for this game

Auburn blanks UL-Monroe in season opener

Aug 31, 2008 - 7:46 AM AUBURN, Alabama (Ticker) -- Auburn's new-look offense took quite a while to get on track. But thanks to a stingy defense, the Tigers had very little to worry about.

Ben Tate rushed for 115 yards Saturday night as 11th-ranked Auburn stymied Louisiana-Monroe en route to a 34-0 victory.

The game marked the regular-season unveiling of a spread offense orchestrated by new offensive coordinator Tony Franklin, who debuted with Auburn in last year's 23-20 victory over Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

The Tigers collected a season-high 423 yards in the overtime win, leading many to believe that Auburn - traditionally a defensive power - would be a more balanced team this season.

Franklin's unit struggled early, however, as Auburn did not score an offensive touchdown until the opening minute of the third quarter.

"There are definitely some things that I think we need to work on and get better," Tigers offensive lineman Tyronne Green said. "The offense ran some the first half, came out the second half and the tempo picked up and we started getting some big plays.

"Overall, there are a lot of things on offense that we need to work on and try to get better and come out fine-tuned next week at practice and get ready for Saturday's game against Southern Miss."

But the Tigers were sparked by a defense that returned seven starters from last season, when they allowed a Southeastern Conference-best 16.9 points per game.

Auburn's defense imposed its will right away, as defensive end Antonio Coleman sacked Kinsmon Lancaster on Louisiana-Monroe's first play from scrimmage. Lancaster fumbled the ball at his own 9-yard line, and defensive end Michael Goggans returned it all the way to open the scoring.

"I've been thinking about that big hit to start off the season," Coleman said. "I've even dreamed about it. I dreamed about it last night. That was the best way to start off a season."

Auburn (1-0) stalled on its next two offensive possessions. But the Tigers took a 14-0 lead when Robert Dunn scored on a 66-yard punt return with four seconds left in the first quarter.

"That's his first one," Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville said. "He is better running the ball straight ahead. We have worked real hard on our kicking game, and it obviously showed tonight."

The Tigers' offense finally found the end zone when Brad Lester scored on a 3-yard plunge just 52 seconds into the third quarter.

Quarterback Kodi Burns ran for 69 yards on just six carries, Eric Smith rushed for 66 yards and Lester had 52 for Auburn, which finished with 406 yards of total offense - 325 on the ground.

Burns struggled in the passing game, however, completing 4-of-9 attempts for just 15 yards. Chris Todd, who is competing with Burns for the starting job, finished 9-of-18 for 70 yards, one TD and one interception.

"The effort was good," Tuberville said. "We found out a little bit more of what we need to do on offense. We didn't get the ball up the field very well. We tried to force some things. (But) you win games on defense and special teams if you play hard."

Lancaster went 20-for-38 for 136 yards, as UL-Monroe (0-1) managed just 220 yards of total offense.

"Anytime you come out and get a turnover on the first play of the game, it is a disheartening experience," UL-Monroe head coach Charlie Weatherbie said. "I felt like it should have been 3-3 at the half; if we would have made (a) field goal and not given up the turnovers.

"We were going to come out strong in the second half, but we actually gave them 24 of their 34 points."








  • NCAAF FINAL
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    UL MONROE 0 0 0 0 0
    AUBURN (10) 14 3 10 7 34 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: AUBURN - TD, MICHAEL GOGGANS 9 YD FUMBLE
    RETURN (WES BYRUM KICK), 2:52.
    AUBURN 7-0
    AUBURN - TD, ROBERT DUNN 66 YD PUNT RETURN
    (WES BYRUM KICK), 14:56.
    AUBURN 14-0
    2ND QUARTER: AUBURN - FG, WES BYRU

    Aug 30 10:15 PM


  • NCAAF
    UL MONROE 0
    AUBURN (10) 34 2:27 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Louisiana-Monroe 0, Auburn(10) 34  4th - 2:27Aug 30 10:08 PM


  • NCAAF END, 3RD QTR
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    UL MONROE 0 0 0 0
    AUBURN (10) 14 3 10 27 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: AUBURN - TD, MICHAEL GOGGANS 9 YD FUMBLE
    RETURN (WES BYRUM KICK), 2:52.
    AUBURN 7-0
    AUBURN - TD, ROBERT DUNN 66 YD PUNT RETURN
    (WES BYRUM KICK), 14:56.
    AUBURN 14-0
    2ND QUARTER: AUBURN

    Louisiana-Monroe 0, Auburn(10) 27  End of 3rdAug 30 9:37 PM


  • NCAAF
    UL MONROE 0
    AUBURN (10) 24 12:10 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Louisiana-Monroe 0, Auburn(10) 24  3rd - 12:10Aug 30 9:06 PM


  • NCAAF HALFTIME
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    UL MONROE 0 0 0
    AUBURN (10) 14 3 17 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: AUBURN - TD, MICHAEL GOGGANS 9 YD FUMBLE
    RETURN (WES BYRUM KICK), 2:52.
    AUBURN 7-0
    AUBURN - TD, ROBERT DUNN 66 YD PUNT RETURN
    (WES BYRUM KICK), 14:56.
    AUBURN 14-0
    2ND QUARTER: AUBURN - FG,

    Louisiana-Monroe 0, Auburn(10) 17  HalfAug 30 8:34 PM


  • NCAAF END, 1ST QTR
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    UL MONROE 0 0
    AUBURN (10) 14 14 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: AUBURN - TD, MICHAEL GOGGANS 9 YD FUMBLE
    RETURN (WES BYRUM KICK), 2:52.
    AUBURN 7-0
    AUBURN - TD, ROBERT DUNN 66 YD PUNT RETURN
    (WES BYRUM KICK), 14:56.
    AUBURN 14-0

    Aug 30 7:44 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD AUBURN
    ROBERT DUNN 66 YD PUNT RETURN
    (WES BYRUM KICK)
    UL MONROE 0
    AUBURN (10) 14 0:04 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Louisiana-Monroe 0, Auburn(10) 14  1st - 0:04Aug 30 7:42 PM


  • NCAAF
    UL MONROE 0
    AUBURN (10) 7 12:08 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Louisiana-Monroe 0, Auburn(10) 7  1st - 12:08Aug 30 7:17 PM