Tigers Hang Tough, Roof Says

Comments from Auburn defensive coordiantor Ted Roof and Northwestern star Mike Kafka are featured.

Tampa, Fla.--The look of amusement combined with amazement on Ted Roof's face summed up how he felt about a wild 38-35 overtime Auburn win at the Outback Bowl.

"I have never been a part of a game like that or have even seen a game like that one," the Auburn defensive coordinator and linebacker coach said after the Tigers almost gave away the football game in the closing minutes of regulation time before pulling out the victory.

"I am very, very proud of our players with the way they kept coming back from adversity," Roof said. "That is who our kids are. I think that says a lot about them.

"It wasn't always pretty," the defensive coordinator said. "Obviously, there were some good things anytime you pick off five passes and you score on defense and you block a kick, but some of that credit goes to Northwestern because they did a wonderful job.

"Our kids just kept not hanging their heads," Roof added. "They just kept believing and kept fighting and eventually we came out on top. What a whale of a football game it was."

It was a game that featured numerous Outback Bowl Game records disappearing like a plate of Bloomin' Onions at a postgame meal.

Northwestern QB Mike Kafka set a bowl record for passing yardage with 532, total yardage with 566, most pass attempts with 78, most interceptions thrown with five and the Wildcats set a record for most offensive plays with 115 and yardage with 625.

Antoine Carter pressures Northwestern's quarterback Mike Kafka.

The Tigers and Wildcats combined for a bowl record 187 total plays and a record 1,050 yards.

Walt McFadden set a bowl record with his 100-yard interception return and he and T'Sharvan Bell tied the bowl record with two interceptions apiece.

Commenting on the game, Kafka said, "A loss is a loss anyway you put it, it's a loss. If you take care of the football a little better...and I?take full responsibility for that. We just needed to make plays and we didn't."

Roof said that Kafka was a tough quarterback to deal with because of his quick release in throwing the football. "The guy is really good player."

Roof noted that it was an unusual finish to an unusual season for a defense that was hit hard by injuries. "This is the first time I have been part of a football team that was this depleted from a numbers standpoint," he said. "We had guys cramping up.

"When they run 120 plays that is two games and we were already thin and that thinned us out some more, but our kids just kept finding a way to get back. They were IV-ing them at halftime. We were looking for guys to put in."

Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories