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NOVEMBER 14, 2013

AUBURN vs. GEORGIA

GAME DAY PAGE

4 PAGE

8-9 PAGE

12

Breaking down the Bulldogs with The Red and Black’s Cy Brown

Auburn’s Top Five Games vs. Georgia

Freshman Focus: Alex Kozan Senior Spotlight: Chris Davis


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The Auburn Plainsman: Game Day Edition

Thursday, November 14, 2013

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE 3 Editor’s Preview: Tigers face tough task at start of ‘Amen Corner’ PAGE 4 Know Your Enemy: Breaking down the Bulldogs with The Red and Black’s Cy Brown PAGE 5 Behind the Scenes: Inside AUHD

PAGE 7 Nick Marshall’s journey comes full circle vs. UGA

PAGE 12 Freshman Focus: Alex Kozan Senior Spotlight: Chris Davis

PAGE 8-9 Auburn’s Top Five Games vs. Georgia

PAGE 13 Sideline Snapshots: Auburn vs.Tennessee

PAGE 10 Georgia vs. Auburn: A true family feud

PAGE 14 Auburn in the NFL: Week 10

PAGE 11 Depth Charts

PAGE 15 Plainsman Picks

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Be on the lookout for our next GameDay issue, November 21st

IRON BOWL AU vs. UA


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The Auburn Plainsman: Game Day Edition

EDITOR’S PREVIEW

Tigers face tough task at start of ‘Amen Corner’ Will Gaines sports@ theplainsman.com

Last week, Gus Malzahn and his team traveled to Rocky Top and came back with a big victory against the Tennessee Volunteers. This week will be a different challenge for the Tigers as the Georgia Bulldogs come to town for the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry. Against Tennessee, Auburn proved once again its running game is one of the best in the country. With Nick Marshall rushing for more than 200 yards and Tre Mason eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark for the year, it looks like this Tiger run game will not slow down . But the Bulldogs will present more of a challenge for the Auburn offense than it has seen since LSU. Georgia’s defense currently ranks No. 4 in the SEC in rushing defense, giving up only 126 yards

per game. The Tigers still be able to run the ball effectively against the Dawgs, but they will not be able to get away with throwing the ball as little as they have the past two weeks. In the past two games against Arkansas and Tennessee, Auburn has thrown the ball a total of 16 times. This week, Auburn must be able to have an effective passing game because Georgia will not allow Auburn to run the ball 90 percent of the time. If Marshall and Sammie Coates can connect on some deep passes for touchdowns and the run game can produce like it has been producing, then Auburn should be in good shape on offense. However, on defense, Auburn will face one of its biggest challenges of the season in Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray. In the past three meetings between Auburn and Georgia, Murray has thrown for 705 yards and 10 touchdowns. If the Tigers want to have a suc-

cessful day, they need to find a way to slow Murray down. With Georgia running back Todd Gurley still not 100 percent recovered from his injury earlier in the year, Auburn better be ready for a heavy dose of Murray and the passing game. The last time Auburn was able to defeat Georgia was in Murray’s freshman year. The defense’s formula for beating him back in 2010 was to unleash Nick Fairley. Now, this Tiger defensive line does not have a Fairley on it, but it does have a solid rotation that can apply pressure. Putting a high amount of pressure on Murray will be a must. If they put pressure on him it will force him to make some bad throws and interceptions. A big factor in Auburn being able to play well on defense this season is their ability to force turnovers. They will need to continue this against Georgia. Georgia has talent, but I think the Dawgs are not playing with the same passion they have in recent

raye may / Photo and design assistant

Sammie Coates, the nation’s leading receiver in yards per catch, salutes the Auburn crowd.

zach bland / Photographer

Dee Ford chases down Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.

years because of their disappointing record and all of the injuries the team has suffered. The score should remain close for a good portion of the game, but I think Auburn will be riding high after the victory in Knoxville, fired

up in front of the home crowd and pull off a 41–24 victory. With a victory against Georgia, the Tigers will head into one of the biggest Iron Bowls in recent years with a chance to play for the SEC Championship in Atlanta.

anna grafton / photo editor

Freshman defensive end Elijah Daniel sacks Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs.


