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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Auburn-Arkansas State pre-game blog post

It's a little more than two and a half hours until kickoff here at Jordan-Hare Stadium and I've arrived to a mostly empty press box. How early is it? There's not even any food out yet. What is this, communist Russia?

Anyway, this will be the spot for all pre-game observations and notes. If something important happens, I'll probably tweet it first. So be sure to follow the blog on Twitter. I'll be putting up a lot of pertinent info from the stat packet regarding this matchup and will make observations as the teams take the field for their pre-game routines.

This will probably be the best scenario to see if any of the rumors are true about some Auburn players regarding their status for this game. I'll keep you up to date with that.

Not much too different about the inside of the stadium other than a blue AU logo at midfield (Auburn had orange last year but wanted it to be more noticeable this year on TV and "pop" off the screen as Senior Associate AD for External Affairs Scott Carr told one of my colleagues.) It does look a little bolder, I will say that.

A couple other pre-game links in case you missed them:
Now for some pre-game minutia:
  • Auburn is 90-25-2 in season openers. It is one victory behind Alabama for the most among SEC schools. The Tigers have won 19 of their last 24 to open the season, including four straight.
  • Auburn is 14-0 against current members of the Sun Belt.
  • The Tigers, who are No. 22 in the preseason AP poll, are ranked to start the season for seventh time in the last eight years.
  • Auburn has a winning record in September in 26 of the last 28 seasons.
  • The Tigers are 19-4 in night games since 2000.
  • That stat that keeps on ticking: Auburn has won 56 straight games when scoring 30 or more points in a game. That dates back to a 56-49 four-overtime loss to Georgia in 1996.
  • This was incorrect in my capsule today, so I'll fix it here: 'Auburn’s offensive line, which features seniors Lee Ziemba, Mike Berry, Ryan Pugh and Byron Isom, has combined for 108 career starts, second most in the SEC.
  • Arkansas State is 1-46-3 all-time against current members of the SEC. The lone victory was a 10-0 game against Ole Miss in 1915.
  • The Red Wolves were picked to finish third in the Sun Belt by the coaches.
  • Ninth-year Arkansas State coach Steve Roberts is 0-10 against Top 25 opponents.
  • The average margin of defeat is 28.7 points.
  • But the Red Wolves have had some close ones. They lost at No. 13 Iowa 24-21 last year, and took No. 4 Texas to the wire to start the 2007 season, losing just 21-13.
  • Arkansas State: DT Bryan Hall is the preseason Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year after having nine TFLs and two sacks last year.
  • And lastly, the most interesting stat in my opinion: Auburn averaged 33.3 points and 431.8 yards per game last season. Arkansas State boasts a defense that has ranked No. 1 or 2 in the Sun Belt in each of the last four seasons.
Back with more as it happens.

UPDATE 4:15 p.m.: I did not see LB Craig Stevens during the Tiger Walk or during the pre-game prayer at midfield. Keep in mind that nobody had their uniforms on, so it's hard to tell a lot of the players apart, but I'm pretty sure I could have picked Stevens out.

Not sure about Jonathon Mincy. He's relatively new and we've only talked to him once, so I don't think I would recognize him at this point anyway.

UPDATE 5:01 p.m.: Big news: Auburn has white shoes this year with knee-high white socks. Not the black ones with black socks like previous years at home.

UPDATE 5:16 p.m.: Some roster updates: WR Trovon Reed (knee) is dressed out. So is WR Antonio Goodwin. So is CB Demond Washington, who had been rumored to have suffered an injury. Apparently not.

UPDATE 5:25 p.m.: The rumors appear as though they might be true. LB Craig Stevens and CB Jonathon Mincy are not on the field during pre-game stretching drills.

UPDATE 5:30 p.m.: Stevens looks like he's out. He's nowhere to be found and Eltoro Freeman was just announced as the starting linebacker in his spot. Linebackers are Josh Bynes, Daren Bates and Freeman.

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