Irons, Defense Much Happier With Game Two Effort

Cornerback David Irons comments on Auburn's shutout victory over the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

Auburn, Ala.--A week ago David Irons was trying to blame himself for Auburn's opening night loss to Mississippi State. What a difference seven days can make.

Irons and his Auburn University football teammates were smiling as they enjoyed a shutout victory in the SEC opener, a 28-0 decision at Jordan-Hare Stadium. It was a 11th straight conference victory for the Tigers.

"It feels good," said Irons. "You don't ever get a shutout in the SEC, to my knowledge, because everybody in the SEC has 11 guys on the field who are going to be great or good players."

David Irons had a solid day for the Tigers.

Irons called the victory, in which Mississippi State managed just six rushing first downs and four by passing first downs, a "confidence-builder."

"Now our defense will have confidence going against somebody else and we will be ready to shut them down, too," he added.

Defensive coordinator David Gibbs said he was pleased with what he saw from the secondary that helped limit MSU to 126 passing yards. Irons was part of a group that allowed the Bulldogs to complete just 12 of 21 passes with one interception.

Irons agreed with Gibbs. "I think our secondary, including me, stepped our game up a great deal this week."

Irons said a strong pass rush, which featured five sacks and consistent pressure on MSU quarterback Omarr Conner, was a big plus for the Tigers.

"The rush made it a lot easier for us," the cornerback noted. "Last week we didn't really get a good pass rush. We were sitting on their routes and that helped the defensive ends and defensive tackles to get pressure on the quarterback. I think we stepped our game up this week."

Irons predicts that what Auburn fans saw on Saturday is a preview of coming attractions. "I think this defense is going to get better and better as we get more confidence."

Something else the defense did better than on opening night was score points, the first time that has happened since Carlos Rogers took an interception for a touchdown vs. Louisiana Tech last year. Safety Will Herring recovered a loose football in the end zone that was stripped by linebacker Travis Williams. That third quarter play extended AU's lead to 21-0 and put the visitors in a major hole.

Senior linebacker Antarrious Williams said that is a key to success. "We want turnovers in a game, as many as we can get," he noted. "Three in today's game was good because it helped us get the shutout."

The shutout was the first for the Tigers since a 31-0 blanking of Louisiana-Monroe to open the 2004 season.


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