By Jay Coulter
It's hard to believe that game day is upon us again. It seems like we just walked out of Jordan-Hare Stadium and now we're ready to go again. Auburn worked out for about 90 minutes on Thursday in what Tommy Tuberville called "a fast tempo" practice.
"We finished up preparation for Saturday's game and we looked good," Tuberville said. "Today was a very fast tempo; it's what it will be in a game. Again, we didn't work against each other. This has been a week to work on the little things. This game has a sense of urgency because this game is going to be here and over before we know it in terms of game time. We have to get prepared quickly."
Auburn enters Saturday's contest a 17 ½ point favorite. Quarterback Kodi Burns still looks highly questionable. "Right now he's not 100 percent," said Tuberville. "He's not even close. He's got 48 hours and the doctors will look at him. Dr. (James) Andrews looked at him last night and said he's coming along good. He's still real sore. He'll have tomorrow off and then doctors will look at him when we get through Tiger Walk on Saturday."
There's one good piece of news on the injury front. Running back Tristan Davis appears to be ready for this weekend. Tuberville says he may even return kickoffs. Davis was in shorts for the ULM game.
Look for Mario Fannin to see more action this week. He was noticeably absent for most of last week's game. "We've cut back on all he's going to do," Tuberville said. "We'd like him to play 40-50 plays and not move him around to so many different positions where everything is different. That's a little of our fault. He's got to be able to maintain it now. We can't cut it back anymore. This will be a good challenge for him this week."
Here are a couple of more quick hitters for the Southern Miss game...
- Auburn leads the all-time series with Southern Miss 16-5, but the last four games played in the series were decided by a total of just 22 points.
- Auburn's shutout in the season opener against ULM was the ninth shutout by the Tigers during the Tommy Tuberville era.
- Nineteen players played in their first collegiate game at Auburn during the season opener against ULM, and six players made their first career starts.
- Rodgeriqus Smith needs four receptions to move into the top 10 on Auburn's career receptions list.
- Brad Lester needs 48 yards rushing and Ben Tate needs 90 yards rushing to become the 22nd and 23rd backs in Auburn history to amass 1,500 career rushing yards.
- Auburn snapped the nation's longest streak without a punt return for a touchdown when Robert Dunn scored on a 66-yard return against ULM.
- Head coach Larry Fedora is in his first season as head coach at USM after serving the previous three seasons as an assistant coach at Oklahoma State, and the three prior to that as an assistant at Florida.
- The Golden Eagles opened the season with a 51-21 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette. USM rolled up an impressive 633 yards of offense in the opener, including 427 on the ground, with both totals ranking third nationally.
- Running back Damion Fletcher ran for 222 yards and two scores against Louisiana-Lafayette, while linebacker Gerald McRath led the defense with 15 tackles. Fletcher and McRath were named Conference USA's Preseason Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year.
- The Golden Eagles have six starters returning on offense and four on defense from last year's team that finished 7-6 overall, 5-3 in C-USA, and played in the Papajohns.com Bowl.
- Southern Miss was picked to finish third in the East in the C-USA preseason poll.