AU vs. KSU Defensive Notes

Defensive notes for Auburn's 23-13 victory over Kansas State.

Kansas State sophomore quarterback Josh Freeman completed 32 of 57 passes for 268 yards. It was the most attempts by an opposing quarterback since Luke McCown of Louisiana Tech was 47-65 in a 38-28 loss to Auburn in 2000. The most attempts from an opposing quarterback last season was 39 by Lester Ricard of Tulane.

Aairon Savage injured his ankle in the first half and left the field after the game wearing a walking boot. Eric Brock, a two-year starter, filled in for Savage. Also at safety, redshirt freshman Zac Etheridge made his first career start and led the Tigers with eight tackles.

Auburn didn't have much come-from-behind excitement last season. The Tigers were 11-0 when leading after three quarters and 0-2 with trailing after three.

The Auburn seniors are now 34-5, in large part because of the ability of the coaching staff to find ways to win ball games. The Tigers were outgained 316-291 by the Wildcats, a statistic that doesn't matter much in recent years for the Tigers. Auburn was outgained in wins last season 230-178 by Nebraska, 364-261 by Alabama, 311-182 by LSU and 345-307 by South Carolina.

The season opener was a good night for Mobile, Ala., Tigers. Sen'Derrick Marks (Vigor High School), who played his first game at defensive end, had a good game in holding the Wildcats to just 27 yards rushing. Gabe McKenzie (Davidson) and Antonio Coleman (Williamson) had the only touchdowns for the Tigers.

Quentin Groves' birthday present to Coleman was a live football laying on the 34-yard line. Coleman didn't have any candles to blow out, but after Groves caused a fumble on Freeman Coleman had an easy score. Groves said after the game that he was going to block for him but there wasn't anybody around. After that he said he just stayed out of the way so it wouldn't ruin any pictures.

Will Muschamp was a happy camper after the game and despite the scare from KSU, it was a good ball game for the football team. "I think it's great and your kids get to point to it all summer. Our kids knew that Kansas State was a good football team. They knew we had our work cut out for us coming into the game. It was a great test for our guys to get to play for 60 minutes and to understand what it's going to take to push through that. It's just a great effort from our kids."

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