Busy Day for Subs in 35-3 Homecoming Victory

A report on Auburn's 35-3 victory over Tennessee Tech is featured.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn's no-stress Homecoming was basically anxiety-free for Tommy Tuberville's Tigers as Auburn coasted to a 35-3 victory over Tennessee Tech on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

On a day in which 70 players (including four QBs) saw action and the majority of snaps were handled by the backups, in addition to being a lack of anxiety there was a lack of excitement for the sun-drenched crowd of 85,754 to cheer about as Auburn improved to 7-3.

"We had a chance to look at a lot of young guys," said Tuberville, who held out less-than-full speed starters such as tailback Brad Lester, offensive lineman Ryan Pugh, linebacker Craig Stevens and safety Zach Etheridge to get them ready for an SEC showdown next Saturday at Georgia.

"We didn't do a whole lot," Tuberville said. "It was a good mental week for us where they could relax a little bit with the starters. We practiced the backups quite a bit. We were physically and mentally drained. It was a good effort on both sides. We gave up some yards on defense and gave up a lot of short passes. We didn't do anything special. We played mostly base defense most of the time. That is what these games are about.

"Tennessee Tech came in, obviously, overmanned," Tuberville said. "They came in and played hard. They had a good game plan and they did some things that gave us some problems on defense. We were able to keep them out of the end zone. We didn't get the shutout of zero, but at least they only had three points."

Tennessee Tech coach Watson Brown said he was proud of his players and thanked Tuberville for calling off the Tigers early.

"I thought they had poise and they looked like they were proud to be who they are," Brown said of his Golden Eagles, who fell to 4-6 for the season. "I appreciate that. They really played hard, but they have done that all year.

"I appreciate Tommy Tuberville," Brown said. "He did a good job with us. He handled it well for us and got what he needed out of it. That showed a lot of class to me. Tommy got a lot of his guys some work, too.

"It was a neat day for our kids," Brown said of his Division I-AA (Football Championship Series) players. "Most of these kids have never done anything like this. They were taking pictures in the stadium on Friday."

Auburn fullback Carl Stewart said it was also a good day for the Tigers. "It is always special to win on Senior Day and I thought we did a good job of taking care of business early and letting the young guys play a lot today," he said.

The Tigers scored on their first three possessions with Cox and the first offense on the field, but the backups couldn't dent the scoreboard leaving the score 21-3 at intermission.

The first score was a two-yard run behind the block of King Dunlap at left tackle as Ben Tate put the Tigers up 7-0. That capped a drive that covered 64 yards in eight plays.

The Golden Eagles almost matched that on the kickoff return as speedy Henry Sailes took a short kickoff by Morgan Hull at the 17 and raced down the left sideline in front of the AU bench. Mario Fannin's tackle saved the TD.

Starting at the Auburn 16, Tennessee Tech couldn't manage a first down and settled for a 28-yard field goal by Justin Kraemer.

The Tigers started their second possession at their own 37 and scored in just three plays. Tate ran for six yards up the middle before Carl Stewart caught a pass on the run heading toward the sidelines and wasn't caught until he gained 55 yards to the two.

Stewart races towards the end zone to set up a touchdown for the Tigers.

On the next play, lining up at tailback, Stewart scored the touchdown at center to put the Tigers up 14-3 with 8:49 left in the first quarter after Wes Byrum's PAT.

Tech managed a first down on the next possession before punting the ball to Robert Dunn, whose 23-yard return gave the Tigers possession at their own 34.

Fourteen plays later the lead jumped to 21-3 as Cox, with lots of time to throw, found Dunn open on a crossing route for a 16-yard touchdown with 13:59 left in the second quarter. "I wasn't the primary receiver on that play, but I got open coming across the middle," he said.

QB Kodi Burns and the second team offense got the call for the next series, but the Tigers only managed one first down before punting for the first time.

It was a rough day for the freshman quarterback, who was 0-4 passing and rushed for 11 yards on three carries. Tuberville said Burns looked nervous, something that hadn't been the case in previous games.

The backups on offense as a group failed to distinguish themselves the rest of the first half. Late in the second quarter, junior Blake Field made his first appearance at QB this season with a chance to run the hurry-up offense after an interception by Jerraud Powers gave the Tigers the football at the Tennessee Tech 43 with 2:01 on the clock.

The Tigers moved to Tech 34 where they faced third and one where Tate was stuffed for a yard loss. The Tigers decided to go for the first down, but guard Leon Hart was called for illegal procedure. On fourth and six, Dunn dropped a pass for a first down and Tech didn't give up any points on the first turnover of the game.

Dunn, who scored his first college touchdown in the second quarter, didn't wait long for number two. This one came with 5:32 in the third quarter on a 20-yard bullet pass from Field,who hit 6-11 passes for 92 yards while starter Cox was really sharp hitting 9-11 for 167 yards. Dunn's TD capped a drive that covered 90 yards on 12 plays and put the Tigers on top 28-3.

The final score was produced by the defense and it was a spectacular one as backup cornerback Walter McFadden raced 93 yards with an interception, outracing speedy Tennessee Tech wide receiver Larry Shipp who was hot in pursuit all the way to the end zone. That play, with 10:21 left in the fourth quarter, ended the scoring with the Tigers on top 35-3.

Walter McFadden scored his first college touchdown.

Auburn, which after one quarter was on pace to total nearly 700 yards on offense, struggled to consistently move the football with the backups in the game. For the game the Tigers outgained the Golden Eagles only 374-304 and the AU running game produced just 115 yards on 36 carries.

Auburn's fourth QB to see action, redshirt freshman Neil Caudle, was 0-3 passing and had a pass intercepted in the end zone.

Freshman linebacker Josh Bynes led the Tigers in tackles with five solos and one assist while freshman safety Michael McNeil chipped in with four solos and two assists.

The Tigers return to action next week at 2:30 p.m. CST next Saturday at Georgia.

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