Seniors each have best game of season
By ANDY BITTER
AUBURN, Ala. — Two of Auburn’s senior defenders — end Antonio Coleman and cornerback Walt McFadden — had done a lot of talking this week about how they were going to help the Tigers pull out of a three-game losing streak.
They backed it up Saturday.
Both seniors had their best efforts of the season in the Auburn’s 33-20 upset of No. 24 Ole Miss at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Thorn in Snead’s side
Coleman had four tackles for a loss and two sacks and McFadden intercepted two passes, one of which he returned for a touchdown.
Coleman was in Ole Miss’ backfield, harassing quarterback Jevan Snead all afternoon. He had four quarterback hurries to go with his two sacks, routinely getting past his blocker.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Coleman, who had only 3 1/2 sacks the first eight games while battling through wrist and leg injuries. “I just got out there and had fun and just flew around and made plays.”
Coleman spearheaded Auburn’s pass rush, which sacked Snead three times and hurried him on seven other occasions.
“It’s always important,” defensive coordinator Ted Roof said. “Any quarterback we play is good enough if you let him sit back there and pat the ball and complete balls and move the sticks. And to be able to do that with four (rushers) and not always have to blitz is a big deal, too. Today we were able to do that.”
Coleman has 20 career sacks, moving past Reggie Torbor (2000-03) into fifth place on Auburn’s all-time list.
Pick-six and sixth pick
McFadden’s two interceptions give him three this year and six for his career. He returned the first one 29 yards to the end zone after grabbing it off a deflection and tiptoeing the sideline to stay in bounds.
“When I kept running for the touchdown, I was like, ‘Man, I stepped out of bounds. Man, this isn’t going to count,’” McFadden said. “But I’m going to enjoy it while I can. You don’t get too many touchdown returns as a DB. I was like, ‘Man, I’m (fixing to) enjoy this while I can.’”
The play was reviewed and upheld for a touchdown, the second of McFadden’s career. It was the Tigers’ third defensive touchdown this season.
McFadden’s second pick came on Ole Miss’ last gasp. Snead underthrew his receiver in the end zone, right into the arms of McFadden. He became the first Auburn player to intercept two passes in a game since Jonathan Wilhite did it against New Mexico State in 2007.
“There is nobody on a football team that deserves good things to happen to him (more than Walt),” Chizik said. “He makes them happen. … I was just proud to see him get two clutch ones today.”