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The Auburn Plainsman: Game Day Edition

contributed by David Bristow / the red and black

Todd Gurley carries the ball against the Florida Gators.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

contributed by David Bristow / the red and black

Leonard Floyd hunts down a Florida ballcarrier earlier this season.

KNOW YOUR ENEMY

Breaking down the Bulldogs with The Red and Black’s Cy Brown Cy Brown sports@therandb.com

Cy Brown is the sports editor for The Red and Black, the student newspaper at the University of Georgia. In this edition of “Know Your Enemy,” Brown gives Auburn fans a scouting report on the Tigers’ oldest rivals, the Bulldogs from Athens. Georgia started the year with a lot of preseason hype, but injuries have hampered the Bulldogs' progress in 2013. How do you grade the team's performance so far this season? I'd say B-. People thought if Georgia got through Clemson, South Carolina and LSU 2-1, it would be on easy street. Then Missouri and Vanderbilt happened. However, the injury factor also makes fans a bit more understanding than they would normally be. Out of all the injuries Georgia has had

this season, which one do you think has been the biggest blow to the team? Even though he's back now, it's Todd Gurley. His presence was sorely needed in all three of Georgia's losses this year. He sat half the Clemson game and didn't play against Mizzou or Vandy. His ability to break off big yards make him a game-changer. Had he played, Georgia would likely have won at least one of the Mizzou or Vandy games, perhaps both. It seems that head coach Mark Richt is always on the hot seat in the eyes of some Georgia fans. What do you think his job security is like in the midst of a season like this? It's highly doubtful he's going anywhere. The people who call for his head are a vocal minority. Fans may say they want him gone at times, but that doesn't matter. He has a complete commitment from the Athletic Association and the University. If the pressure ever got to be too much, he could let go of a coordinator, grab another and the fans would let up.

Again, the injury situation also makes the difficulties this season more understandable. Who are some players Auburn fans need to keep an eye on in this matchup? Freshman outside linebacker Leonard Floyd has been a force this season, piling up 5.5 sacks so far. Inside linebacker Ramik Wilson is the most sure tackler on the team and his name should be called often on Saturday. He's averaging more than 10 tackles per game. Aaron Murray's favorite target is wide receiver Michael Bennett. Expect that to be a potential connection on third downs. And, as always, pay attention to Todd Gurley. He just needs a bit of space, then all he sees is endzone. Where does Auburn rank in the rivalry hierarchy to Georgia fans? Where does the dislike rank in comparison to Georgia Tech and Florida? The Auburn-Georgia rivalry is an interesting one. It isn't the biggest for either team. Georgia fans hate Florida the most — Tech is thought of more as an annoyance and obliga-

tion than a rivalry — and Auburn fans, obviously, hate Alabama more. But it's not “The Deep South's Oldest Rivalry ” for nothing. These teams are 54-54-8 against one another dating back to 1892. Pat Dye played at Georgia. Vince Dooley played at Auburn. Our mascot even wants a piece of you guys. These two schools are eternally linked. I don't think there's a more underrated rivalry in college football. Alright, prediction time. How do you see this year's edition of the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry turning out? Both teams will put some points on the board. The one thing that lays into Georgia's hands is Auburn inability to pass the ball. That plays into hands of the Georgia defense, that has a terrible secondary. But, I have more faith in Gus Malzahn being able to put up points than I do Mike Bobo. Auburn has won 83 consecutive games when it scores 30 or more. That will move to 84.

