AUBURN, Alabama (Ticker) -- No. 18 Auburn looks to end a two-game losing streak in season openers when it takes on Louisiana-Monroe at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday.
The Tigers should find the beginning of the 2004 campaign decidedly easier than last year, when Auburn hosted USC and lost, 23-0. The Indians paid a visit to Auburn last November and were crushed, 73-7.
Auburn returns 15 starters from last year's 8-5 squad that defeated Wisconsin in the Music City Bowl. Leading the returning Tigers is running back Carnell "Cadillac" Williams, a unanimous All-SEC selection who rushed for 1,307 yards last season, fifth in Auburn history. The senior standout has rushed for over 100 yards 11 times in his career and has surpassed the 150-yard mark eight times.
Joining Williams in the backfield is quarterback Jason Campbell. A three-year starter, Campbell has completed 62.3 percent of his passes, the best in school history, for 4,599 yards and 25 touchdowns.
The defense could be a concern after the Tigers lost five of their front seven either to graduation or the draft. The secondary is led by strong safety Junior Rosengreeen, who recorded 52 tackles in 2003, and cornerback Carlos Rogers.
The good news for the Indians is that they return 17 starters. The bad news is that those players come back from a team that went 1-11.
Running back Kevin Payne was the 2003 Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year after ranking fifth in the nation among freshman with 81.3 yards per game.
Junior quarterback Steven Jyles looks to keep climbing the Indians' all-time lists in 2004. He ranks fourth in school history with 382 completions and 31 TD passes and third in passing yards with 4,430.
First team All-Sun Belt free safety Chris Harris (four interceptions) and linebacker John Winchester (91 tackles) are UL-Monroe's top defenders.