STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The joyful noise crept underneath the opening under the locker room door late Thursday night. When it hit the open air, it burst forth and shattered the silence at Scott Field.
Inside the locker room, the Auburn Tigers Choir harmonized. Seventy players locked arms and channeled
They thought it fortuitous that during their loosely organized choir practice Wednesday night, backup quarterback
"That's what we've got to do all year," Auburn defensive tackle
Saturday, Auburn's offense looked unstoppable. Quarterback
"We put the defense in some binds," said Newton, who threw for 136 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 70 yards. "I'm not going to lie."
The biggest bind came late in the fourth quarter. Auburn, playing without left tackle
Now the offense really had to lean on the defense.
Auburn's offensive linemen understood perfectly the problem their Mississippi State counterparts faced Thursday. It was Fairley, the 6-5, 298-pound junior who finished the night with five tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss, three quarterback hurries, a fumble recovery and the interception that set up Auburn's second touchdown.
As Fairley worked, the o-linemen from the Loveliest Village on the Plains could do nothing but stand on the sideline and yell. They screamed for Fairley, the guy they always complain about in practice because he knows the plays and jumps the snap count. Fairley didn't know Mississippi State's plays, but he blasted into the backfield all the same. When he dragged down Bulldogs quarterback
Then Relf, who had converted a fourth down three plays earlier, fired over the middle for
On the sideline, the offense sank. Those Tigers knew they had squandered opportunities to score. They prepared for overtime. In the backs of their minds, they worried Mississippi State might plow down the field and put the Tigers in an 0-1 SEC hole. But Fairley kept fighting toward Relf. Bell and Etheridge locked down their receivers. Bynes brought pressure from unexpected places. Relf threw four consecutive incomplete passes. When the fourth hit the ground, the sideline exploded. Receivers coach
"It was a great something to build on," Auburn coach
As the cowbells at Scott Field finally fell silent, the Tigers jogged up a ramp and into their locker room. After Chizik finished talking, the choir assembled.
"That's our theme song," receiver