AUBURN, Ala. — Quarterback Chris Todd threw a pair of touchdowns in a 26-21 loss to Alabama on Friday, setting Auburn’s single-season record for most touchdown passes in a season.
Todd has 21 this year, one more than Jason Campbell threw in 2004 and Pat Sullivan did in 1971.
“It’s really a thing where I think it’s great for the offense,” Todd said. “I think it’s great for Auburn. I really have to give the credit to, first of all, our offensive line. They played great all year. The receivers stepped up and made plays and really our running game. I think it’s good for Auburn moving forward.”
Todd’s first Friday was a 1-yard pass to H-back Eric Smith in the first quarter. He set the mark when he threw a pump fake and hit receiver Darvin Adams in stride for a 72-yard touchdown pass on a double move in the third quarter.
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Todd, a senior, battled shoulder problems last season, finishing with 903 passing yards and five touchdowns to six interceptions.
After undergoing offseason surgery, he has 2,377passing yards this year, with 21 touchdowns and six interceptions
Zac leads the pack
As promised, injured safety Zac Etheridge was in attendance for the Iron Bowl. Wearing a hooded sweatshirt underneath his No. 4 jersey that partially obscured his neck brace, the junior calmly walked ahead of a rush of teammates out of the tunnel prior to the game and onto the Jordan-Hare Stadium field.
Etheridge tore ligaments and cracked his fifth vertebra trying to make a tackle against Ole Miss on Halloween. He had to be immobilized and taken to the hospital.
Although his season is over and football-playing future remains in doubt, Etheridge has visited teammates at practice several times. Friday was the first game he attended since the injury.
He stood on the sideline throughout the game, waving a towel to get the crowd excited on several occasions.
Freeman sits, Evans starts
After two weeks of speculation, weak-side linebacker Eltoro Freeman did not dress for the Iron Bowl, watching as true freshman Jonathan Evans started in his place.
Freeman, who stood on the sideline during the game, suffered a concussion against Georgia and had battled an ankle injury the last two weeks. Although he shed a protective boot earlier this week, head coach Gene Chizik said Freeman would be a gametime decision.
It was Evans’ first career start.
“I got advice from a lot of people,” Evans said. “They said know you’re going to be nervous, just go out there and play the best you can.”
The 5-foot-11, 207-pound linebacker, whose only extended experience came in the second half of the Furman and Georgia games, did well, finishing with eight tackles, second most on the team.
“For a guy who was third team two weeks to playing the entire Iron Bowl, I was proud of him,” defensive coordinator Ted Roof said. “He made some mistakes, but everybody makes mistakes. I was proud of his effort and proud that he didn’t blink. He wasn’t intimidated. He went out there and played, which is what football teams do.”
’89 team honored
Auburn honored the 1989 team prior to the game on the 20th anniversary of the Tigers’ 30-20 victory against Alabama on the Crimson Tide’s first-ever visit to the Plains.
Each member of the team was announced individually at the middle of the field, culminating with legendary coach Pat Dye, who received the loudest ovation from the sellout Jordan-Hare Stadium crowd.
The ’89 squad won a share of its third straight SEC title with the Iron Bowl win. It was Auburn’s fourth league championship in seven years.
Demond Washington got the nod at punt returner for the second straight game but had his fair share of problems.
The junior, who electrified Auburn’s kick return unit against Georgia with a 99-yard return for a touchdown, muffed two first-half punts, continuing a season-long problem for the Tigers.
He managed to recover both. Auburn has muffed nine punts as a team, although it has lost possession on only three of them.
Washington did not even attempt to make a catch Alabama’s third punt. It went 53 yards before rolling to a stop. He cleanly caught a fourth-quarter punt and returned it five yards.