Auburn 33, Georgia 27


Thursday, November 14, 2013

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The Auburn Plainsman: Game Day Edition

BEHIND THE SCENES

Buckle up: This is Auburn University High Definition Kyle Van Fechtmann sports writer

There is a reason why the 87,451 fans get fired up before the start of each Auburn home game. Thanks to Auburn University High Definition (AUHD), the group that produces and showcases the tunnel and inspiration videos on the big screen in Jordan-Hare, Auburn fans reach maximum volume just before kickoff. A lot goes on behind the scenes in order to create the perfect pre-game video. “The football intro videos take most of the summer to complete,” said AUHD producer Bradley Green. “We start with song selection and concept planning in June and then move forward with video shoots, clip collection and selection, and finally editing.” The most crucial factor in making these is selecting the right song that fits the video. According to Green, there is a committee that decides the song for the tunnel video. The coaches provide their feedback through-

out the process and are a part of the song selection committee. Fans are also able to send AUHD their song ideas through social media. “We want the fans to love the video and that requires the perfect song. Once we lock in the right song, the rest of the project will fall into place,” Green said. This year’s tunnel video song is “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)” by Fall Out Boy, which “This year’s video is awesome,” said Harry Hadlock, junior in architecture. “The music actually lines up with the highlights from the video and it just gets me pumped up for the game,” The inspiration video, which plays just before kickoff, shows more of Auburn’s famous plays throughout their football history and at the start of this video the crowd is quiet while listening to former head coach Pat Dye’s speech. “I get chills every time while listening to Pat Dye’s pregame speech,” said Tom Hargett,

auburntigers.com

A screenshot from AUHD’s tunnel video for the 2013 football season, “Buckle Up.”

junior in finance. “I love how excited the student section gets once the video shows old Auburn plays.” While watching these pre-game AUHD videos, the home crowd is able to get as loud

as they can before the game even starts. “There is a tremendous amount of prep that goes into making the productions happen and it’s fun to watch it all come to life in a sold out Jordan-Hare Stadium,” Green said.

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PLAYER PROFILE

Marshall’s journey comes full circle Jeffrey Moore SPORTS REPORTER

The reigning SEC offensive player of the week’s journey to stardom hasn’t been easy. Auburn junior quarterback Nick Marshall was a local legend at Wilcox County High School in Georgia. As a junior in 2009, he led his team to their first state championship in school history. His 103 career touchdown passes set a Georgia state record. Upon graduation, Marshall signed with the home-state Georgia Bulldogs, but not to play quarterback. He saw the field as a true freshman on special teams and in the secondary, recording five tackles in 13 games. And though Marshall has now made a name for himself as a dual-threat quarterback at Auburn, Georgia head coach Mark Richt thinks he could have been a star on the other side of the ball too. “He’d be an all-conference type guy,” Richt said in his weekly press conference. "He'd be a guy who would have a very bright future at that position." But with one bad decision in the offseason, that very bright future at cornerback dissipated. Marshall, along with two Georgia teammates, was kicked off the team for a violation of team rules. “There were going to be a lot of opportu-

2009

nities for him,” said Mark Ledford, Marshall’s coach at Wilcox County High. “It’s a shame he’s wasting those opportunities at Georgia.” Marshall accepted the consequences. He enrolled at Garden City Community College in Kansas with hopes of one day returning to the SEC — as a quarterback. At Garden City in 2012, Marshall passed for 3,142 yards and 18 touchdowns while adding 1,095 yards and 19 touchdowns on the ground. "He's the kind of quarterback you need to sign when you're trying to turn a program around," said Jeff Tatum, Marshall’s head coach at Garden City. Enter the 3–9 Auburn Tigers. Marshall had preexisting relationships with new Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn and wide receivers coach Dameyune Craig, and his dual threat ability was a perfect match for Malzahn’s spread offense. In January 2013, Marshall committed to the Tigers. By August, and without participating in spring practice, Marshall emerged victorious from a four-man quarterback competition. By the tenth game of the 2013 season, Marshall has become a household name. He has rushed for over 100 yards in three SEC contests this year and led Auburn to a surprising 9–1 record. “He's gotten better just overall,” said junior

zach bland / photographer

Nick Marshall carries the ball up the field against Texas A&M. running back Corey Grant. “Making his read, running the ball, knowing when he needs to give it.” On Saturday, Marshall’s SEC journey will come full circle. Auburn hosts Georgia in a game that would be easy for Marshall to take personally.

