No. 3 Auburn 16, No. 9 Virginia Tech 13 - Game Notes
Published: Tuesday, January 4, 2005 at 6:34 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 4, 2005 at 6:34 a.m.
NEW ORLEANS - Auburn defensive players knew they needed to be aware of Virginia Tech quarterback Bryan Randall's scrambling ability.
After seeing the Rose Bowl last weekend, the Tigers were convinced that preventing long quarterback runs should be their primary concern.
"Watching Michigan against Texas, we knew Randall could do similar things to Vincent Young," said Auburn safety Junior Rosegreen, recalling that Young ran for nearly 200 yards and four touchdowns in the Longhorns' victory over the Wolverines.
"We contained Randall because he wanted to run a lot, and that's how we were able to take their offense out of their rhythm," Rosegreen said. "We put pressure on him. All 11 were hitting him, not just one man."
That included one spectacular tackle inside the Auburn 10 in which Randall, trying to scramble for a score, soon found his feet up in the air and his head about to hit the Superdome turf after a spectacular hit from Carlos Rogers.
"We dominated the game, the whole time," Rosegreen said. "They were trying all the trick plays in the book and we were standing our ground."
Rosegreen, a senior, made his last game one of his finest. In the first half, he had an interception, then later defended Tech's failed fourth-and-goal passing play. In the fourth quarter, Rosegreen tipped a ball to teammate Derrick Graves for another interception.
FOND FAREWELL:@ The Sugar Bowl marked the end of very successful careers for 18 Auburn seniors who finished with a 15-game winning streak spanning the past two seasons.
They also helped Auburn win three straight bowls for the first time since the 1982 through `84 seasons.
"I kind of felt like shedding a tear," running back Ronnie Brown said after Auburn's 16-13 victory over Virginia Tech on Monday night left them 13-0. "I have learned so much and grown so much ... this is a great way to go out."
Brown ran for 2,707 career yards to go with Carnell Williams' 3,831. The tandem routinely combined for 100-yard games and helped Auburn grind down opponents.
"I can't remember when I was a freshman," Williams said. "Now this is it. It's hard to believe."
Quarterback Jason Campbell said his career at Auburn was like living out a dream. This season, he became the first Auburn quarterback since Heisman Trophy winner Pat Sullivan in 1971 to throw 20 TD passes in a season.
Auburn had four victories over opponents ranked in the Top 10 at the time the games were played this season _ and nine such victories since 2002.
Other seniors who were major contributors included Junior Rosegreen and Derrick Graves.
"You know, this team is a special team ... an ideal model for college football," coach Tommy Tuberville said.
One area where Auburn will have experienced players back next season is receiver.
"The young quarterback who steps into this position _ he's going to have some leaders around him who are going to make some plays," Campbell said.
ANOTHER ORANGE BOWL:@ Although Auburn was left out of the Orange Bowl, where USC and Oklahoma will decide the BCS champion, the Tigers played in what literally looked like a giant orange bowl at the Superdome.
Auburn and Virginia Tech both use a similar bright orange as part of their color schemes, and the resulting confusion was good for a few laughs. One Auburn devotee called out the school's "War Eagle" chant to a group of fans in orange shirts, only to realize they were Tech supporters when they yelled back, "Roll Tide," a reference to Auburn's archrival, Alabama.
Tigers fan Trey Laubenthall stood outside the Superdome having a friendly chat with a Virginia Tech backer also wearing the same shade of orange. But Laubenthall noted that Auburn fans like himself had a feature on their shirts that Virginia Tech fans lacked, then pointed to a list of Auburn's 2004 opponents on his back.
"We've got 12-0," Laubenthall said.
MONEY, MONEY, MONEY:@ After lobbying whichever Associated Press Poll voters would listen to rank his team first, Tommy Tuberville said he still would not favor a several-round playoff.
But he said he couldn't imagine why there would be resistance to adding one extra game in cases such as this season, when undefeated teams are likely to finish ranked first and second in both the BCS and AP poll after the bowls are complete.
"There's no reason we shouldn't play one more game ... and make millions of dollars and split it all up, because that's what it's all about anyway," Tuberville said.
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