Quit isn’t a word in Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson’s vocabulary.
The sophomore acknowledged the raw emotions of Saturday’s 13-7 loss to Georgia at Sanford Stadium — “this one hurts” — but doesn’t see the team packing it in because there ticket to Atlanta isn’t getting punched.
“We don’t think about that,” Johnson said. “We come out and play Auburn football every week like we can go the playoffs regardless.”
Alabama’s 51-3 win over Mississippi State combined with No. 9 Auburn’s loss clinched a third straight appearance in the SEC title game for the Crimson Tide.
A year ago Auburn had even less to play for going into the Iron Bowl, but kept its annual showdown against Alabama a one-possession game until late in the second half.
“We have to keep the faith,” Johnson said. “It’s three losses man. Last year we had five by this team. We have to realize we are a great team. We’ve beaten a lot of great teams. We have to keep playing for our pride.”
Two of Auburn’s captains pledged to keep the team united in the wake of a heartbreaking defeat that left many of the players made available to the media late Saturday night shell-shocked.
“It starts tomorrow when we watch the film,” Kozan said. “Guys get defensive when you lose a game like that, but it’s on all of us as a team especially the offense. I’m going to make sure that everybody knows that. Hopefully, we can move forward in a positive way.”
Auburn’s strong team chemistry should help.
“You don’t want the team to fall apart just because of a loss,” Auburn defensive lineman Carl Lawson said. “Something special about this team is we are all together, we all work out together and we bonded so much. You don’t want a disappointing lose to break up the team.”