2011

Wins state championship at Wilcox County High School

Dismissed from Bulldogs after violation of team rules

2010

Commits to the University of Georgia as a cornerback

From the hedges to the plains: nick marshall’s journey

But immediately after the win over Tennessee, Marshall said beating his old team “doesn’t mean too much.” "It's just another opponent that's in our way, blocking what we're trying to capitalize on,” Marshall said. “So we'll be worried next week starting tomorrow."

2013

Transfers to Auburn, wins starting QB job, leads Tigers to 9–1 record

2012

Responsible for 4,237 total yards and 37 TDs at Garden City CC


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Thursday, November 14, 2013

COMPILED BY JUSTIN FERGUSON / ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR

NUMBER 01

Auburn – 35 | Georgia – 20 Nov. 13, 1971 In Heisman Trophy winner Pat Sullivan’s second-to-last SEC contest, No. 6 Auburn visited No. 7 Georgia in a highly anticipated showdown between two undefeated rivals. It was the first Top 10 meeting in the series, and it definitely lived up to the billing. Facing a hostile crowd “Between the Hedges” in Athens, Sullivan threw for four touchdown passes against the highly ranked Georgia defense. Two of those throws were to legendary wide receiver Terry Beasley, who finished the game with 130 yards on just four catches. The Sullivan-to-Beasley connection in the fourth quarter turned out to be one of the biggest plays in the rivalry’s history. After Auburn’s Roger Mitchell blocked a Georgia extra-point attempt that would have tied the game at 21, the dynamic duo took advantage of a shocked crowd with a short hitch rout that turned into a 70-yard race to the end zone. Auburn’s Dave Beck intercepted Georgia quarterback James Ray on the Bulldogs’ drive to tie the game up, and the Tigers punched in one more touchdown to seal the dramatic victory.

NUMBER 02

Auburn – 13 | Georgia – 7 Nov. 12, 1983 It was not pretty by any means, but the 1983 Auburn Tigers were not necessarily interested in style points against the three-time defending SEC champions in their trip to Athens. The No. 3 Tigers headed into Sanford Stadium on the heels of back-to-back wins against Top 10 competition, and they were looking to make it three in a row in the game that decided the SEC Championship. Georgia, who was unbeaten and No. 4 in the country, had its eyes on a record fourth-straight conference title. While the backfield of Randy Campbell, Bo Jackson and Lionel James lit up the scoreboard against other schools, the Tigers were only able to get a short touchdown run from James and two field goals from Al Del Greco. Luckily for the offense, the Auburn defense only let the Georgia offense cross the 50-yard line three times the entire game. Auburn’s victory secured its first SEC title since the 1957 National Championship season, propelling this famous team to close victories over Alabama in the Iron Bowl and Michigan in the Sugar Bowl.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

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NUMBER 03

Auburn – 24 | Georgia – 6 Nov. 13, 2004 Here’s a quick college football trivia question: Which team became the first to win four games over Top 10 opponents in the same season? (If you guessed the 2004 Auburn Tigers, you either knew the answer or just glanced back up to the header.) Auburn’s third Top-10 foe of the season was the No. 8 Georgia Bulldogs, who entered the game on a modest two-game winning streak against the Tigers. But No. 3 Auburn took care of business inside its home stadium, shutting out senior quarterback David Greene and the rest of the Bulldog offense for the first 57 minutes of this 2004 showdown. The Auburn offense was led by running back Carnell “Cadillac” Williams, who turned in a complete performance against senior defensive lineman David Pollack and the Bulldogs defense. Williams opened things with a first-quarter touchdown run and later threw a halfback pass to Anthony Mix for a 29-yard score. Quarterback Jason Campbell hit Williams’s partner in crime, Ronnie Brown, on a 15-yard touchdown pass to give the Tigers a 24-0 lead in a delirious Jordan-Hare Stadium.

