Powers Disappointed In Play Of Defense

Auburn junior cornerback Jerraud Powers talks about Thursday night's loss to West Virginia.

Morgantown, WV--It was more than a tale of two halves for the Auburn defense. It was more like a first quarter and then the aftermath in the final 45 minutes. The first quarter Auburn held West Virginia's potent offense to 47 yards and intercepted two Patrick White passes.

That would be all the good news on this night for the Tigers though as White and the Mountaineers dominated Auburn to the tune of 34 points and 398 yards the rest of the way to get the easy victory. Auburn junior cornerback Jerraud Powers said the game was a difficult one to swallow in a number of ways.

"It was real tough to play great in the first half and to come out in the second half and give up so many points and so many big plays," Powers said. "It's tough and there are a lot of questions to be answered. We just have to answer them."

One of the question marks coming into the game was the health of Powers. Out since the first half of the Vanderbilt game because of a strained hamstring, Powers said despite the cold temperatures Thursday night he knew he was going to have to play for his team. That got even more desperate when top reserve Neiko Thorpe went down with an ankle injury, making Powers essentially a full-time player without a backup.

"I have been rehabbing pretty hard," Powers said. "It felt good the first half. As we went along it got sort of tight on me. I probably for sure knew the day before yesterday.

"It was challenging from a mental standpoint," he added. "At one point I just wanted to get out of there because it was bothering me so bad. The other half of me kept saying that my team needs me and I didn't want to take myself out. It was real hard. It was tough."

A problem area for the Tigers' defense was missed tackles. Time and time again Noel Devine broke through, around and just flat ran by Auburn defenders. Powers said that was the focal point for the defense all week long and it's disappointing to play a game where so many tackles were missed.

"It's real disappointing just because that was our main focus this whole week, to make sure we tackle in open space to give ourselves a chance," Powers said. "A lot of times it wasn't even in open space, it was a gang of guys and they would slip off and making good runs. It got frustrating to us as a defense."

Now the challenge gets even tougher for Powers and the Tigers as they go back on the road next week to face an improved Ole Miss team. One of Auburn's vocal leaders, Powers said the pressure is on him and others to make sure this team stays together and finishes strong.

"We're just going to have to depend on some leadership," Powers said. "We've got to find it from somewhere. We're lacking leadership right now, not just from a senior standpoint but from everybody, juniors, sophomores, freshmen. We're just going to have to find a way to bounce back and get in the win column."

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