Powers Weathers Long Day On Defense

Auburn cornerback Jerraud Powers talks about his performance against UT-Martin on Saturday.

Auburn, Ala.--Banged up for the last month of the 2008 season with a sore hamstring, Saturday's homecoming game was a time of rest for many of Auburn's starters on defense, but not junior cornerback Jerraud Powers.

Playing the majority of the snaps on defense for the Tigers in the victory, Powers said that while many felt he would also watch the game from the sidelines, that was never his intention.

"That was my mindset that I was going to play the whole game," Powers said. "Probably other people thought I wasn't going to be in that much. It was one of those games. It was hard fought. They came to play, but we needed a victory. We needed a victory just to get back in the win column."

While not his usual dominant self at the cornerback position, Powers had a solid day for the Tigers with a team-high nine tackles and two passes broken up. Even though he gave up several plays throughout the game and looked tired at times, Powers said overall his hamstring held up well against a very good test.

"It was big," Powers said. "They probably knew I had been out and had been battling a hamstring injury. They were going to test me to see how I responded. Early in the first two quarters I was breaking up a lot of balls. In the third and the start of the fourth they probably saw my leg got a little fatigued. I wasn't tired or out of shape, but my leg was tired. They had a good gameplan. Every time they saw I was backed off they checked to the hitch. It got frustrating at times, but I have to make sure I just tackle."

Facing a team that came into the game with solid offensive numbers, the Tigers were expecting a test from the UT-Martin Skyhawks. The defense got that and more as the visitors threw for 285 yards in the contest. Wide receiver Mike Hicks was particularly impressive, catching 12 passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns. Powers said you've got to give it to UT-Martin for coming in and playing the way they did.

"During the game and the heat of the battle you're just into the game trying to counter whatever they're doing," Powers said. "They came to play. They didn't have anything to lose and that was their attitude. We just didn't take care of business early and they were in the game late. Luckily we pulled it off."

Powers and the Tigers now turn their attention to the Georgia Bulldogs and quarterback Matthew Stafford. One of the country's top passers, Stafford leads a talented offense into Jordan-Hare Stadium. Powers said right now though it's all about Auburn and finding a way to get it done.

"It was very important," Powers said. "We've lost four straight. Just to get back in the win column gives us confidence going into next week.

"We're trying to end on a good note, especially for our seniors," Powers added. "It has been a rough year for them. They haven't experienced a season like this since they've been here. We want to end on a good note for them."

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