Tigers Play Like Warriors

Auburn's defense stuffed the LSU Tigers Saturday on the way to a runaway victory over the ninth-ranked team in the country.

Auburn, Ala.--Before the start of Saturday's game between Auburn and the LSU Tigers, most of the talk centered around a Bengal Tiger defense that was leading the country in yards allowed at just over 217 per game. By the time the day was finished, it was Auburn's defense that had stolen the show.

Allowing just 242 yards of total offense and seven meaningless fourth quarter points, Coach Gene Chizik's unit came to play Saturday and the result was a runaway 31-7 win.

"We had to start out well today," Coach Tommy Tuberville said following the victory. "We played a good football team today. LSU does a lot of things that give us problems. We've worked on them and we've improved on all our schemes. Our guys did a great job of game planning.

"We went to some seven and eight man fronts. We played four linebackers at times. We were going to force them to throw the football. We felt obviously that we had to take 31 (Domanick Davis) out of the game. We did a pretty good job. We held him to 42 yards and I would have never believed that. We were going to put the ball in their quarterback's hands and make him run it if at all possible and the game plan worked pretty good."

Most of that game plan centered on the many talents of junior linebacker Karlos Dansby and he delivered the performance of a lifetime or at least since the Vanderbilt game. With two interceptions and numerous tackles, he completely disrupted the LSU offense along with the help of a defensive front that was more aggressive at the point of attack. Using late movement and slants to disrupt inexperienced starting quarterback Marcus Randall, who finished the game 9-of-20 for just 79 yards and four interceptions, Chizik said the guys up front really made the difference in this game.

"We jumped in and out of some different things and I thought the different looks helped us," Chizik said. "We moved around a little bit more than we have in the past. We started doing it a lot in the second half last week. The kids just came to play. They were very focused. We knew that we had to win this football game. We knew there weren't a whole bunch of people that thought we could win it, but us. They played like that. We talked about playing like warriors for 60 minutes and not playing a half. They did that today.

"Karlos Dansby had a huge day. The linebackers played well as a group from what I saw. He (Dansby) just has a way of being around the football. Even that second interception he didn't have anybody man-to-man, that was a dime blitz we had. He was playing over the center and just kind of spying. He's the kind of guy that just ends up in the right place at the right time and caught that ball and made a huge play out of it."

Karlos Dansby tackles quarterback Marcus Randall during Auburn's 31-7 win Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

After allowing the Arkansas Razorbacks to run roughshod over them at Jordan-Hare Stadium two weeks ago, the Auburn defense made it a point to stop the run against LSU Saturday. Allowing just 163 yards on the ground and just 42 to Davis on 14 carries, linebacker Dontarrious Thomas, who had his second straight big game, said that this defense stepped up to the challenge this week.

"This week we really focused on stopping the run," Thomas said. "We put in a new personnel called "Big" where we put an extra linebacker in. We knew they were going to try to come in and run the ball as much as possible. They had a good running back and they still have a good running game. We just had to get ourselves mentally prepared to fill our gaps and stop the cutbacks. The coaches really took the time to get us properly prepared. We watched a lot of film and it was a big confidence builder. This game got us back in the playing field in the SEC and that's what we're trying to do as a defense. We want to show that we are a good defense and that we can stop the run."

Stopping the run is about an attitude and for Auburn that was developed last week in a tough loss at Florida. When tailback Carnell Williams went down with a season-ending injury, the defense and the entire team picked up their level of play to compensate for the Tigers learned a lot about themselves last week and it carried over in a big way Saturday.

"The second half in that Florida game we really came together and started molding as a team," Dansby said. "That's how I feel about that game. We had our backs to the wall and we just came out fighting. Coach (Joe) Whitt challenged us to be physical today. He said, ‘If you want it you'll go take it and the only way to take it is to be physical.' We just came out and played physical today"


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