Auburn, Ala.--For the Auburn offense Saturday’s game is a big one for obvious reasons. Facing one of the nation’s top defenses with a berth in the SEC Championship Game on the line, the Tigers will be challenged to keep it rolling offensively, but this one goes even deeper than that for the Tigers.
Falling 49-0 last season in Tuscaloosa and 42-14 in 2011 with the touchdowns coming on a kickoff return from Onterio McCalebb and a fumble recovery by Kenneth Carter, Auburn’s offense has been held scoreless in the last 120 minutes vs. the Crimson Tide and has just 303 total yards during that span.
That could be a reason for extra motivation this week for players like C.J. Uzomah and his teammates on offense, but the Tigers have had a saying all season that "it’s a new day" and they have followed that theme week in and week out. Even in the biggest game of the year Uzomah said it’s all about this season and not looking back.
“I don't think we're going to take it too personal,” the junior said. “Obviously, the past is the past and we feel like we've been doing a great job offensively running the ball, passing the ball when we need to in clutch situations so I think we feel confident in our offense. We're going to do what we do.”
That means running the football and trying hit big plays in the passing game against a defense allowing just 9.3 points per game. Take out the 42 points that Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M put up on the Crimson Tide in September and Nick Saban’s defense has given up just 60 points in the remaining 10 games. While that is a daunting number, Uzomah said the approach isn't going to change for the Auburn offense.
“We're going to have to play four quarters,” Uzomah said. “We kind of took our foot off the gas against Georgia and kind of let our guard down thinking we had the game in the bag and we didn't. It's a four-quarter game and I thought we came on really strong, but we're going to have to play all four quarters. Start off strong and finish strong against them because they are a really good team. If we let up for a second, they'll be right back in it.”
C.J. Uzomah makes a touchdown catch vs. Tennessee.
A veteran of two Iron Bowl games and an important part of Auburn’s offense with a pair of touchdown receptions this year in additon to becoming an improved blocker, Uzomah knows the importance of this game despite not being from the state. Noting that you learn quickly what this rivalry means at Auburn, he said for this team the rankings and everything else goes out the window because in the end it’s another chance to improve and compete against the best and that’s all they ever wanted.
“We feel like we've had a great season thus far, but we aren't satisfied,” Uzomah noted. “We want to win this game and I think this will be a measuring stick of how we've grown as a team, where we are and where we want to head.”
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