Tigers Have To Cope With Tough Loss

Center Joe Cope talks about the disappointment of Saturday night's loss to Georgia Tech.

Auburn, Ala.–-Just glancing at the stat sheet from Saturday night Auburn's offense appeared to have a good night moving the ball, but in the end it is points on the scoreboard that matter and for the Tigers that was the problem. Penalties and mistakes cost the Tigers points all night, something that new center Joe Cope said was a big reason why Auburn's 15-game winning streak came to an end at the hands of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

"I believe that was the difference," Cope said. "We would march down and get a lot of momentum going and then one thing would happen like jumping offsides, an assignment or a missed read. It just seemed like something like that. Even from the first series when they called Ben (Ben Obomanu) out of bounds. It was just little things that kept happening to us all night and we kept shooting ourselves in the foot."

Cope blocks for Tre Smith during Saturday night's game.

Those mistakes, both on offense and defense, kept the Tigers from getting into the running game early as they quickly fell behind 10-0. For the game Auburn ran the ball just 23 times for 50 yards with 48 yards in losses on negative plays. Normally strong to start the game, the Tigers had just six yards rushing on four carries and went three and out on their first two possessions, something that Cope said is tough for an offensive lineman to take.

"As an offensive lineman you love to get after it," Cope said. "That's one of the things you love, to get out there and run the ball. We weren't able to run the ball on them early. We started to run the ball better late in the game. I wish we would have had more opportunities, but that goes back to shooting ourselves in the foot too many times."

A player that earned respect from his teammates during Saturday night's game was Cox. A first-year starter that has been bothered by first a medical condition to begin his career and then a tired arm this fall, the sophomore was repeatedly battered by the Georgia Tech defense as he attempted 44 passes during the game. Cope said that despite the mistakes Cox grew up a lot in the opener.

"Cox took some shots tonight," Cope said. "He showed so much composure. He took some good licks back there because he kept stepping up in the pocket. He showed everybody something. He's got a little grit about him. He's not real loud and doesn't go around trying to pump people up. He's a leader by example. He never complained about anything tonight. We've got to keep them off of him."

The Tigers now begin preparations for Mississippi State where they will face a team hungry to show they belong in the SEC Western Division race. Cope said that after going through a tough game against the Yellow Jackets he doesn't have any doubt that the offensive line will be ready after a tough week of practice.

"Our scout team did an awesome job this week," Cope said of getting ready for Georgia Tech. "They gave us a great look. We pretty much knew what we thought they were going to do and they showed a lot of the stuff we thought they were going to do. They had a couple of things that we didn't know about. We've got to pick it up on the offensive line. We're so close up there. We're going to recover from this."

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