Coleman Calls His Shot

Auburn, Ala.--All week long, Auburn defensive end Antonio Coleman told everyone who would listen that he was going to sack the quarterback on the first defensive play of the game Saturday when Auburn opened its season against Louisiana-Monroe.

Most people, including his teammates, just laughed.

But Friday night, he dreamed about it. It was the first defensive play of the game. Louisiana-Monroe quarterback Kinsmon Lancaster was looking to throw when BAM! Coleman smacked him, forcing the fumble.

Coleman woke up Saturday morning thinking about it.

"It was on my mind all morning," he said.

Saturday night, his dream came true.

Auburn's offense began the game with a lackluster series. Disappointment hung heavy in the air inside Jordan-Hare Stadium as the Auburn defense took the field.

On Auburn's first defensive play of the game, Lancaster was preparing to throw when Coleman slammed into him, forcing a fumble. Defensive end Michael Goggans scooped the ball up and dashed nine yards into the end zone for the score.

"It was a dream come true," Coleman said. "It happened exactly like my dream."

Coleman didn't even realize Goggans had scooped up the fumbled ball and scored.

"I was too busy celebrating," he said. "I hit him so hard."

The forced fumble was the second of Coleman's career.

It was also his second time to make a big play in a season-opener.

Last season, with 1:11 remaining in the fourth quarter of Auburn's season-opener against Kansas State, Coleman recovered a fumble and returned it 34 yards to seal Auburn's 23-13 come-from-behind win.

"I told Mike Goggans it was like deja vu from last year," Coleman said.

Coleman's forced fumble-turned-touchdown against Louisiana-Monroe electrified the Auburn sidelines and gave the defense a huge boost of confidence, he said.

"It felt great," he noted. "We wanted to do something to get the season started off right. It was a long time coming. I've had nicks and bruises and been through so much. I'm tired of playing against the (Auburn) offense (in practice). I was ready for this."

Coleman was one of Auburn's defensive leaders Saturday night, posting five total tackles and the sack. Four of his tackles were unassisted. Two tackles were for a loss of yards.

Auburn defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads said Coleman was fired up the entire game. "Every time I looked at him on the sidelines, he was into it," Coleman said.

Coleman' s forced fumble came at just the right time Saturday. Auburn's new offense had just started off the game with a mediocre performance and a penalty. Coleman said the defense was determined to do some

thing to get the game, and the season, started off right. Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville said he expected nothing less than Auburn's defense turning the momentum around with Coleman's big play. "That's the way it should be," he said. "That's Auburn football."


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