Dede Has Big Night For Tigers

Linebacker Karibi Dede came up with big plays in Auburn's road win at Arkansas.

Fayetteville, Ark.--Karibi Dede played a career game Saturday night in Auburn's 34-17 victory over Arkansas as the Tigers extended their conference winning streak to 13 games. The junior linebacker picked off a Robert Johnson pass and recovered a fumble to go along with six tackles, 1.5 of which were for a loss.

"I think that just speaks a lot to our coaching staff," Dede says of winning 13 consecutive games in the SEC. "They really prepare us for this league. They let us know week in and week out that there's no team in the league that can't play.

"Every team in the league can play on any given Saturday," he adds. "Any team in the league can fight you for four quarters. While we were getting ready for this game I watched Alabama and Ole Miss play and it took four quarters. It's a grind, but that's what we work for."

Dede adds that Alabama's 13-10 last-second victory over a mediocre Ole Miss team was just another reminder to the Tigers that winning in the SEC never comes easy.

"While I was watching the game I thought back to last year when we played Ole Miss," he says. "They took us all the way down to the wire. They're going to fight you regardless. That was a good game to watch getting ready for this game because it let us know that any team in the league can take you the distance."

Dede and the Tigers started out sluggish against Arkansas and trailed 10-6 at halftime. However, Auburn dominated the second half and beat the Razorbacks for the third consecutive year.

"In the end we got the best of them," he says. "To tell you the truth it was a knockdown, drag-out for 15 rounds. They said they were physical and they were physical. We just had to meet up to the challenge."

The Auburn defense held the Razorbacks to 148 yards rushing (142 below their average), but Dede says he came away impressed with several of the opposing team' skill position players.

"I've got to tip my hat to 22 (running back Peyton Hillis), a great player, and number 5 (tailback Darren McFadden), number 47 (fullback Brandon Kennedy) and the big wide receiver, (Marcus) Monk. The offensive line grinded all day long and they came to work."

The Tigers came out of halftime and claimed a 20-10 lead after their first two possessions. That's when Dede stepped up and made a diving interception to give the Auburn offense a starting field position at the Arkansas 24-yard line.

"In that situation they were backed up," he says. "We played good defense on the previous two downs. It was third and 20 and we just said we wanted to keep them from getting to the sticks. The quarterback looked like he wanted to run and I was tempted to go up but I knew he had a long way to go so I hung back in my zone.

"Both me and Montae broke on the receiver and I thought Montae was going to intercept it," Dede adds. "He tipped it and it came off at a funny angle and I just had to adjust and get my hands under it."

Five plays later quarterback Brandon Cox hit tight end Cooper Wallace in the end zone and the Tigers never looked back, winning 34-17.

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