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Tigers first SEC team to win game

12/31/2003

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Auburn Tigers finished the season the way they had hoped to open 2003.

Carnell "Cadillac" Williams and Ronnie Brown scored in the
last four minutes, and each finished with two rushing touchdowns,
leading Auburn to a 28-14 victory over Wisconsin on Wednesday in
the Music City Bowl.

Jason Campbell added a season-high 67 yards on nine carries, and
went 10-for-22 for 138 yards. The Tigers also had six sacks and
forced two turnovers in winning their second straight game and
second consecutive bowl game under coach Tommy Tuberville, who
improved his postseason record at Auburn to 2-2.

Not bad for a team that lost its first two games after being
ranked sixth in the preseason and survived an embarrassing attempt
by the university president at replacing Tuberville.

"We showed our poise and our unity as a team," Brown said.
"We went through a lot this season and had a lot to deal with. For
us to be able to put our distractions behind us and come out and
win the Iron Bowl and then come win our bowl game was real exciting
for us."

Auburn (8-5) became the first Southeastern Conference team to
win the Music City Bowl, ending an 0-5 run that included four
losses to Big East schools and one to a Big Ten team.

"We wanted to come out and play hard especially for the
coaching staff since they have been through so much the last few
months," Campbell said.

The Badgers (7-6), trying to give coach Barry Alvarez his 100th
victory at Wisconsin, dropped to 7-2 in bowls under Alvarez, primarily because they failed to stop Auburn's running game or protect quarterback Jim Sorgi, who was hit repeatedly.

"I wasn't worried about 100," Alvarez said. "When you're
playing an SEC team, you're just trying to compete."

Auburn rolled up 197 yards on the ground and finished with 354
total yards. The Tigers, who had been ranked sixth nationally on
defense, limited Wisconsin to its worst performance this season
with 261 total yards.

"We were flying around today," Auburn linebacker Karlos Dansby
said. "We were out there having fun. That was a great experience.
That was how every game was supposed to be this year."

Wisconsin tied the game at 14 with 8:52 left when Sorgi found
his favorite target, Lee Evans, on a 12-yard touchdown pass. Evans,
an All-Big Ten receiver, reached over Auburn cornerback Carlos Rogers and pulled in the ball.

The Badgers forced Auburn to punt, but Will Herring intercepted
a pass by Sorgi that was tipped away from Evans by Rogers. Alvarez
wasn't happy that his Badgers allowed Campbell to find Jeris McIntyre for a 51-yard completion after backing Auburn up to its 15
on third-and-8. Three plays later, Brown scored on a 2-yard run
with 3:30 left for a 21-14 lead.

Auburn, which came in with the nation's sixth-stingiest defense,
sacked Sorgi for the fifth time on the next series and knocked the
ball loose. The Tigers recovered at the Wisconsin 6, and Williams
scored two plays later on his second 1-yard TD run.

This game featured an Atlantic Coast Conference officiating
crew, led by referee Jack Childress, who worked the Florida-Florida
State game last month in which the ACC commissioner admitted last
week that the crew missed some calls. They missed a couple
Wednesday.

On one play, Williams lost the ball near the goal line, and the
replay clearly showing the fumble before his knee hit the ground.
Wisconsin recovered, but officials ruled Williams was down. He
scored three plays later on a 1-yard dive for a 14-6 lead with 1:32
left in the third.

"I did believe that's a fumble," Alvarez said. "When the ball
comes out, and the player isn't down, that's a fumble."

Auburn tried to shake things up on offense from the outset, with
Williams throwing his first pass of his career to McIntyre, a
wobbly toss for a 19-year gain on the Tigers' first snap. The
Tigers also used the option and even went to a five receiver
formation.

But the Tigers couldn't get anything going until they went back
to what they do best: running the ball. Brown did just that as he reeled off his longest of the season, a 29-yarder, and he later scored on a 1-yard run for a 7-3 lead.

Wisconsin had its chances early and had first-and-goal at the
Auburn 9 in the second quarter. But the Tigers sacked Sorgi, and
the Badgers were flagged for their second delay of the half before
settling for a 20-yard field goal by Mike Allen and a 3-0 lead.