TUSCALOOSA — To say Emory Blake’s playing career at Auburn had far better days than the 49-0 beat down No. 2 Alabama handed the Tigers in the Iron Bowl Saturday afternoon would be putting it mildly. Blake had three receptions for 56 yards to finish his senior season with 50 receptions for 789 yards and three touchdowns.
“I have a lot of great memories here at Auburn,” Blake said. “Even though it’s a tough season, I wouldn’t change anything. I’ve learned a lot and I can’t believe my time here is over with.”
Blake finishes his career fifth in program history in receiving yards (2,022), receptions (128) and touchdown receptions (16).
Blake said he was unaware how close he was to eclipsing the 2,000-yard mark.
“Just been concentrating on the game,” he said. “A good accomplishment though and I’m glad I set that milestone.”
As all the other players chosen by Auburn’s media relations staff did, Blake said he felt Auburn coach Gene Chizik should be back next season.
“I do. I really do but that’s not my decision to make,” he said.
Smith starts at free safety
Ryan Smith made his second start of the season and first since the season-opener at free safety. Smith made a game-high nine tackles, filling in for Demetruce McNeal.
Chizik and defensive coordinator Briand VanGorder, who was unavailable for comment after the game, said they were looking for more “production” from the position after last week’s game.
McNeal, the second-leading tackler (90) for the Tigers, has not started the last two weeks after making seven straight starts.
He sent a series of tweets which mentioned “bad news” he had
received and said he was “gone.” He later clarified and said he was not referring to football or Auburn but has been out of the starting lineup since.
He has been unavailable for comment the last two weeks.
Defensive tackle Gabe Wright was second behind Smith with eight total tackles. Cornerback Chris Davis finished with seven tackles, while linebacker Jake Holland and safety Jermaine Whitehead each recorded six tackles.
Lemonier has better outing
Defensive end Corey Lemonier made five tackles, his most since making five against Louisiana-Monroe in the third game of the season.
Lemonier, a junior, previously said he will decide whether he’ll forgo his senior season for the NFL Draft based on his performance. He made 34 tackles including 5 1/2 sacks this season.
He was not available for comment after the game.
Robinson back at LT
Left tackle Greg Robinson returned to the starting lineup after a shakeup on the offensive line last week led to Robinson, who started the first 10 games of the season, being replaced by Chad Slade as Christian Westerman make his debut at left guard.
Auburn’s starting offensive line was its most consistent lineup of Robinson, left guard John Sullen, center Reese Dismukes, Slade and right tackle Patrick Miller.
Erique Florence did not make the trip to Tuscaloosa. During the week Chizik said Florence was dealing with “personal issues.”… redshirt-freshman linebacker Kris Frost’s forced fumble in the third quarter was the first of his career. … It was Alabama’s fourth shutout of the season, the most for the Crimson Tide since 1979.