Auburn Finds Winning Formula in Youth

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) - The Auburn Tigers are seemingly getting younger and more banged up with every passing game.

Hey, whatever works.

The 22nd-ranked Tigers re-entered the Top 25 today after a three-week absence, riding the strength of a 35-7 win over Vanderbilt that continued a recent hot streak.

They did it with four defensive starters out with injuries, three freshmen starting on the offensive line and a starting center who was hurt during the game.

Coach Tommy Tuberville says, "At times we look like a junior varsity team in terms of age, not how we were playing. Man, we have a lot of guys hurt."

Tuberville says he doesn't yet know the status of linebackers Tray Blackmon -- ankle injury -- and Merrill Johnson --shoulder-- or safety Aairon Savage -- knee injury-- and defensive end Quentin Groves, who has three dislocated toes. Or center Jason Bosley, who limped off the field with a sprained knee.

Auburn (4-2, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) still carried a shutout into the final minutes and exploded to a 28-0 lead in the first half for a third straight win, but it was the first time this season the Tigers have dominated from the start.

Now, they visit Arkansas and unanimous No. 1 LSU in a key two-week stretch of SEC Western Division rivals.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)