Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Catching up with former Auburn OL Ben Nowland
I originally only wanted to ask you about your says at Auburn but after doing some research I'd like to ask you about the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. I was touched by your story. Mr. Cusack sounds like a wonderful man.
Is it true you gave him your SEC West Championship ring?
Yeah, I have a great relationship with my Brother and He sports that ring everyday.
How's it going in the Arena Football League? You are with the Georgia Force now aren't you?
Yes, I play for the Force, its awesome. I love the Arena game.
What are you most proud of from you time at Auburn?
Donating my hair. The experience was eye opening. On the field starting the streak on Bama and getting the Cliff Hare award.
Who was the toughest guy to block?
They were all easy to block. Just kidding, G "Big Money" Warren from Florida in 2000.
Where was the toughest place to play?
Syracuse, it was the first game we played once football resumed after 9-11.
What did you think of Coach Bowden resigning in the middle of the season?
It was weird. I was bummed because I had a different head coach every year in high school. I was like here we go again, I just wanted stability.
In 1999 we went to Athens and beat a pretty good Georgia team 38-21. What do you remember about that night? It seemed like we jumped on them early and they never could recover.
It was just a great experience all around. I remember taking pieces of the hedges after the game.
In 2000, your sophmore year we took Georgia to overtime at home and pulled out a win. Rudi Johnson had over 150 yards rushing. What sticks out from that one?
Did we go to O.T.? I just remember running a QB sneak behind me and Mike Pucillo to win the game. I don't remember a game he didn't rush for that many yards.
The next week we went to Tuscaloosa and beat Alabama 9-0. How sweet was that victory? Not only did we beat Alabama at their place but we also clinched a spot in the SEC title game.
Yeah, its always good to go in to T-town and get a W. That streak is still going too. Love it. The W made t worth it for dealing with that weather.
What do you remember about the SEC title game against Florida? Rex Grossman had a monster game. I don't think anybody could've beat them that night.
I just remember getting spanked, it wasn't a pretty game. Heath Evans played well though. They beat us twice that year.
Your junior year what do you remember thinking when Duvall hit the field goal to beat #2 Florida in a rematch at home?
That game was electric. Being from Florida that game was always a big deal to me. I was a captain that game, it was just so sweet. The rain held off to the very end. It was just one of those games that you just feel like you can't lose.
Later that year we got it done again in Athens. The defense stepped up and got that crucial stop on the 1st and goal from the 1 in the final seconds and Cadillac rushed for 160 yards. What do you remember about that game?
We ran the ball over 40 times, had over 70 offensive snaps. I was gassed. I couldn't believe they were even trying to run the ball on us. The D stepped up and got the job done. georgia had no time outs left and couldn't get another play off. It was a good win.
What do you remember about playing Carson Palmer and all those guys from USC in Los Angeles your senior year?
We should have won that game. The weather is really different out there compared to the south. I got to play with Carson in the Senior Bowl. He is a really good guy. That's one of the games that just kind of slip through your fingers. Carnell went out with cramps and we dropped a few key balls.
Later that year Florida blocked Damon Duvall's potentially game winning field goal that forced overtime and they went on to win the game. What did you think when you saw the blocked field goal?
I actually didn't see it until the replay. I looked away and the cop that was on the sideline was like you dont want to watch. I said no and then heard thump, thump and knew it wasn't good. That one hurt. Ronnie Brown came in and had a monster game in the second half, yet another game that slipped through are fingers just like the UGA game. 4th and 15 from the 17 and they throw a dang TD to win. We could have easily only lost one game that year. Arkansas was the only team that just flat out beat us.
What did it mean to you to beat Alabama your Senior Year?
It was huge. All our RB's were down and Tre was the lone back, we moved Cooper to FB. It was crazy. We just gamed planed the hell out them. Ran some gadget plays early to get on the board board and our D stooped everything. It was awesome. To be able to leave with a win makes leaving easier. Being apart of the streak is pretty cool too.
Thanks again, is there anything else you'd like to say to your Auburn fans out there?
All I have to say is "War Damn Eagle"! I couldn't have gone to a better place and wish I could come back and do it again. Auburn is a great place to play, I love the fans. It's been nice to actually be able to be a fan. Keep supporting those Tigers.