|Auburn hoping for turnaround against top rivals|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 11 November 2008 12:37|
All they have to do to ease the season's misery and wind up with a winning record and a much better mood is beat rival Nos. 2 and 1. More specifically, No. 13 Georgia and No. 1 Alabama.
There are some benefits to saving the biggest games for last, even if such a sweep seems a tall order for a team that just struggled to snap a four-game losing streak against Tennessee Martin.
``These are obviously the two biggest games of the year,'' Auburn center Jason Bosley said Tuesday. ``I think every year, our season's really defined by these two games, whether we're undefeated or struggling like we have been this year. This is what you come to Auburn for. If you can't get ready and get focused for these two games, then you've got a problem.''
Problems? The Tigers (5-5, 2-4 Southeastern Conference) have had a few of those, ranging from a sputtering offense to an uncharacteristically vulnerable defense.
Saturday with hopes of becoming bowl eligible and upsetting their biggest traditional out-of-state rival. Then it's the Iron Bowl on Nov. 29, the two games that can spoil or save a season for the Tigers.
``This one and the next one for us are huge,'' coach Tommy Tuberville said. ``You can put all the rest of them together and they don't match the intensity of these two when it comes to the players getting into the game.''
The Bulldogs are in a somewhat similar boat with closing games against Auburn in the Deep South's oldest rivalry and a rival from down the road, Georgia Tech.
Georgia is two games removed from a 49-10 loss to No. 3 Florida and just squeaked by Kentucky 42-38. The Bulldogs know how seriously even a struggling Auburn team takes this game.
``It's very dangerous,'' Georgia receiver Mohamed Massaquoi said. ``It's not going to be a game they're going to lay down by any means. I think that we're going to get nothing short of their best shot.''
This is a rivalry that after 111 meetings, Georgia's points lead is still just 45 points (1,730-1685). Before winning the last two games, the Bulldogs faced a two-point deficit.
oing the Soulja Boy dance in the fourth quarter while the song blared from the loudspeakers.
``That's been on my mind for the whole year,'' said Auburn receiver Rod Smith, a Georgia native. ``They even had whoever was calling the game - those guys were up in press box doing that (dancing). That got to me. It's just another opportunity to try to get them back for what they did to us last year. I've definitely been looking forward to this game. This is the game that's been marked on my calendar since last year.
``I'm sure it didn't sit well with any of the players on the team. It was a hurtful feeling in my heart to be on the sideline and to see those guys dancing.''
Tailback Brad Lester said he flips the radio dial whenever the song plays because of the memories it brings. Tristan Davis would like to do much more than that if he scores on a kick return. He says he's prepared to accept any punishment from strength coach Kevin Yoxall that comes as a result of his celebration.
``I've got something for them,'' said Davis, another Georgian who scored on a 95-yard return to open the Tennessee Martin game. ``Don't let me get in the end zone. If I score on a kickoff return against Georgia, I'm with Yox the rest of my life. I'm going to let it be known.''
defensive linemen Sen'Derrick Marks, Antonio Coleman and Tez Doolittle returned to practice Tuesday after sitting out the UT Martin game. ... The Tigers will wear stickers with the initials of Virgil Starks on their helmets. Starks was an associate athletic director who died after suffering a heart attack on his way home from the game last weekend.
AP Sports Writer Paul Newberry in Athens, Ga. contributed to this story.