Happy Homecoming As Tigers Clear The Bench

The Tigers were never seriously tested as the reserves played most of the day in a 52-14 football victory.

Auburn, Ala.--Tommy Tuberville got a chance to play just about every healthy Tiger other than the Homecoming queen on Saturday as Auburn cruised to a 52-14 football victory over Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Auburn coach might have let her play a series if she had asked.

The Tigers got to work on their passing game, giving the second and third stringers lots of game time. The first stringers got plenty of rest. Some of the walking wounded did not even play as the Tigers improved to 7-3 heading into a showdown with their oldest rival, the Georgia Bulldogs, next Saturday.

"I was very pleased with the way our offense came out," Campbell said. "Really, in the first half guys, stayed focused and took this game seriously. That is a positive sign to see that. We have got something going now and we want to continue it."

Campbell threw the ball just 10 times. Eight were completed and one was dropped by Devin Aromashodu. Campbell's final total was 184 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Cobb threw the ball nine times, completed seven and had two touchdowns and one interception for 109 yards.

"We played well the first half," Tuberville said. "Everybody looked good, looked sharp on both sides, offense and defense, and kicking game. The third and fourth quarter got a little sloppy playing the second teams. Usually, that happens. Guys played hard and we made a lot of plays."

Campbell got the scoring started with a perfectly thrown 33-yard pass to Jeris McIntyre, who had a half-step on the defender in the end zone for his first college TD pass. It took the Tigers just 2:20 of possession time on their first score. The next three took even less with drives of 2:04, 1:51 and Campbell's final possession was a three-play, 51-yarder that took just 1:12.

Fresham wide receiver Ben Obomanu scores a touchdown.

Auburn made it 14-0 on a 21-yard scoring strike to wide receiver Ben Obomanu, who was uncovered on the play after Campbell calmly stepped up in the pocket to avoid the pass rush.

The lead jumped to 21-0 as tailback Ronnie Brown powered in from two yards out to cap a six-play 64-yard drive with 44 seconds left in the first quarter.

The Tigers made the score 28-0 as Tre Smith found the end zone from 10 yards out with 13:11 left in the second quarter on Campbell's last series as quarterback.

Cobb's first possession was a strange one. Smith lost the ball on a fumble, but he got it back after Robert Johnson swatted the ball out of the hands of A.J. Bocard, who was running with the fumbled football. Auburn did lose the ball later on the series when Cobb's pass into the end zone was intercepted when receiver Aromashodu fell down with the ball approaching him.

The Tigers made the score 35-0 at the break when they drove 54 yards on 10 plays with Cobb making a very impressive throw on a rollout as he escaped defensive pressure. He found Robert Johnson for the five-yard TD play with 1:07 left in the half.

At halftime, the Tigers had converted all seven of their third down attempts while limiting the now 2-8 Indians to no first downs on eight third down plays.

Offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino liked the third down statistic, a point of emphasis in practice this week. He also said he wanted the first team offense back on the field for the opening possession of the third quarter, but noted that Tuberville vetoed that idea. Auburn managed to score anyway as the visitors botched an onside kick, touching it too early and Auburn got the football at the Louisiana-Monroe 43. Four plays later, Smith caught a five-yard TD pass to make the score 42-0.

With most of the crowd of 84,618 already gone on a day when it rained in the second half although no rain was forecast, the Indians scored the next two touchdowns. The first came on an 82-yard march that covered 14 plays. Krish Williams jumped over the top of the Auburn defense, which included a mixture of second and third stringers, for the score with 7:31 left in the third quarter.

The Indians cut the margin to 42-14 after making a big defensive stand. On fourth and inches, Auburn elected to go for it and Smith was stuffed trying to run behind the second team line. The visitors scored eight plays later on a fluke of a fourth-down pass from the three-yard line that was deflected into the air into the arms of Ben Wright.

Defensive end Bret Eddins tackles running back Bryant Jacobs.

The only scoring in the fourth quarter was a five-yard run by senior Michael Owens to cap a 12-play, 50-yard drive and a 24-yard Damon Duval field goal with 2:47 left. The distance was almost the same as the one he missed at the end of the Florida game and Tuberville said that he decided to kick the field goal in that situation to re-build confidence in the senior.

"It was good to see Michael come out and have a good game in front of the home crowd," said Tuberville, who gave the 15 seniors plenty of action on a day in which they were honored in pre-game ceremonies. "He has worked hard since he has been here and all the seniors have. This is a good senior group. They have all made some progress. They have had some good times and suffered through some tough times."

Tuberville added that he wanted to give Philip Yost a chance to kick, too, but the sophomore's hip is bothering him and he is not ready for game action.

Auburn returns to SEC action this coming Saturday as the Georgia Bulldogs and the Tigers renew the SEC's oldest rivalry.

Front Row Seats: Starters Reggie Torbor, Lorenzo Diamond, Jay Ratliff, Ben Nowland and Karlos Dansby took the afternoon off to heal injuries. All are expected back for the Georgia game. Danny Lindsey got the start at center and Troy Reddick filled in at Lindsey's guard spot. Bret Eddins and Mayo Sowell were the starting defensive ends and Derrick Graves replaced Dansby at linebacker.

Homecoming Hero: One of the favorites of the players, hard-working junior Dexter Murphy, came through with two sacks.

Play of the Game: Roshard Gilyard's lick on the final kickoff return of the afternoon was a 10.1 on a 1-10 scale and the biggest hit of the season.

Player of the Game: Sophomore Jason Campbell played beautiful football as his confidence and poise continues to grow.


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