Auburn rolls, 31-0
Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 5, 2004
AUBURN – The Auburn Tiger talk coming into Saturday’s season opener against Louisiana-Monroe was all West Coast offense. With new offensive coordinator Al Borges at the helm, some wondered if the formerly bland Tigers could spice up their attack with a better passing game.
Those fans may have to wait until next week to find out.
Borges and the Tigers showed relatively few wrinkles and kept the offense as basic as possible as Auburn routed the perennial doormat Indians, 31-0 in front of 80,000 fans.
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“I think we came out a little slow today. Of course you know, this is the first game, first time executing this offense,” sophomore wide receiver Courtney Taylor said. “We kind of came in knowing things wouldn’t go as smoothly as we wanted them to. That gives us something to look forward to, to go back and make some corrections.”
The Tigers played a self-described vanilla offense for most of the game.
They gave the Indians steady doses of the running game with senior Doak Walker candidates Ronnie Brown and Carnell Williams.
Williams carried 23 times for 103 yards, he also had a 9-yard touchdown screen pass from quarterback Jason Campbell.
Brown added 55 yards and a touchdown on just seven carries as the Tigers tried to get a lot of people involved.
“We used a lot of players,” Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said. “We played with a lot of intensity. We didn’t hit all cylinders on the offense at all times but it was a steady game.”
Brown, who is playing some fullback in Borges’ offense, said he expected the Tigers would find a good mix of run and pass.
“(Borges) said it was pretty much going to be a balanced offense so I think that’s going to be a help for us and Jason (Campbell),” Brown said. “The defense can’t really key on anybody this year. We’re going to really have to spread the ball out
We saw some things we need to work on, a couple of plays we were a block away from making a big run, a big pass or whatever.”
The coaching staff did shake things up a little.
They replaced starting quarterback Jason Campbell with back-up Brandon Cox on the third series of the game as planned.
Cox responded by leading the team on a long touchdown drive, including a 39-yard hook-up with Taylor and a 9-yard touchdown run by Cox. Cox finished the day 3-6 for 76 yards.
Campbell was 11-18 for 110 yards and two touchdowns.
He also had an interception and a lost fumble.
“It was fun to get out there and run around,” Cox said. “The best part was going against a defense beside ours.
I’m fortunate to be able to play today, and it helped my confidence to go out there and make some plays.”
Cox was greeted by a loud reception each time he was inserted into the game, but Tuberville stressed there is not competition for the quarterback job.
“It won’t be an alteration once we get into the season,” Tuberville said. “Jason is our number one quarterback.
We wanted to get Brandon in the game and get some experience.
He did a good job and kept his composure.”
Campbell said he was surprised that Cox’ first touchdown came on the ground.
“I like the way he came out there,” Campbell said. “I think he got out there and did a good job. I laughed at him, I told him he got a chance to get out there and run for a touchdown before I did this year. I think they weren’t expecting him to run, nobody expected him to run. I saw it when he dropped back and faked, I saw everybody go to the fake side and I was screaming out, ‘run.'”
The Tigers took control early when Auburn safety Junior Rosegreen recovered a ULM fumble at the Indians’ 30.
The Tigers answered with five straight running plays from Williams.
Brown carried for a sixth play on the ground before Campbell found Williams for a 9-yard screen.
After a shanked ULM punt on the following drive, Auburn’s John Vaughn kicked a 43-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead.
The Tigers’ defense held again and Cox came on the field to lead the third drive of the game.
After two short running plays left the Tigers with a third and long, Cox found Taylor on a short slant.
Taylor broke a tackle and picked up a first down with a 39-yard gain.
After a pair of Brown runs, Cox found the opening and ran untouched to the end zone.
The Tigers opened the second half and allowed Campbell to open things up a little.
The fifth-year senior hit Devin Aromashodu for a 32-yard score.
“It was a go pass,” Aromashodu said. “They showed blitz, but Jason did a good job of avoiding it.
I ran for the corner of the end zone, and Jason made a perfect pass.”
Brown finished the scoring with a 30-yard touchdown run.
Selma’s Ben Obomanu finished with two catches for 18 yards.
The Tigers go on the road to face Mississippi State in Starkville next weekend.