Seniors Preparing for Emotional Home Finale

Nosa Eguae

News and notes on the Auburn football Tigers are featured as they prepare for Saturday's Iron Bowl in what will be the final game at Jordan-Hare Stadium for the seniors.

Auburn, Ala.--Monday is normally an off-day for Auburn during football season, but that wasn't the case for Coach Gus Malzahn's Tigers, who had off-the-field meetings and on-the-field drills in preparation for Saturday's showdown with in-state rival Alabama.

With no classes to attend because Auburn students are on a week-long Thanksgiving break the Tigers devoted their full attention to scheming on how to defeat No. 1 ranked Alabama. The Tide will arrive at Jordan-Hare Stadium with an 11-0 record.

Auburn, which is 10-1, controls its destiny for a spot in the SEC Championship Game. If the Tigers, who are ranked No. 4 this week, can knock off the Tide they will play either Missouri or South Carolina at the Georgia Dome on Dec. 7th for the league championship.

Malzahn said the coaching staff is going to do its best to keep doing what has been working for a team that has won seven consecutive games. Malzahn noted there is no need for any special motivation for the Iron Bowl. "We are going to keep doing exactly what we have done," he said. "We are not going to change everything as far as that goes."

He also noted his staff is sweating the details so it can to give the Tigers the best chance to win. "Our coaches are very driven and we understand that we are going to have to do our best job and our players are going to have to do their best job, too," Malzahn said.

Saturday's game will be Senior Day for the Tigers, who will honor those players in a pre-game ceremony. The group is not a large one this year. Fullback Jay Prosch is the lone scholarship senior on offense.

Defensively, the Tigers feature five seniors in the starting lineup with Chris Davis at cornerback, Nosa Eguae at tackle, Dee Ford at end, Jake Holland at middle linebacker and Ryan Smith at safety.

Other seniors who see playing time on defense include lineman Kenneth Carter, end Craig Sanders and defensive back Ryan White. White, Sanders and Carter all have starting experience for a team that has 45 players on the roster who have started one or more games for the Tigers.

Kicker Cody Parkey and punter Steven Clark are also seniors.

Cody Parkey has developed into one of the top kickers in Auburn history.

"This group has really provided great leadership so it will be a very emotional time at the first of the game," Malzahn said. "It couldn't be any better for the Iron Bowl.

"I am kind of one of those guys who always puts it on the seniors," the coach added. "It is their last year, they have been through the wringers, they know the experiences and it their last hurrah. This group has done a great job of stepping up and bringing the others up to the level we need."

Eguae and fellow fifth-year senior Ford lead the Tigers in most games played in their college careers. Eguae has been in 50, one more than Ford. Eguae is the leader in games started with 40, six more than junior center Reese Dismukes.

Eguae pointed out he is looking forward to Saturday in what will be the biggest game he has played in since he was on the field for Auburn's BCS title game victory over Oregon. "This is what you dream about as a little kid, going out like this," he said. "Going out in front of 88,000, it doesn't get much better than that.

"I'm going to soak it all in. I'm going to enjoy the time I have out there with my family before the game, but when that ball kicks off it's go time," Eguae said. "It's time to go out there and get a win for Auburn."

Asked how the 2013 team compares to the national championship squad he played on, Eguae replied, "It's hard to say. I'm not a guy who likes to compare different teams from this and that.

"For us we're the 2013 Auburn football team. We hang our hat on that. It means a lot to us. We're playing for each other. We are doing everything that you want a football team to do and that the fans want to see.

Nosa Eguae

"We're just the Auburn 2013 football team," the senior added. "We're priding ourselves on that and we can't wait to finish this thing the right way."

Commenting on the 2010 Tigers, who posted a 14-0 mark, Eguae said, "Back then we had a great group of seniors--we really did. The list goes on and on with the Zach Claytons and the Mike Blancs, the guys that maybe weren't the big-time names, but those guys led.

"Going to this year I feel like we've got the same group of guys," Eguae added. "We've got a good group of seniors, and I said that at the beginning. It means a lot to us. The thing that is big is that the guys under us are playing for us and we're playing for them. We're just playing for each other. That's what you want on a football team."

In other news and notes:

*The Tigers are expected to have on-the-field practices Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and a walk-through of the game plan on Friday. Malzahn said the Tigers will practice early on Thanksgiving Day to give players the chance to spend time with their families. Players who can't do that will have Thanksgiving dinner at the homes of the coaching staff.

*Alabama leads the series vs. Auburn 42-34-1 and has a two-game winning streak vs. the Tigers. Auburn holds a 7-4 advantage in games played at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

*Saturday's game will be the 12th time the Tigers have faced a team ranked No. 1 nationally. The Tigers are 3-8 in those contests with a 1-2 mark at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The last time the Tigers played the No. 1 team in a home game was in 2001 when AU defeated Florida 23-20.

*This is the sixth time the Tigers and Tide have met with both teams ranked in the Top 10. Each side has won three of those matchups. Auburn won the first of those games, 10-8 in 1963, and the most recent, 28-27, in 2010. With Alabama No. 1 and Auburn No. 4, Saturday's game will feature the highest combined rankings for the two teams going into the Iron Bowl.

*Saturday's game features the second best combined record for the Iron Bowl teams behind the 1994 game that Alabama won 21-14 in Birmingham when Alabama was 10-0 and Auburn was 9-0-1.

*Alabama is the fifth Top 25 team the Tigers have faced. After losing to No. 6 LSU the Tigers defeated No. 24 Ole Miss 30-22, No. 7 Texas A&M 45-41 and No. 25 Georgia 43-38.

*Alabama has victories over three ranked teams--49-42 over No. 6 Texas A&M, 25-0 over No. 21 Ole Miss and 38-17 vs. No. 10 LSU.

*Saturday's game will kick off shortly after 2:30 p.m. CDT and will be televised nationally on CBS. Prior to the game ESPN's Gameday show will originate from the Auburn campus on a set located outside the east stands at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

*Radio coverage is available on Sirius and XM?channels 91 and the game will also be telecast on the Sports Radio USA Network.

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