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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Final: Auburn 52, Louisiana-Monroe 3

Actually had time to get quotes today. While I work on some stuff, here's how tomorrow's story will start:
AUBURN, Ala. — After giving its fans heart palpitations for three straight weeks, Auburn allowed them to rest easy Saturday.

The No. 10 Tigers didn't need a huge comeback, fourth quarter defensive stand or a fortuitous field goal miss in an easy 52-3 win against Louisiana-Monroe at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

"It was a very bizarre feeling, very bizarre," said Auburn head coach Gene Chizik, who's grown accustomed to nail-biters. "But I will take it every time."

Auburn (5-0) got everything it wanted out of its final tuneup before getting to the heart of the SEC schedule, building an early lead and getting the backups plenty of work.

Sixty-eight players got in the game for the Tigers, giving the starters some down time. Quarterback Cam Newton threw for 245 yards and three touchdowns in 2½ quarters. Defensive end Antoine Carter didn't play a snap.

The second team took over midway through the third quarter and the third team finished off the fourth, an important note as Auburn heads into what Chizik called a "brutal" four-game stretch at Kentucky, home against Arkansas and LSU and on the road at Ole Miss.

"There are guys who we felt like are bumped and bruised up," Chizik said. "We have to watch out. It is a long road here before we get any week off. We are just trying to be very prudent on how we proceed."
Read the whole thing here. We'll cover the rest bullet-point style:
  • Slow start? Not today. Auburn scored 14 points in four plays, avoiding the big first-half deficit that made games against Clemson and South Carolina so tough. "We never want to let a team get hope and string it out through all four quarters," offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn said. "When we had time to make plays, we made the plays."
  • The Tigers finished with 505 yards of offense, the sixth time in the last two seasons Auburn has topped the 500-yard mark. Before last year, the Tigers hadn't had a 500-yard game since 2005. That's the power of Gus right there.
  • Short day for Newton, who was taken out after throwing a 5-yard touchdown pass to Philip Lutzenkirchen in the third quarter. Newton, the SEC's leading rusher entering the day, didn't have one designed run, finishing with negative-11 yards after being sacked once. The coaches were all on the same page in saying that the defense was giving them a look that didn't require any QB runs. Center Ryan Pugh had a more truthful answer. "There's no reason to take hits when he doesn't need to," Pugh said.
  • Senior tailback Mario Fannin, who has been slowed by a shoulder injury and a fumbling problem, got the most work, running for 89 yards and a fourth quarter touchdown. I thought this part was remarkable: he got 10 carries for the first time since his sophomore year. "I think his confidence is getting back up there," Chizik said. Fannin, by the way, became the 35th Auburn player to rush for 1,000 yards in his career. He's at 1,085 now.
  • You want diversity on offense? Nine players had at least one carry and nine more had at least one reception. Backup quarterbacks Barrett Trotter and Clint Moseley both made an appearance, although Trotter came out after being shaken up at the end of an 18-yard touchdown run. Malzahn said he thinks Trotter is OK.
  • Defensively, Auburn allowed 232 passing yards but not much else. Quarterback Kolton Browning went 25-for-33, giving the Tigers some fits with quick, short passes. But Auburn allowed only 12 rushing yards up until the final drive of the game. The Warhawks finished with 38 rushing yards on 33 carries. " That's the main thing," defensive end Nosa Eguae said. "When it comes down to every day in practice, the first five, 10 periods is all about run stop, run stop, run stop. So as a defense, that's what you need to hang your hat on."
  • Despite having a number of second- and third-team guys in the game, Auburn didn't allow a point in the second half. "We really wanted to come in and make a statement," cornerback T'Sharvan Bell said. "No matter what the score was, we just wanted to play hard and do a good job. They only got three. We're happy with that."
  • Auburn forced four turnovers for the second straight week. Safety Zac Etheridge picked off a pass on a fake field goal and the reserves recovered three fumbles in the second half.
  • The Tigers burned the redshirt on freshman linebacker Jake Holland, who is Josh Bynes' backup in the middle now. He had an active day, finishing with three solo stops, one tackle for a loss and a fumble recovery. "I thought he played well for his first time," defensive coordinator Ted Roof said. Holland is the 14th true freshman to play this year.
  • Dee Ford started in Carter's place at rush end and made four tackles. True freshman Corey Lemonier added two tackles for a loss, including a sack. The duo combined for four quarterback hurries. "It is good again to see some young guys being able to step up to the plate when we have to have them," Chizik said.
  • You know who didn't take a day off? Nick Fairley. The defensive tackle added a sack and three tackles for a loss to his increasingly impressive résumé. Fairley, the SEC leader in both categories entering the day, now has five sacks and 11.5 TFLs this year.
  • Freshman wide receiver Trovon Reed did not dress, keeping him eligible for a medical redshirt if his bothersome knee doesn't improve. Reed hasn't played the last two weeks since making his brief debut against Clemson.
  • Cornerback Anthony Morgan, a converted wide receiver, finished with a game-high six tackles, making a big hit on a fourth-down play in the fourth quarter that knocked the ball loose from a receiver.
  • Wes Byrum scored 10 points (a field goal and seven extra points), moving him past Bo Jackson and Carnell Williams into second place on Auburn's all-time scoring list. Byrum's 279 career points are 33 shy of fellow kicker John Vaughn's record.
  • Some other notable stat lines:
  • Blake: 2 catches, 101 yards, 1 TD
  • Lutzenkirchen: 4 catches, 41 yards, 1 TD
  • WR Terrell Zachery: 4 catches, 50 yards
  • DT Kenneth Carter: 2 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 fumble recovery
  • Auburn started out 5-0 last year too, remember? That team went into an October nose dive, losing three straight. "This year team is very special and is very capable of taking that extra step rather than taking a step back," Newton said.
  • One last quote. Chizik doesn't ever seem to satisfied with what his team has accomplished. "Our best game is still lurking out there," he said. "It's going to have to come in the month of October. That's for sure."

7 comments:

Tar Heel Tiger said...

So who is AB's backup? Did he/she get in during the 4th qtr?

Tar Heel Tiger said...

Who are your next door neighbors in the press box? Same from week to week? Are there any illegal shift penalties up there?

Thanks for the great info, btw.

Tar Heel Tiger said...

"One last quote. Chizik doesn't ever seem to satisfied with what his team has accomplished. 'Our best game is still lurking out there," he said. "It's going to have to come in the month of October. That's for sure.'"

wow, he doesn't think we need to save our best game for when we beat ua-t. That's confidence.

JoeinFP said...

When Jacobs hired Chizik there were a lots of people wanting Turner Gill instead. I hope all those Gill supporters saw the Kansas/Baylor score. We may not win them all this year but I like the direction Chizik has Auburn pointed. War Eagle!!!!

Hoopie said...

I like for a coach to not be staisfied

RJ said...

Good to see the team finish off a team they should beat by 35.

This year's team has more talent and more depth than last year's team. Still, the next 4 games are going to be tough. Need to repay UK for last year, then Mallett comes to town. We can always hope that Les 'Clock Management' Miles shows up and does his usual thing at the end of the game. Ole Miss doesn't scare me at all.

I like where this team is at...

scottie burns said...

nice work all around. by the players, the coaches, the Bitter.

all in all a great day's work.

WDE!

now let's whoop up on some Wildcats!!!!!!!!!!