NUMBER 04

Auburn – 29 | Georgia – 26 (OT) Nov. 12, 2000 The 2000 Tigers hosted the No. 13 Bulldogs needing a victory to keep their hopes of a SEC Championship berth alive. Although they fell behind 13-3 in the first half, the Auburn offense rallied to take the lead in the fourth quarter of one of the series’ wildest games. Auburn quarterback Ben Leard tossed touchdowns to Reggie Worthy and Ronnie Daniels in the second half to pull his offense, led by Rudi Johnson’s 34-carry performance, ahead of the Bulldogs. But Georgia responded with a late score to tie the game at 23 and send the game into overtime, next to the famous “Miracle on the Plains” 4OT thriller in 1996 as the only games in the rivalry to go beyond the regular 60 minutes. The Tiger defense put the clamps down on Georgia in overtime, holding their rivals to a short field goal. On the ensuing possession, the offense marched all the way down to the 1-yard line. Leard punched the ball into the end zone with a quarterback keeper, sending Auburn to the 2000 conference title game in Atlanta.

NUMBER 05

Auburn – 49 | Georgia – 31 Nov. 13, 2010 How do you make more than 80,000 Auburn fans shake the foundation of Jordan-Hare Stadium? Just say these words over the public address system: “And at quarterback, from College Park, Ga., No. 2…Cam Newton.” After a week of speculation, investigation and suspension, Cam Newton was cleared to play in the 2010 edition of the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry. The Georgia native took full advantage of his clearance, throwing for two touchdowns and rushing for two more in a 299-yard performance against the Bulldogs. Despite Auburn’s success on offense, the defense struggled against first-year starting quarterback Aaron Murray and the Georgia passing attack. The Bulldogs were up 21-7 before an incredible second-half performance from Newton and defensive tackle Nick Fairley. While the offensive fireworks continued into the fourth quarter for Auburn, the Georgia offense grinded to a halt in the fourth quarter. The Tigers’ fourth-quarter shutout turned a tense game into a three-score victory.

9


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THE DEEP SOUTH’S OLDEST RIVALRY

When Georgia faces Auburn, it’s a true family feud Justin Ferguson assistant sports editor

When you play one team 116 times, you definitely are going to get to know the other side well. If students and alumni of Auburn University call themselves the Auburn Family, then those from the University of Georgia are definitely the in-laws. Former Auburn head coach Pat Dye once called the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry a game between brothers. “I don’t think anybody who plays in that game can ever forget it,” Dye once said. “It just doesn’t matter much where it’s played or what somebody’s record is. It’s so intense and tough, but at the same time, it’s family.” Dye is not the only key figure in the rivalry who had experience at both schools.

Legendary Georgia head coach and athletic director Vince Dooley was an Auburn graduate who later was an assistant on The Plains under Ralph “Shug” Jordan. Georgia hired Jordan to be an assistant football coach and head basketball coach before he came back to Auburn. Jordan called the rivalry game against Georgia his personal favorite during his time in Auburn. A historian of the game, Jordan once told a story of the rivalry’s early days, when Auburn’s Cliff Hare and Georgia’s Charles Herty were in charge of the schools’ budding athletic programs. “They would come to Dean Hare’s house on Gay Street in Auburn after the game in Columbus to divide the money,” Jordan said. “They would take the gate receipts out of an old cigar box, spread it on the kitchen table and say, ‘a dollar for you and

Game Day Dining

I was blessed with the opportunity to come here and play. I love being here. I’m just ready to go out there and pound up on (Georgia).” —Jonathan Mincy auburn cornerback and georgia native

a dollar for us,’ until the game proceeds were divided equally between the two schools.” While the money and popularity of college football has changed drastically since the days of Hare and Herty, the relationship between Auburn and Georgia has not.

Following in the footsteps of Dooley, Dye and Jordan, stars who played at one school became assistant coaches at the other. Current defensive line coach Rodney Garner, a former offensive lineman for the Tigers, joined Gus Malzahn’s staff this past offseason after 15 years on Mark Richt’s staff at Georgia. To add another element to the schools’ SEC rivalries, Georgia graduate Will Muschamp was a defensive coordinator at Auburn — and now is the head coach of the Florida Gators, a rival for both schools. For more than a few of Auburn’s current players, the rivalry carries an extra significance. Twenty-six of Auburn players are from Georgia, a state Auburn has heavily recruited in recent years. “I feel for everybody from Georgia it’s a personal game,” said Auburn

