Auburn's Seniors Provide Much Needed Spark

Tim TrollingerCorrespondent INovember 1, 2009

AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 19:  The Auburn Tigers huddle after pregame warmpus before facing the West Virginia Mountaineers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on September 19, 2009 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

AU had been searching for someone to provide a much needed spark.

Saturday that spark came courtesy of the senior class, led by defensive end Antonio Coleman. Coleman seemed unstoppable as he took Ole Miss. sophomore tackle Bradley Sowell to the wood shed.

"He played with a lot of energy," defensive coordinator Ted Roof said. "He did a good job leading our kids on the sideline. He was very, very productive. I'm happy for him and our seniors."

Senior Walt McFadden had five tackles, 1.5 tackles-for-loss, and two big interceptions, the first he returned 29 yards for a touchdown.

His second interception stopped the Rebels final drive of the game with three minutes remaining.

Senior Jake Ricks also had a huge game. He seemed to feed off Coleman's energy, harassing QB Jake Snead, and forcing him to throw several times into coverage.

On offense AU was led by seniors Chris Todd and Ben Tate.

In the last two games, Auburn's offense managed just one play of 20 or more yards. Saturday, against Ole Miss, the Tigers produced five big plays as they snapped a three-game losing streak.

Quarterback Chris Todd hooked up with receiver Terrell Zachery on two of the biggest plays.

The pair connected on a 42-yard pass in the second quarter to set up AU's first touchdown as Todd hit Zachery in perfect stride.

Todd, finished 12-of-22 for 212 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions.

Running back Ben Tate also got in on the big-play action, his 53 yard touchdown run ignited the crowd as the Tigers pulled away from the Rebels.

His 144 yards gave him 1,067 on the season and 3,026 for his career, which is fifth all-time in AU history.

"It's awesome," said tight end Tommy Trott, who caught a 14-yard TD pass from Kodi Burns. "We went 5-7 last year and didn't get to go to a bowl. "Every win is a different bowl game. Hopefully, we can work our way up and get to a good bowl game."

Coach Roof had these final words to say on the play of his defense Saturday, "Overall, just the way we finished, with a lot of enthusiasm, I'm just proud of the way we played."