Freshman running back Mike Ford looks to continue to build upon the success he had against Elon. ORACLE PHOTO/SEAN REED
The USF football team travels to Alabama to take on No. 17 Auburn on Saturday. The match-up will mark the first meeting between the schools, both of whom were disappointing in their season openers, despite coming away with wins.
USF defeated Elon 28-13 in its first game of the season, giving the Bulls an 11-0 record in season openers. While the Bulls had a number of solid individual performances, their inability to put the game out of reach for former I-AA Elon was disappointing. Freshman running back Mike Ford had a breakout performance against the Phoenix, totaling 84 yards and three touchdowns on only seven touches. On the defensive side of the ball, sophomore George Selvie solidified his role as the Bulls’ premier defensive lineman. The defensive end had 10 total tackles, tied the school’s single-game sack record (4) and broke USF’s tackles-for-a-loss record with six.
Despite trailing Kansas State 13-9 entering the fourth quarter, Auburn was able to score two fourth-quarter touchdowns to defeat the Wildcats 23-13 in its season opener. The Kansas State defense was solid against the Tigers, holding Auburn running back Ben Tate to 87 yards and no touchdowns. Tiger quarterback Brandon Cox threw for 229 yards and had one touchdown and two interceptions against the Wildcats. The senior is the winningest active quarterback in the Southeastern Conference, with a 20-5 record as a starter.
Despite its storied college football tradition, Auburn has played only 15 games against members of the Big East Conference. The Tigers’ overall record against Big East opponents is 9-3-3.
Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium is the ninth largest on-campus stadium in the country, with a capacity of 87,451. Saturday’s match-up is sold out, meaning the Bulls will have to gain momentum early to take the “12th player” – the crowd – out of the game. The Tigers have a 42-8 record at home for the last eight years.
Saturday’s game will be the first nationally televised game of the season for the Bulls and the second straight for the Tigers. The game will be broadcast at 8 p.m. on ESPN2.