8:45 PM ET, September 3, 2005
Jordan-Hare Stadium, AUBURN, AL
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) -- Auburn clearly is not the team it was in 2004.
Georgia Tech intercepted Brandon Cox four times in the second half for a 23-14 opening victory Saturday night and once again played the spoiler against the 16th-ranked Tigers.
Auburn little resembled last season's 13-0 team that finished No. 2 nationally and loudly complained about its omission from the title game before sending backfield stars Jason Campbell, Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown into the first round of the NFL draft.
The Tigers' winning streak, the nation's third longest, ended at 15 games, hours after both Southern California (23) and Utah (17) kept their streaks going.
"We made a lot of mistakes we shouldn't have," Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said.
They sure did.
And Georgia Tech was too strong of an opening opponent to let the Tigers get away with it. The Yellow Jackets, who beat two ranked teams last season, also sent Auburn to a lowpoint of its troubled 2003 season with a 17-3 win.
They were confident they wouldn't be another victim in Auburn's streak.
"Everybody outside the locker room thought that was going to happen," Georgia Tech coach Chan Gailey said. "The only people who thought we were going to win are in that locker room."
P.J. Daniels ran for 111 yards and a touchdown and Travis Bell kicked a 21-yard field goal with 1:32 left, his second of the fourth quarter.
The Yellow Jackets one-upped the nation's top scoring defense of last year, allowing Cox to pass for 342 yards in his first Auburn start but forcing him into costly mistakes with a blitzing defense that never allowed the Tigers' running game to get untracked.
"For a while there we were giving up too many short passes and they started to get into a flow," said Gerris Wilkinson, who set up the decisive field goal with a 33-yard interception return. "Toward the end, we got a lot of turnovers -- that's what saved us."
Bell locked up the win with a 28-yard field goal with 1:32 remaining. It was the Yellow Jackets' third pick in Auburn territory.
Reggie Ball passed for 174 yards and a touchdown for Georgia Tech.
Auburn managed 40 yards rushing in that 2003 game and just 50 this time, the fewest since then.
Cox was 22-of-44 passing with two touchdowns, but lost a late fumble in addition to the four interceptions. Auburn's failure to establish a running game made life tougher for the sophomore's much-anticipated debut.
"He looked great tonight. He had some mistakes, and some of the mistakes were not his fault," Tuberville said. "We needed to be a better running team to stretch them out. We just have to take it a little at a time and run the ball better to help balance our passing game."
Cox insisted he wasn't suffering from a bad case of nerves after the former Alabama Mr. Football waited three years for his shot.
"It was more adrenaline than anything. I wasn't nervous. I was just ready to go," he said. "It was a great experience to be out there tonight. I just have to learn not to make mistakes."
The Tigers self-destructed late, compounding Cox's third interception with a personal foul and 15-yard facemask penalty midway through the fourth.
Joe Anoai struck Cox's arm just as he was throwing and KaMichael Hall snagged the wobbly pass deep in Georgia Tech territory.
The 30 yards in penalties gave the Yellow Jackets the ball at Auburn's 36 but the drive went backward thanks to a penalty and a sack.
Auburn was nearing field-goal position when Cox threw two of his interceptions and another set up a 21-yard field goal by Bell with 10:16 to play.
Trailing 17-14, the Tigers got no points out of two long drives in the third quarter, with one drive ending on downs and another on an interception by Dawan Landry.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Travis Bell nailed a 28-yard field goal with 1:32 left to put the Yellow Jackets up by nine.
Gameball goes to... the Georgia Tech defense. The Jackets held Auburn to 50 yards rushing and picked off four passes.
Stat of the game... 15: The Yellow Jackets went into Jordan-Hare Stadium and ended the Tigers' 15-game winning streak.
The Fan Pick
5.5% of College Pick'em players picked Georgia Tech to win the game.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||7-15||4-11|
|4th Down Conversions||0-0||0-1|
|TD||12:30||CALVIN JOHNSON 35 YD PASS FROM REGGIE BALL (TRAVIS BELL KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 65 yards.
|FG||5:29||TRAVIS BELL 32 YD FG|
Drive info: 12 plays, 62 yards.
|TD||14:17||DEVIN AROMASHODU 39 YD PASS FROM BRANDON COX (JOHN VAUGHN KICK)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 78 yards.
|TD||1:48||P.J. DANIELS 2 YD RUN (TRAVIS BELL KICK)|
Drive info: 12 plays, 77 yards.
|TD||0:41||BEN OBOMANU 15 YD PASS FROM BRANDON COX (JOHN VAUGHN KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 61 yards.
|FG||10:16||TRAVIS BELL 21 YD FG|
Drive info: 7 plays, 14 yards.
|FG||1:32||TRAVIS BELL 28 YD FG|
Drive info: 6 plays, 9 yards.