"It was very special," Campbell said after the Tigers took a 37-34 overtime victory after spotting the visitors 17 first half points. "We went up there last year and they dominated us. This year, we wanted to come back and go out and play hard.
"The first half, it seemed like everything was going opposite for us," said Campbell, who noted that the offense was "shooting kind of shooting ourselves in the foot." The quarterback said that had to change for the Tigers to rally for the victory. "The second half, the coaches and players got together, and everyone tried to step up."
Campbell completed 10-15 passes in a relief role for 117 yards with two touchdown passes and one interception as he came off the bench to replace starter Daniel Cobb. For a second straight week, Cobb got off to a slow start with his first quarter passing. The senior finished the night early as he completed 7-18 passes for 154 yards with one interception after injuring his ankle.
Jason Campbell releases a pass in Auburn's 37-34 victory over Syracuse.
Campbell was the starter last year at Syracuse, but struggled that night as Auburn fell 31-14. "I feel that I have matured a lot," Campbell said. "I have had a chance to watch a lot of things. Being around Coach (Bobby) Petrino you get to learn a lot. You have got to continue to stay focused. You never know when your opportunity is going to come to get on the field. Once you get in a game, you get a rhythm going. You know, you feel just like you get into a flow."
The major negatives for Campbell were a pair of turnovers. In the third quarter, he was intercepted on a fourth down pass, however, the play worked like a good punt so it wasn't a huge turnover. Another miscue later in the third quarter was uglier. With a third and goal at the Syracuse one-yard line and the Tigers trailing 17-10, Campbell mishandled a snap and it was recovered by SU's Cory Brooks just in front of the goal line.
The Auburn defense stepped up and forced the Syracuse to punt after a three and out. Campbell and the offense took over at their own 46 and wasted little time in tying the game at 17-17. Campbell ran for seven yards on first down and Carnell Williams had a 38-yard scamper, his longest of the night. "Carnell is a great player," Campbell said. The guy has a lot of heart. He goes out to compete everyday and works hard in practice and it shows off in the games."
After Williams gained two more yards, a perfectly executed bootleg pass from Campbell to freshman tight end Cooper Wallace tied the game at 17-17 with 12:08 left in the game.
Campbell's touchdown pass to fullback Brandon Johnson, a 34-yarder, gave the Tigers their first lead of the game on the next possession.
In the second overtime, Campbell rushed for seven yards on a draw and followed that with a third and three 12-yard pass to Marcel Willis to give the Tigers a first down at the Syracuse six. On the next play, Williams scored the first touchdown of his two in overtime.
Cobb is expected to retain the starting quarterback job once his ankle is well, but Campbell earned respect and possibly more playing time with his effort. Commenting on that subject, the sophomore quarterback said, "I am just going to continue to work hard anytime my team needs me or something. I am going to continue stay focused and work everyday in practice."