AU-UGA Personal For Many Tigers

Auburn versus Georgia is personal for several key Tigers.

Auburn, Ala.--It's pretty much a done deal that Auburn, 7-3 overall and 4-2 in the SEC, won't make it to Atlanta to play for the league title, but the Tigers still have a lot to play for.

Despite the early season losses and a mid-season set back to LSU, a BCS bowl bid is still a possibility in this ever-crazy football season.

On an individual level, pride is on the line for several Tigers when Auburn and Georgia kick off at 2:30 p.m. CST from Sanford Stadium.

"This one for me is personal," Auburn quarterback Brandon Cox says. "It was a rough game last year for me. As Coach (Tommy) Tuberville was saying-- they coached bad, we played bad and it was just a bad game all around. It's one we've had circled for a year and we're just ready to get back out there and play them again."

On 16 called pass plays last season, Cox completed four to his team, four to Bulldog defenders, was sacked four times and the other four attempts fell innocently to the turf.

As bad as he was against the Bulldogs in 2006, he was just as good at Georgia in 2005. He tossed for almost 300 yards on 28 attempts, including a 62-yard strike to Devin Aromashodu on 4th and 10 in the waning moments as Auburn pulled out a 31-30 victory.

"I remember getting the ball, looking up and throwing," he says. "I really didn't think too much about it. After watching it on film, the snap was low. I didn't even realize it at the time. I just dropped back, saw the opening and threw it, and kind of watched the play develop. It was definitely a good time."

Even though he's had a good time in Athens before, it's still a revenge game for the quarterback after last year's debacle. For other Tigers like Robert Dunn, it's a chance to play against some old friends.

"Corvey Irvin went to my high school," Dunn notes. "He just came from junior college and he's a defensive end. Marcus Washington came from Richmond County and he plays linebacker. I'm from Augusta and C.J. Byrd is from North Augusta. We were pretty close coming out of high school."

Smith comes into Saturday's contest with 43 catches for 593 yards and five touchdowns.

Two other Auburn receivers, Rod Smith and James Swinton, played at Tucker High School with Georgia cornerback Asher Allen. With so many Georgia natives on the Auburn roster, many Tigers have been scrapping to get enough tickets for their friends and family to come to the game. Members of the travel squad are granted up to four tickets as long as two are used by family, but there are more than the normal number of requests made to the players this week with so many families living near the Athens, Ga., area.

"Being that it's Georgia, everybody is asking for tickets," Smith notes. "I think I've got a few tickets, but I'm still working hard on getting some extra ones. I think I've got a couple from Zach Clayton, and Michael McNeil said he might have a couple for me.

"Hopefully I don't have to give up anything," Smith adds. "They're just being teammates and they're willing to help a teammate out since I'm from Georgia."

Freshman right tackle Lee Ziemba, who is playing in his first Auburn-Georgia game, is from Arkansas and says he's been getting asked by several the upperclassmen for his tickets.

"Everybody is, especially Josh Thompson," he jokes.

Thompson, from Statesboro, Ga., is playing in his final game of the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry.

"I've been asking a couple of boys, but I'll get hooked up with the ones I need," Thompson notes. "I don't need too many, but being from Georgia I could always use a few."

However, Ziemba says Thompson is trying to get more than just a few.

"Give me a break. He wrote a big message up on the board and then he texted me at 11:30 at night. He can't have any. I bring the house to every game."

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