NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The Auburn Tigers finally played the way
they thought they would all along.
Auburn, which tumbled from its No. 6 preseason ranking and out
of the Top 25 with losses to Southern Cal and Georgia Tech, didn't
kick into gear immediately against an overmatched school trying to
reform college sports by abolishing its athletic department.
But the Tigers (1-2, 1-0 SEC) scored 17 points in the second
quarter, and they never were threatened by a program that has lost
19 straight SEC games since November 2000 and 28 of its last 29.
"This is how we were supposed to have been playing from the
start," Tigers linebacker Karlos Dansby said. "Right now we're
just trying to get the team chemistry right."
Auburn rolled up 483 yards total offense, more than the first
two games combined, compared to 221 yards for Vanderbilt (1-2,
0-2). The defense added three turnovers and four sacks.
"We just needed something good to happen," Auburn coach Tommy
Tuberville said. "We needed to make big plays, and we did."
The Tigers didn't shake their hangover immediately.
They started with two penalties on their first three plays from
scrimmage. The offensive line, confused about what down it was,
started running toward the sideline on third-and-30.
Auburn even missed two field goals, a 51-yarder and a 23-yarder,
wide right on the same drive.
But the Commodores couldn't move the ball either, getting just
two first downs in the first half with 55 yards offense.
"We couldn't get our offense going," Vandy coach BobbyJohnson
said. "And our defense was on the field too much. That's due to
turning the ball over to Auburn too many times. It seemed like we
were punting the ball on every other down."
The Tigers, who had scored only a field goal this season,
finally found the end zone at 12:03 of the second quarter. Campbell
found McIntyre on a screen pass to the right, and he broke away
from three Commodores and ran in for a 31-yard TD play.
"Once we got in the end zone, we picked up our rhythm,"
Campbell said. "We picked up a lot of tempo. We were really
That was the break Auburn needed, and the Tigers drove 64 yards
on the next possession for a 14-0 lead as Carnell Williams dove
across from 3 yards out to make sure he got into the end zone.
"It's been a while since I have scored," Williams said. "I've
been waiting for it, and we got down to the red zone. I could taste
it. It was just a big relief."
From there, Auburn kept working out the kinks. McIntyre broke
away from a defender for a 67-yard TD in the third quarter. Ronnie
Brown also scored on a 1-yard run, and Tre Smith added TD runs of 1
and 10 yards in the fourth for the final margin.
Campbell was 12-of-19 for 220 yards, and Auburn had three
running backs rush for at least 50 yards, led by Williams who had
19 carries for 69 yards.
The Commodores had a very scary moment in the second quarter
when Dan Murphy was hurt blocking on a kickoff return. Trainers
strapped him carefully to a backboard, while both the Vandy offense
and the Auburn defense kneeled yards away and prayed.
Murphy's parents even came out on the field while he was placed
on a stretcher. He was taken to the university's medical center and
diagnosed with a severe concussion. He rejoined the team by the end
of the game.