AU 63, Furman 31 Notes: Part One

Auburn's small senior class was honored prior to the Homecoming victory over the Furman Paladins.

Auburn, Ala.--Saturday's 63-31 Homecoming victory over Furman was especially significant for Auburn offensive tackle Andrew McCain, a fifth-year senior in the starting lineup for the first time this year.

It began when 11 Auburn seniors and their families were recognized before the game.

"It has been a long journey for some of us," McCain said about the small senior class. "There are six guys who came in with my signing class. We have been through a whole lot--a change in the coaching staff and a lot of adversity. Getting to stand out there with those guys was special, just knowing what we've been through together."

McCain and his offensive mates were clicking on all cylinders in building a 42-3 first half lead before watching back-ups play the second half.

Now, it's time for "Amen Corner" that includes Georgia this Saturday and Alabama two weeks later. McCain doesn't believe those two games will make or break Auburn's season.

"I feel like there are two sides to that coin," he said. "One side is we feel like we've made a lot of improvement this year already, as far as being bowl eligible and turning things around.

"On the other hand around here, there are people who don't think about anything but beating Georgia and especially Alabama," McCain explained. "We understand that. It's part of it and we're thankful to have the opportunity that awaits us. It's the most exciting time of the year for us."

In other news and notes:

*How small Auburn's senior class was evident when only 11 fourth and fifth-year seniors were honored prior to Saturday's victory over Furman. They were introduced and joined by family members in the pre-game ceremony.

Honored were defensive back Walter McFadden, tight end Tommy Trott, quarterback Chris Todd, running back Ben Tate, defensive end Antonio Coleman, offensive tackle Andrew McCain, defensive end Gabe McKenzie, defensive tackle Jake Ricks, punter Clinton Durst, snapper Clayton Crofoot and defensive back Aairon Savage, who has been injured all season.

·*The prestigious Walter Gilbert Award was presented at halftime to former Tiger basketball player Dr. Ray Groover Jr. The award is in honor of Gilbert, a center who was Auburn's only three-time football All-American who went on to become vice president of Texaco's European Operations.

Dr. Groover was a member of Tiger basketball teams from 1958-61, one of Auburn's most successful basketball eras under legendary coach Joel Eaves. Dr. Groover is semi-retired in Birmingham from a long medical career, specializing in radiology. While practicing, Dr. Groover performed operations on Presidents Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon. His youngest daughter, Kim, was AU's Miss Homecoming in 1989 and this year his niece, Grace Ann Sooter, was in the homecoming court.

*Chris Todd, Antonio Coleman and Walter McFadden were Auburn captains for the second straight game. The Tigers won the toss and elected to receive, driving 51 yards in six play capped by a six-yard pass from Chris Todd to Darvin Adams for the touchdown. The drive took 1:57.

*The Tigers are 4-0 against Furman after winning their 18th straight Homecoming game Saturday, the longest streak of homecoming victories in Auburn history. Auburn is 32-2-1 in its last 35 homecomings and 70-8-5 all-time for homecoming games. The Tigers' most common homecoming foe has been Mississippi State with 16 appearances.

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