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cornerback Jonathan Mincy, a native of East Atlanta. “Just being able to play against people you know, it’s going to be a fun game and I’m excited to go out there and play.” And sometimes, like in the case of Mincy, players enter the game with extra motivation because the top dogs in their home state did not recruit them. “It is just really going out there and showing them what they missed out on,” Mincy said. “I was blessed with the opportunity to come here and play. I love being here. I’m just ready to go out there and pound up on (Georgia).” With the shadows of giants like Dye and Dooley hanging over players like Wright and Mincy, the 117th meeting of these two college football powerhouses has all the makings of another memorable family feud.

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Georgia vs. Auburn: Team depth charts offense Quarterback Nick Marshall - 14 Jeremy Johnson - 6 Running Back Tre Mason - 21 Corey Grant - 20 Cameron Artis-Payne - 44 H-Back Jay Prosch - 35 Gage Batten - 40 Wide Receivers Sammie Coates - 18 Jaylon Denson - 89 Quan Bray - 4 Ricardo Louis - 5 Tight End Brandon Fulse - 11 C.J. Uzomah - 81 Left Tackle Greg Robinson - 73 Shon Coleman - 72 Left Guard Alex Kozan - 63

offense Quarterback Aaron Murray - 11 Huston Mason - 14 Running Back Todd Gurley - 3 J.J. Green - 15 Brendan Douglas - 22 full Back Quayvon Hicks - 48 Merritt Hall - 43 Wide Receivers Michael Bennett - 82 Rantavious Wooten - 17 Rhett McGowan - 27 Chris Conely - 31 Kenneth Towns - 9 Jonathan Rumph - 18 Left Tackle Kentarious Gates - 72 Mark Beard - 79 Left Guard Dallas Lee - 64 Brandon Kublanow - 54

Devonte Danzey - 53 Center Reese Dismukes - 50 Tunde Fariyike - 65 Right Guard Chad Slade - 62 Jordan Diamond - 76 Right Tackle Avery Young - 56 Patrick Miller - 51

Defense Defensive End Dee Ford - 30 Elijah Daniel - 97 Def. Tackle Angelo Blackson - 98 Montravius Adams - 1 JaBrian Niles - 93 Def. Tackle Nosa Eguae - 94 Gabe Wright -90 Ben Bradley - 50 Center David Andrews - 61 Dallas Lee - 64 Right Guard Chris Burnette - 68 Watts Dantzler - 78 Right Tackle John Theus - 71 Kolton Houston - 75

Defense Defensive End Ray Drew - 47 Josh Dawson - 91 DefENSIVE Tackle Garrison Smith - 56 Chris Mayes - 93 Toby Johnson - 88 Defensive End Sterling Bailey - 58 John Taylor - 94 OUTSIDE Linebacker Leonard Floyd - 84

Defensive End LaDarius Owens - 10 Kenneth Carter - 92 Carl Lawson - 55 Middle Linebacker Jake Holland - 5 Kris Frost - 17 Will Linebacker Cassanova McKinzy - 8 Anthony Swain - 43 JaViere Mitchell - 16 Star Robenson Therezie - 27 Mackenro Alexander - 21 Cornerback Jonathan Mincy - 6 Jonathan Jones - 3 Free Safety Jermaine Whitehead - 9 Trent Fisher - 31 strong Safety Ryan Smith - 24 Ryan White - 19 Cornerback Chris Davis -11 Johnathan Ford - 23

special teams

James DeLoach - 89 INSIDE Linebacker Ramik Wilson - 51 Tim Kinbrough - 42 INSIDE Linebacker Amarlo Herrera - 52 Johnny O’Neal - 50 OUTSIDE Linebacker Jordan Jenkins - 59 Leonard Floyd - 84 cornerback Shaq Wiggins - 6 Brendan Langley - 4 Cornerback Damian Swann - 5 Sheldon Dawson - 2 Free Safety Quincy Mauger - 20 Tray Matthews - 28 strong Safety Josh Harvey-Clemons - 25 Corey Moore - 39 Connor Norman - 11

special teams

Place Kicker Cody Parkey - 36 Alex Carlson - 38 Punter Steven Clark - 30 Jimmy Hutchinson - 20 Deep Snapper Jake Lembke - 59 Forrest Hill - 48 Holder Ryan White - 19 Jonathan Wallace-12 Punt Returner Chris Davis - 11 Kick Returner Tre Mason - 21 Corey Grant - 20 Quan Bray - 4

