Auburn defense leads Tigers past Vanderbilt, 31-6

AP/Todd J Van Emst

The Auburn Tigers defeated the Vanderbilt Commodores 31-6 on a gusty, sometimes rainy day in an SEC game played at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala. The Tigers used big plays on defense to hold off the scrappy Commoodores. Two fumbles and two interceptions spelled disaster for Vanderbilt. The loss dropped Vanderbilt to 1-2, (0-1 SEC), on the young season. Auburn improved to 2-1, (1-0 SEC).

Auburn took the lead with 5:58 left in the first quarter when Carlos Dansby returned Vanderbilt quarterback Jay Cutler's fumble 7 yards for an Auburn touchdown. On the Tigers' first possession Vanderbilt's Justin Giboney had blocked an Auburn field goal attempt.

Auburn struck again with 8 seconds left in the first quarter when running back Carnell Williams scored from 23 yards out to give the Tigers a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.  The Tigers outgained Vanderbilt 123-5 in the initial quarter.

The Commodores got on the board with 10:33 left in the first half when freshman place kicker Greg Johnson booted a field goal from 32 yards to make it Auburn 14 Vanderbilt 3.

Vanderbilt drove deep into Auburn territory on a 12-play, 74-yard drive near the end of the half but had to settle for another Johnson field goal, this time from 28 yards to bring the score to Auburn 14, Vanderbilt 6 at the half.

At halftime Vanderbilt had 10 first downs to Auburn's 9.  The Tigers outgained the Commodores 214-173 in total yardage. 

After Vanderbilt's initial possession of the second half stalled due to penalties, Auburn drove to the Commodore 18 but had to settle for a Damon Duval field goal to make it Auburn 17, Vanderbilt 6, with 4:02 left in the third quarter.

After Jay Cutler threw his second interception of the day, the Tigers struck again when Carnell Williams scored on a 65-yard run to make it Auburn 24, Vanderbilt 6 with 1:36 left in the third quarter.

With 12:32 left in the game Jay Cutler coughed up his second fumble of the day after being sacked. The fumble was returned by Auburn's Spencer Johnson for a touchdown to make the final score 31-6.

After the game, in an interview with the Vanderbilt ISP Sport Network, Vanderbilt Head Coach Bobby Johnson had these comments: "It's one of them games where if we do things more efficiently and do them right we got a chance to win the football game.  I was proud of the way our guys played.  They played hard and gave their very best effort."

Both teams visit the state of Mississippi for their next game. Vanderbilt travels to Oxford to face the Ole Miss Rebels.  Auburn goes to Starkville to tangle with the Bulldogs of Mississippi State.

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