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MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- ?? The Auburn Tigers have flipped the teams normal dynamic. A defense that may be the programs best in the

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02:08, Feb 13 2020

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- ?? The Auburn Tigers have flipped the teams normal dynamic. A defense that may be the programs best in the past decade has helped the Tigers overcome an inconsistent offense and return to the national rankings.Its a role reversal from No. 23 Auburns standard formula since Gus Malzahns arrival first as offensive coordinator and then head coach, but its working well lately.Defense has kept the Tigers in every game this season even before a current three-game winning streak. No shootouts needed, either.Theres no doubt it changes the way you prepare, Malzahn said. Each games kind of different within its own self but its really great to have a defense that can do what theyve done so far.Auburn (4-2, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) has rebounded from losses to No. 3 Clemson and No. 6 Texas A&M thanks to a defense led by linemen Montravius Adams and Carl Lawson and cornerback Carlton Davis. The group is bolstered by players who came into the season mostly anonymous but have carved out significant roles.The Tigers are off this week before facing No. 22 Arkansas.This Auburn defense has outperformed any in recent memory, including the 2010 national championship team and the 2013 runners-up.The Tigers rank 12th nationally in scoring defense, giving up 16 points a game, a 10-point improvement from last season. They havent been better than 48th in scoring defense since finishing 14th nationally in 2008. They were sixth the previous year before beginning a prolonged drop-off.Auburn has also jumped from 71st in total defense to 29th, giving up 346.8 yards per game.As expected, the defensive line has been the biggest strength since Adams and Lawson opted against jumping to the NFL after last season. Freshman Marlon Davidson emerged as an instant starter opposite Lawson, redshirt freshman Javaris Davis has taken over at one cornerback spot and linebackers Deshaun Davis and Darrell Williams have taken on big defensive roles.Lawson has five of the Tigers nine sacks over the past three games, including a 38-14 win last Saturday at Mississippi State. Hes having a breakout year after missing half of last season and all of 2014 with injuries.As talented a D-line as youre going to see anywhere in the country, Bulldogs coach Dan Mullen said.Steele inherited a defense with six returning starters after former coordinator Will Muschamp left to become South Carolinas head coach. Deshaun Davis and Williams have moved from deep on the bench into starting roles. Davis had five tackles last season and Williams didnt have any; now they have 24 and 23, respectively.Muschamp, who helped recruit some of the young players, has noticed their impact.Theyre playing extremely well, he said. The defensive line has been dominating.Theyve got a bunch of good players up front. Marlon Davidson is a very mature freshman, Muschamp said, adding coaches felt when they were recruiting Davidson that he was going to be a guy that could step in and play.The defense has done it without significant impacts from last years top recruit, defensive end Byron Cowart, and Illinois graduate transfer linebacker T.J. Neal.Malzahn thinks the defense has built off its strong season-ending performance against Paxton Lynch and Memphis in the Birmingham Bowl.The defensive staff really gelled and guys are playing extremely hard for them, he said. Our run fits have really been better than they have been in the past and weve done a good job of taking away the easy throws in the passing game.---AP college football website: www.collegefootball.ap.org Jeff Wilson Jersey . -- Claudio Bieler hadnt scored since early September, and not from the run of play since mid-July. Richard Sherman Jersey . Reassurance came from Paul Tesori, his caddie and close friend whose newborn son is in intensive care in a Florida hospital. "Paul sent me a text this morning, just told me he loved me and wanted to go out and fight as hard as I would any other day," Simpson said Sunday after doing just that. http://www.custom49ersjersey.com/custom-r-c-owens-jersey-large-1508d.html .S. Open champion Justin Rose birdied the first hole with a blind shot he hit to a foot of the pin, and he stayed in front Tuesday until he completed a 4-under 67 for a two-shot lead over Jason Dufner in PGA Grand Slam of Golf. Garrison Hearst Jersey . -- Jonathan Drouin gave Halifax the boost it needed to edge host Sherbrooke Phoenix 3-2 in a shootout in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action. Bryant Young Jersey . Brett Kulak and Jackson Houck of the Vancouver Giants were each charged with assault causing bodily harm on Aug. 18, according to the B.C. court services. LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers have changed their lineup for Game 5 of the NL Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs.The series is tied 2-all heading into Thursday nights game at Dodger Stadium.Leading off for the Dodgers is second baseman Kike Hernandez instead of Chase Utley, who has been benched by manager Dave Roberts.Rookie Corey Seager was dropped to third and Justin Turner will hit second against Cubs starter Jon Lester.Carlos Ruiz is starting at catcher and batting cleanup for the first time since Game 1 of the NLCS, replacing Yasmani Grandal.Veteran Howie Kendrick iis starting in left field, also for the first time since the series opener.ddddddddddddFirst baseman Adrian Gonzalez has been dropped from fourth to sixth in the lineup. Yasiel Puig is starting in right field, his typical role when the Dodgers are facing a left-hander like Lester.The biggest change in the Cubs lineup is 39-year-old veteran David Ross starting at catcher instead of Willson Contreras.Rookie Kenta Maeda is the Dodgers starting pitcher. ' ' '

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