Place Kicker Marshall Morgan - 13 Patrick Beless - 93 Punter Collin Barber - 32 Adam Erickson - 97 Deep Snapper Nathan Theus - 49 Trent Frix - 69 Holder Adam Erickson - 97 Lucas Redd - 24 Punt Returner Damian Swann - 5 Rhett McGowan - 27 Kick ReturneR Reggie Davis - 81 Sheldon Dawson - 2


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The Auburn Plainsman: Game Day Edition

Thursday, November 14, 2013

FRESHMAN FOCUS

Hard work pays off for Kozan Eric Wallace sports writer

contributed by todd van emst

Redshirt freshman guard Alex Kozan goes through blocking drills during practice earlier this season.

After a redshirt season, freshman guard Alex Kozan has become a “consistent, reliable” presence on an Auburn offensive line that is statistically one of the best in the country. “Kozan’s done a really good job for us,” said offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee. “I think his time with (strength and conditioning) Coach (Ryan) Russell has made him much more flexible and athletic. We’ve got a lot of confidence in Alex.” The 6-foot-4, 297 pound Kozan worked with Russell and offensive line coach J.B. Grimes this season to fine-tune the details of his game. Kozan said he was over-reliant on his size while playing high school ball in Castle Rock, Colo., something he couldn’t get by on in the SEC. “When I first got here, you have

to learn some things about how to play at this level,” Kozan said. “In high school, you’re pretty much bigger and stronger than every single opponent you go up against.” Kozan’s work with Russell and Grimes has not gone unnoticed by Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn. “He is a strong guy,” Malzahn said. “We were a little concerned about his mobility early, but he has answered that question. He has gotten a lot faster and quicker.” Teammates have also noticed Kozan’s work ethic, noting that it has paid off in a big way on the field. “I’m impressed with how much he’s done,” said junior offensive lineman Tunde Fariyike. “I’ve seen him in the weight room just busting his tail, and it’s showing on the field.” In addition to Kozan’s work in the weight room, coaches have praised the freshman’s intelligence

in quickly picking up the new scheme’s assignments. Considering that Kozan’s father is a nuclear engineer, it’s no surprise to hear such praise. “He’s smart enough to recognize when he has a deficiency,” said Grimes. “He looks at it and says `I’ve got a coach that can help me and I’m going to fix it.’” Kozan’s time at Auburn hasn’t been easy, as the coaching staff that recruited him to Auburn was fired before he ever saw the field. Through it all, Kozan said he was determined to make the best of the situation. “If you are willing to put in the extra time and watch the extra film, everything changes,” Kozan said. “I would never have guessed the whole coaching staff would be gone two years after they won the national championship. A lot of it is up to you and what you want to do with it.”

SENIOR SPOTLIGHT

Veteran Davis running full speed ahead in final season Graham Brooks Sports Writer

Before the 2013 season, Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn and special teams coach Scott Fountain were looking for someone to step up on special teams and emerge as a playmaker. Chris Davis, entering his senior season, has filled that special teams role as well as locking down his starting position at cornerback. Davis has battled through an ankle injury at the start of the 2013 season, which included him missing some playing time, but the senior has looked near 100 percent the past few games. In the Tigers’ trip to face Tennessee in Knoxville, Davis showed just how explosive he could be as a punt returner, giving Auburn some needed momentum in a game that was fairly close in the first half. With the score tied at 13 in the second quarter, Davis muffed a punt at the 15-yard line, but then picked it up and raced 85 yards for a touchdown.

RAYE MAY / PHOTO AND DESIGN ASSISTANT

Chris Davis runs an 85-yard punt return into the end zone for a touchdown against Tennessee.

