell completed 18-24 passes for 224 yards with a touchdown pass to Courtney Taylor and one interception.

Auburn trailed 6-0 at the end of a frustrating first half that ended when the Tigers drove the length of the field only to miss a chip shot field goal as time expired in the second quarter. Auburn got the ball to start the second half and Campbell said that the offense needed to make an early statement about who was the boss.

"It was very important because at halftime we said that first possession was going to set the tempo for the second half," Campbell said. "We were only down six points so if we scored a touchdown we are back ahead and back in control with the way our defense was playing."

Auburn raced 80 yards on just six plays with the big one a 51-yard sideline route to Devin Aromashodu, who beat cornerback Anthony Madison. That set the Tigers up first and goal at the five and Carnell Williams scored on the next play.

"Devin made a great catch on the long ball and made a great play after the catch by getting more positive yardage," Campbell noted. "Then Carnell did a great job of getting into the end zone."

Even though the offense came away empty on its long drive just before halftime, Campbell said that was a positive sign. "Right then, we got our momentum and it carried over to the second half."

Offensive coordinator Al Borges had a big victory cigar after the game and a big compliment for the senior quarterback. "Jason Campbell is a champion. He showed that again tonight."

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