Offensive Line Steps Up For Tigers

Auburn's ground attack helped the home team take an easy victory over LSU.

Auburn, Ala.--Tommy Tuberville liked a lot of things about his team's 31-7 victory over LSU.

The defense was certainly the star of the show and the special teams play helped make a major difference. However, steady play from the offense against the nation's top-ranked defense was also a key to the victory.

Tuberville had praise for his offensive line, noting that it got better for a second straight week even without starter Taylor Bourgeois available for action due to his shoulder problem. That prompted a change in the lineup with true freshman Troy Reddick going at guard in place of Monreko Crittenden, who moved outside to tight tackle.

"This was a different offensive line than we have started all year," said Tuberville, who watched another change in the lineup when Reddick was shaken up in the second quarter. That sent another true freshman into the game. Marcus McNeill played tight tackle and Crittenden moved inside to tight guard.

"Both groups really played well," Tuberville said. "The blocking was really outstanding. This was an offensive line type of game. We had two guys almost rush for 100 yards against probably the best defensive line that we played."

Ronnie Brown gained 95 yards and scored two touchdowns on 18 carries in his first start of the season in relief of Carnell Williams, who is out for the season with a fractured fibula. True freshman Tre Smith gained 80 yards and scored one touchdown on 11 carries. He just missed a second TD on a spectacular fourth down run for 36 yards on the last possession of the game when he was stopped just shy of the goal line. Auburn then sat on the ball and ran out the clock.

Tre Smith runs the football during Saturday's butt-kicking of LSU.

Auburn's other tailback, Chris Butler, netted just seven yards on seven carries and left the field in the fourth quarter with a groin pull. Tuberville said the preliminary report is that the injury is not serious.

"We knew we had to win this game," Smith said. "We knew this game was our season. We put all three phases of the game together. I am just glad coach game me a chance to play.

"They have got a good defense. I am not saying they are easy to run against, but I just ran hard and there was good blocking for me."

Auburn rushed for 216 yards with Jason Campbell contributing 37 more his QB, including key runs when the game was still in doubt.

AU jumped on the ninth-ranked Bayou Bengals and took a 17-0 halftime lead. However, LSU has been a strong third quarter team so the homestanding Tigers were not overconfident, Smith said. "We knew we couldn't let up in the second half. We figured they would play the best game they have ever played in the second half."

In that third quarter, Robert Johnson caught a short touchdown pass from Campbell and Auburn took a 24-0 edge into the fourth period. With the way the offensive line was playing and the backs were running, combined with good work from the defense, that was more than enough to win the game and put Auburn back in the SEC West race.


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