“I saw that I still had time to pick it up and run with it,” Davis said. “Punt returners are going to drop the ball; you see it happen in the league, and you’ve still got a chance to take it to the house.”

Throughout his Auburn career, Davis has said he has been waiting for his chance to shine on special teams. With Malzahn taking over as head coach, he was given the opportunity this season.

“Chris Davis is a veteran guy and you could see he made some great moves,” Malzahn said. “He didn’t dance around, he made a couple of really great moves and had enough speed to take it to the house.” In addition to giving Auburn an edge on special teams, Davis is second on the team in total tackles with 47. He brings a physical presence to an Auburn defense that has improved to become one of the top red zone units in all of college football. Davis’ absence was noted by teammates when he missed playing time at the first part of the season. “Whenever Chris is on the field you get an extra spark on that island over there,” safety Josh Holsey said. “You know that teams really don’t like to throw his way because he’s really a lockdown corner.” Davis was eager to be back on the field after his injury and expressed his frustration on missing playing time. “It’s frustrating when you get hurt, but I’m just happy to be back here with my team, to contribute the best way I can,” Davis said.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

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The Auburn Plainsman: Game Day Edition

Sideline Snapshots

ANna Grafton / Photo editor

Tre Mason fights for the end zone Saturday.

Raye May / Photo and design assistant

Jonathan Mincy warms up before the Tennessee game.

Raye May / Photo and design assistant

Nick Marshall takes a read option for a touchdown.


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The Auburn Plainsman: Game Day Edition

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Auburn IN THE

No. 3:

Miami 20, Auburn 18

While Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers extended their impressive winning streak against several former Tigers from San Francisco, a few defensive players went This down season-opening with serious injuries. matchup between college football power-

Name (No.) Cam Newton (1) Karlos Dansby (55) Nick Fairley (98) Ben Grubbs (66) Josh Harris (47) Sen’Derrick Marks (99) Daren Bates (51) Ben Tate (44) Ronnie Brown (23) Josh Bynes (56) Jason Campbell (17) King Dunlap (77) Quentin Groves (54) Will Herring (54) Corey Lemonier (96) Jerraud Powers (25) Carlos Rogers (22) Pat Sims (90)

Team Carolina Panthers Arizona Cardinals Detroit Lions New Orleans Saints Atlanta Falcons Jacksonville Jaguars St. Louis Rams Houston Texans San Diego Chargers Baltimore Ravens Cleveland Browns San Diego Chargers Cleveland Browns New Orleans Saints San Francisco 49ers Arizona Cardinals San Francisco 49ers Oakland Raiders

houses filled with bad blood. Week 10was Statistics the No.yards 1 Tigers 199 When all-purpose vs.and SF the No. 10 Hurricanes met at Giants Seven tackles in win vs. HOU Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., it One sack vs. CHI was a battle between two sides that Started in win vs. DAL had rightful claim to the 1983 naStarted in loss vs. having SEA identical tional title. Despite One tackle in win vs. TEN records, “The U” jumped Auburn in Participated in win IND No. the final AP poll aftervs. defeating 561 rushing vs. ARIBowl. Nebraska yards in the Orange Unfortunately Auburn, Mi36 rushing yards for vs. DEN ami quarterback Bernie had Three tackles in OT winKosar vs. CIN oneWEEK, of the best gamesstarter of his career, BYE named andgame the defense that limited future Left with concussion Heisman winner Bo JacksonIR to less Placed on season-ending than 100 yards forced a late fumble Three tackles in win vs. DAL Participated in loss vs. CAR Three tackles in win vs. HOU Two tackles in loss vs. CAR Five tackles in loss vs. NYG

Pos. QB MLB DT G LS DT LB RB RB ILB QB T OLB OLB LB CB CB DT

carolinapanthers.com

Former Tiger Cam Newton attempts a pass against the San Francisco 49ers.

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PLAINSMAN PICKS Georgia vs. Auburn

Oct. 14th - Nov. 25th

Okla. State vs. Texas

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Kyle Van Fechtmann Sports Writer (51–15)

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