While the entire Tiger football team wore armbands with Etheridge's number "4" inscribed on them, Bates wanted to have the more personal display in honor of Etheridge who is out for the season suffering a frightening neck injury the previous week against Ole Miss.
Not only was Bates and the Tiger defense missing the junior starting free safety, Bates was missing his roommate who had mentored him since he burst on the scene to earn the starting strong safety spot at the outset of the season as a true freshman.
"I talked to Zac last night (Friday) and told he would be out there with us today," Bates said about wearing the number "4."
That call was made from Auburn's out-of-town motel in LaGrange, Ga., to Etheridge and Bates' residence in Auburn where Etheridge is recuperating.
"He plans to start going to classes in a couple of weeks," Bates said.
As for Auburn's Homecoming victory over the Paladins, Bates was pleased with the effort by starters in the first half when the Tigers ran out to a 42-3 lead and then turned the second half over the backups. The starting defense allowed a first-drive field goal, then shut down Furman the rest of the first half.
"The first defense did what the coaches wanted us to do, shut them down," Bates said. "We may have started out a little slow, but we picked it up and didn't let them score any more."
Bates was complimentary of junior college transfer who made the move from cornerback to free safety for Furman with the absence of Etheridge.
"He did fine for his first time at safety. He communicated and played like he was supposed to," Bates commented.
In other news and notes:
*The 63 points was the most scored by the Tigers since scoring that man against Ball State in 2005.
*Auburn had now won 55 straight games when scoring 30 or more points.
*Auburn's 655 yards in total offense against Furman was the most by the Tigers since putting up 680 yards versus Kansas in 1988.
*The 373 yards passing Auburn had Saturday was the most since 374 against Tennessee in the 2004 SEC Championship Game.
*With 282 yards rushing against the Paladins, it was the seventh time this season Auburn has rushed for 200 or more yards in a game.
*Auburn completed 27 of 30 passes against Furman for a 90 percent completion rate, the best ever for the Tigers in a game when attempting 30 or more passes.
*Todd opened the game with 14 consecutive completions and finished with his sixth 200-yard passing game of the season.
*Todd's four touchdown passes gives him 17 for the season, tied for fourth most in a single season for an Auburn quarterback.
*Sophomore wide receiver Darvin Adams had six catches for 115 yards and three touchdowns in the first half. With nine touchdown receptions this season, Adams is tied for the third most TD catches in one year by an Auburn receiver. He's tied with Ronny Daniels and Byron Franklin. All-American Terry Beasley has Auburn's top two seasons in touchdown receptions with 12 in 1971 and 11 in 1970.