Auburn Stays On Track For Ultimate Goal

Karibi Dede had one of the biggest plays of the game on a sack of JaMarcus Russell on the final drive of the game.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn came into Saturday ranked third and fourth in the two major polls. Following a heart-stopping 7-3 victory over No. 6 LSU combined with a Notre Dame 47-21 loss at the hands of Michigan, the Tigers will in all likelihood move up in the polls on Monday.

However, with 10 more wins necessary to make it to the national championship game, Auburn linebacker Karibi Dede says it's way too early to be looking ahead.

"We've got some power houses still right here in the SEC," he says. "We've got Georgia, Alabama and Florida so we're not looking down the road. At the end of year I just want us and somebody else to be one and two and let us see it out."

The early season expectations hurt Auburn in both 2003 and 2004. The over-hype leading into an eventual 8-5 season in 2003 almost cost Tommy Tuberville his job. In 2004 the lack of hype made it extremely difficult to make it to the championship game with two other undefeated teams. However, this season the early season high rankings could be good for the Tigers if they continue to win.

Dede's experience was immeasurable in Auburn's 7-3 win.

"It is a little different. We control our own destiny at this point," Dede says. "In '04 we started preseason ranked 17th, worked our way as far as we could, beat a lot of top 10 teams but we didn't get to the championship game. Since Notre Dame lost we'll move up a little bit closer to the top."

Scoring only seven points at home and stopping LSU six yards away from the game-winning score, Dede says there is a lot of work to be done if Auburn wants to seriously be in the hunt for the title by season's end.

"We've got to get better," he says. "There are going to be teams on the schedule that might pull it off. With JaMarcus' (Russell) arm, anywhere 45 and in he can put one on a line. In a sense we came up lucky, but we also made some plays. We played a little too relaxed on the outside and allowed them to make some big-chunk plays (on the final drive)."

LSU wasn't ranked No. 6 in the country for no reason. It only scored three points for the game but there are many weapons on the Tigers' offense.

"I really tip my hat to those guys," Dede says. "Just to see the way they fought. After that very last play I went over to that wide receiver (Craig Davis). He was down on the play and I didn't know if it was an emotional deal or whether he was hurt, but I wanted to make sure he was all right. I've never seen receivers come in and take such big hits time after time, keep hanging onto the ball, keep getting back up and keep going. We've really got to give a lot of credit to LSU. They played hard. Their defense did a tremendous job of stopping our defense."

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