AUBURN, Ala. (AP) -- Auburn's offense produced points and the
no-name defense didn't allow any, a flip-flop from last season's
Jason Campbell passed for two touchdowns and Carnell Williams
ran for 103 yards as the Tigers (No. 18 ESPN/USAToday; No. 17 AP) unveiled a new offense
in a 31-0 victory over Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday.
The Tigers' West Coast offense sputtered at times but still
fared better than in last year's opening shutout defeat to Southern
California that set the stage for a disappointing season.
"It's good to come out here and have a little warmup game and
see where we're at," Auburn safety Junior Rosegreen said. "Last
year, I think we just jumped into the fire with no time to
It wasn't quite the offensive showcase Auburn fans were hoping
for against the overmatched Sun Belt Conference team, but the
Tigers saved much of their playbook for Southeastern Conference
"We were pretty vanilla today offensively," coach Tommy
Tuberville said. "That was just a small glimpse of this offense."
It was a bigger glimpse of Williams, who played into the fourth
quarter but never broke a long gain.
He carried 23 times and caught a 9-yard touchdown pass but was
mostly contained by a swarming Louisiana-Monroe defense geared
toward stopping the run.
"They were playing hard out there," receiver Courtney Taylor
said. "Carnell came to the sideline and he was like, 'Hey, I break
away from one and they come at me with two or three more."'
Auburn's defense had to replace five starters in its front
seven, including most of its stars, but still managed its first
shutout since the opener two years ago against Western Carolina.
Starting cornerback Montae Pitts was also suspended for the game
for violation of team policy before the game, but it didn't matter
in this one.
The Tigers improved to 12-0 against Sun Belt teams, allowing few
yards after the catch against the Indians' short passing game.
"We really went in with new faces, so we really don't have an
identity on defense," linebacker Travis Williams said. "Right
now, we're trying to find our identity."
Louisiana-Monroe's Steven Jyles was 16-of-22 passing for only 96
yards with an interception. The Indians had only one pass play over
11 yards, and that 22-yarder came late.
"I don't know if it was how well their defense played or how
poorly we played," Louisiana-Monroe coach Charlie Weatherbie said.
"It was probably a combination.
"They manhandled us up front."
The Tigers showed a little more ability to get the ball
downfield, including Campbell's 32-yard touchdown pass to Devin
Aromashodu early in the third quarter after the defender tripped.
Campbell was 11-of-18 for 110 yards but lost a fumble and threw
an interception, splitting time with redshirt freshman Brandon Cox.
Cox ran for a 14-yard touchdown after hitting Taylor for a
39-yarder on his first pass, the longest gain for either team.
Ronnie Brown also ran for a 30-yard touchdown in the third
New Auburn coordinator Al Borges' offense scored on its first
three possessions to build a 17-0 lead and was marching again when
Campbell was picked off by Shelton Williams deep in
Louisiana-Monroe territory after getting hit as he threw.
Williams returned it 42 yards across midfield but the drive
ended in the first of two missed field goals for the Indians, who
also lost their last five games in 2003.
Louisiana-Monroe found a few more positives than from last
year's 70-3 defeat that was a low point in a 1-11 season.
"Games against ranked teams will make you or break you," said
Jyles, who missed last year's game because of a death in the
family. "We came in to see what we had as a team this season. It
lets us know where we stand. If we can compete with Auburn, we can
win our conference and compete with any team."
Auburn revamped an offense that didn't produce a touchdown in
the first two games last season but it's clearly still geared
toward the run. The Tigers ran 41 times for 194 yards.
"We didn't hit on all cyliners on the offense at all times, but
it was a steady game," Tuberville said. "We got the job done."
Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher hopes quarterback Sean Maguire is ready to go full speed by the middle of June.
Graduate transfer quarterback Davis Webb has officially joined California, giving the Golden Bears an experienced option to replace No. 1 overall NFL draft pick Jared Goff.
First-year football coach Dino Babers, hired by former Syracuse AD Mark Coyle, is on the committee that will search for Coyle's replacement.
Hugh Freeze has some major holes to fill on offense with the departures of Laremy Tunsil and Laquon Treadwell, but there is Chady Kelly and good depth.
After transferring in from Montana State, Dakota Prukop has a checklist he's working from as he prepares to compete for the Oregon job.
The destination for Week 6 of the Big 12 Ultimate Road Trip is unanimous, as all three conference reporters would head to the Red River Rivalry.