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Tigers Toss Razorbacks to Hog-Heaven, 38-20
Auburn, AL – The fourth-ranked Auburn Tigers (7-0, 4-0) raced out to a 30-0 lead before halftime and defeated the Arkansas Razorbacks (3-3,1-2), 38-20, in a key SEC West game to maintain their lead in the Division. QB Jason Campbell riddled the Arkansas defense completing 17 of 19 passes for 297 yards and 3 TDs. RBs Ronnie Brown and Carnell “Cadillac” Williams ran for 103 and 75 yards respectively while each recording a TD. The Tiger defense gave Razorback QB Mike Jones plenty of time to throw, but great coverage in the secondary stifled the Arkansas defense for most of the game. Jones seemed hampered by a groin injury suffered early in the game which took away his threat to run that allowed the Tigers to focus on defending the pass. CollegeFootballFan.com was provided great Southern hospitality as we added Arkansas as our 92nd team toward The Goal, possibly the last of the new teams to be added in 2004.
The home team struck quickly on a reverse flea-flicker 1:10 into the game. Campbell hooked up with WR Davin Arrmashodu for a 67-yard TD pass as the wideout outraced the Razorbacks the last 30 yards. PK John Vaughn converted the PAT to put the Tigers up, 7-0. Arkansas drove to the Auburn 34 on its next series but stalled there on fourth down. The Tigers drove back and extended the lead, 10-0, on Vaughn’s 27-yard FG. In a surprise move that failed, Auburn attempted and on-side kick which went out of bounds at their own 45, but the defense held and the Blue and Orange started again from their own 20. In seven plays, Auburn scored again on a 30-yard scoring strike from Campbell to TE Courtney Taylor in the right side of the end zone to take a 17-0 lead in Q1.
The Tiger offense continued to knife through the Razorback defense in the second period as it drove 53 yards on its next possession culminated by Ronnie Brown’s one-yard TD plunge. At 24-0, the Tiger offense looked unstoppable this day. Arkansas QB Mike Jones, the only returning starter for the Hogs from last year, showed his running capability on the next series as he ran the ball 54 yards to the Auburn 26. However, not another yard was gained, and after a failed fourth and ten attempt, Auburn took over again on downs. RB Carnell Williams did the damage this time as he took it over from two yards away after another long Tiger scoring drive. The point after was no good, but the Tigers had a commanding 30-0 lead. Arkansas was down, but not completely out yet. Coach Houston Nutt’s team finished the half with an 80-yard scoring drive of their own as Jones tossed a 19-yard TD pass to WR Chris Baker to close the scoring with over a minute left to make it a closer, 30-6 route. Click on the picture below to enjoy some entertainment by the Auburn Tiger Marching Band.
The Razorbacks opened the second half just as the Tigers did the first half. Jones threw a 61- yard TD pass to Steven Harris as the Hogs seemed ready to make this a game. They closed the score, 30-14. Auburn responded with another long drive, but this time it was thwarted by a solid tackle which caused Tiger WR Anthony Mix to fumble after a reception, and Arkansas’s Vickiel Vaughn recovered at the 12. The Tiger defense forced Arkansas to punt from its own 29, and the Arkansas punter helped out with a 14-yard punt. Auburn took advantage as Campbell finished the short drive with a 19-yard scoring strike to Ben Obumanu. Auburn put two more points on the board as Campbell zipped the ball to Obumanu again to take a 38-14 lead late in Q3.
The two teams exchanged punts until late in the game. As Campbell was removed from the game to the cheers of the 87,451 Auburn faithful, Freshman QB Brandon Cox’s first pass attempt was intercepted and returned to the Auburn 20 by Vickiel Vaughn. New Arkansas QB Robert Johnson tossed a 4-yard TD pass to WR Brandon Kennedy to complete the score for the game at 38-20 after the 2-point conversion failed. Auburn will likely remain at number four this week ( voted # 3 in AP) and is in the running for a BCS Bowl. Kentucky, Ole Miss, Georgia and Alabama remain, and if they win the SEC West, most likely will face Tennessee at the Georgia Dome for the SEC title. Arkansas hosts the Georgia Bulldogs (6-1) next week and would help the Tigers with an upset win there. Auburn is the highest rated team that CFF has seen this year. Next week, we will see another ranked team, # 25 Iowa, visit Penn State in (Un)Happy Valley.
