Tiger Linebacker Knows Iron Bowl Is Big

Auburn, Ala.--After making two of the biggest plays in Auburn's 31-30 victory over the Georgia Bulldogs, Karibi Dede says he is excited about the opportunity to play another rivalry game this Saturday vs. Alabama.

"It is a game you look forward to all summer long, all year long," he says. "As soon as the game is over you have all the way until next year to think about it. That is why for the victor of this game the spoils are great and to the loser it is tough. You have to go an entire year and live with the loss. It is such a big-time rivalry. I am so glad it is home this year."

Kickoff for this year's Iron Bowl football game between the eighth-ranked Tide and the 11th-ranked Tigers is set for 2:30 p.m. at Jordan-Hare Stadium. For the first time since 1995, both teams enter this game nationally ranked. Last year, No. 3 Auburn took its third straight victory over the Tide, winning in Tuscaloosa.

Playing against a Georgia team ranked in the Top 10 last Saturday, Dede had a strong all-around game in addition to recovering a fumble punt that set up a 30-yard touchdown run by Ben Obomanu and recovering a fumble the linebacker ran 15 yards for a touchdown.

On the fumbled punt, Dede says he was initially blocked on the play, but notes, "I kept my feet moving." The ball was stripped from Georgia's Thomas Flowers by Steve Gandy. "I got off the block and I saw the ball squirt out," Dede says. "I was fortunate to get on it."

On his touchdown play, Dede notes that the defense had just been discussing the need to make a big play after Auburn lost the fumble on a Kenny Irons fumble. That was the theme of the discussion as the officials reviewed whether or not the ball should go to Auburn or Georgia after the fumble by the AU running back.

"We knew the only way for us to control the game and stay in it was to make a big-time play on defense," the junior says. "Marquis Gunn made a big-time play. Marquis caused the fumble and when I picked it up Will Herring and J. (Jonathan) Wilhite led me into the end zone."

Dede says the second he saw the ball on the ground, he knew what he wanted to do. "I had a good little distance to run to it, five to seven yards, but I was coming with the intention to pick it up and run it.

Karibi Dede

Auburn goes into this week's game 8-2 overall with a 6-1 SEC record. LSU is 5-1 in the conference with games left at Ole Miss and at home vs. Arkansas. Since LSU beat Auburn in overtime at Baton Rouge, Auburn must beat Alabama on Saturday and LSU must lose one of its last two games for Auburn to get to the SEC Championship Game.

"If we don't win this one, nothing else matters," Dede says of this week's game vs. Alabama. "Whether LSU loses or doesn't lose, we have got to win. That is in our hands."

Dede says he believes there is a chance that LSU could drop one of those final two games. "As far as LSU losing, this is a tough conference to run the table," he says. "You know they lost to Tennessee, but so far they are unbeaten in the West."

Dede has been a versatile performer for his position coach, Joe Whitt. He has started at all three linebacker spots this season.

"It doesn't matter to me which side I play on," he says. "Coach Whitt does a good job and he has prepared me to play strongside or weakside. I feel confident either way. AT (Antarrious Williams) was out for a couple of games and I played weakside. At Georgia, Kevin (Sears) wasn't with us. Kevin and I usually rotate at the strongside. Even if I have to play the middle, I just try to help the team."


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