Extra Points: We spent the weekend with All-Auburn Family Murren and had a great time. Guest Game analyst Charlie Murren shakes his head noting that Tiger Coach Tommy Tuberville was all but gone after last year’s disappointing performance, but he’s been making up for it by bringing on some new talent to his coaching staff. Primarily, Al Borges is the new offensive coordinator whose West Coast offense seems to be perfect for SR QB Jason Campbell. Linda, Charlie’s wife, did a great job planning for the tailgate party and concocted a great potato salad as well as a great selection of beers. Our tailgate took place not far from the stadium very conveniently located in front of their daughter Laura’s on-campus apartment. We didn't have to share bathrooms with anybody! Did you know when it gets buggy down in Alabama they wear hoods over their heads?
Charlie and Linda’s other daughter Megan, a junior at Auburn, works for the Sports information Department at AU, and updates stats during the games up in the press box. She got us passes to the press box for a tour before the game where we visited the CBS camera booth, radio booth, and press row. Vern Lundquist and Todd Blackledge weren’t there yet, but there was a CBS employee in the box that we met – Rick from Butler, NJ – who lives not far from CFF HQ. Megan also provided CFF not only with Auburn, Arkansas and SEC 2004 media guides she'd gotten before the season, she provided CFF with all the post game stats provided to the media, too! It made this review one of the easiest to write. Those writers have it easy with all the help that they get! Thanks Megan. It’s great to have friends in high places! Also, Megan had an article feature in the program Auburn Football Illustrated for this game. It's a "where are they now" feature about former Auburn punter Brian Shulman who has developed a "learning for Kids" website. Maybe we'll get a few features from Megan in the future or ask her to do one about us!
Charlie Murren III was also a GGA and wondered if the flat yard markers used for first downs were somehow electronically set up to impose the yellow first down line seen on TV. We're sure the TV guys must take a fix on them, but they're not electronic. They've been using those markers long before the yellow line on TV, which we like, was instituted. His younger brother, Danny, who couldn’t be in attendance as he was playing in his own HS football game this day, has an array of autographs from Auburn players addressed to Megan’s "least favorite brother". One note from last year signed by Jason Campbell promised to play “awesome” against Danny’s “friends” from UGA. Auburn lost to the Bulldogs last year, but CFF thinks those words will be more prophetic this year. Campbell also writes Danny not to put his autograph on E-bay because he won’t get anything for it. He might after this year!
The Auburn press guide makes it clear that CFF has been making a mistake. The "War Eagles" are not synonymous with the Tigers. "War Eagle" is the school's battle cry. Seems a baby eagle rescued by a young soldier after a civil war battle was brought back to Auburn when the soldier returned as a student. Known to locals as the War Eagle, it was seen flying over the field during Auburn's first game ever being played against Georgia. Students were pointing up yelling "War Eagle!" The Tigers came from behind to win that game, and at the end of the game the bird died. Even the article in the guide says that the story can't be authenticated, but it makes a great story. The Eagle mascot is named "Tiger". They're up to Tiger VI at Auburn. Tiger VI was seen flying close to the ground during the game hunting "prey". The Tiger mascot who suits up weekly is known as Aubie. Aubie was entertaining Saturday as he tempted a security guy watching the stands to lose focus on his responsibilities. He also led the band in the fight song, and almost got dropped on his head when being passed up through the student section. Our host, Charlie, tried out for the original Aubie during one of his school years, and recalls he blew it when he yelled out in typical Jersey-eze, "C'mon on you guys!" instead of "C'mon ya'll!" When in Rome...
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