published Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

C.J. Uzomah's early score ignited Auburn's special season

C.J. Uzomah
C.J. Uzomah
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

A couple of months before Auburn's "Prayer in Jordan-Hare" against Georgia and the "Kick Six" against Alabama, the Tigers needed an 11-yard touchdown reception by tight end C.J. Uzomah with 10 seconds remaining to subdue Mississippi State.

Uzomah, a 6-foot-5, 264-pound senior from North Gwinnett High in Suwanee, Ga., was a recent guest on "Press Row" on Chattanooga's ESPN 105.1 The Zone.

Q: You guys get asked all the time about the finishes against Georgia and Alabama. How much do you hear about Mississippi State?

A: "I hear about it a little bit. People ask me for my favorite memory from last season, and I have to whisper, 'Mississippi State.' That definitely was a huge moment in my football career. We had a lot of close games last season and a lot of good memories."

Q: The Mississippi State win made you 3-0. What do you remember about it?

A: "That was our first SEC win in I don't want to know how many games. It was a huge moment. I looked up after my catch, and there were all these little confetti pieces coming loose from all the shakers, because they were being shaken so hard."

Q: You are subbing at media days for quarterback Nick Marshall, who was cited for marijuana possession. How did your invite come about?

A: "I learned about it [the day before]. Coach [Gus] Malzahn called me mid-afternoon and said, 'How would you feel about going to SEC media days?' I told him I would love to. He asked if I had a suit, and I said, 'Coach, we've got to get off the phone. I've got to call my mom to get one ASAP.'

"She and dad had bought me a suit a couple of months ago, and they booked it over in a couple of hours. I'm thankful it fits."

Q: You were a four-star quarterback at North Gwinnett. Was it a tough adjustment changing positions?

A: "Honestly, that was one of the hardest things I've had to do. I wanted to go to Auburn and be a part of the Auburn family, and not playing quarterback was something I was willing to give up just to do that.

"It took a while to learn what blocking was, because I had never done that in my life."

Q: There is an "Auburn Fast" motto this year. Does that mean more for the playmakers on the perimeter?

A: "We pride ourselves in being fast, but we're going to run the ball. Another one of our mottos is 'Tough and Together,' and the first part of that obviously is tough. We lost [fullback] Jay Prosch, who will be difficult to replace, but we're going to be tough.

"We're definitely going to run the ball downhill. That's what we've done well, so we're going to stick with it."

Q: I keep hearing Auburn could be more talented this season but that how could things ever line up like that again?

A: "I've heard that also. We had close games across the board, and it will be hard to do what we did last year. This is the SEC. It's the best conference to play in, so it will definitely be hard to replicate what we did last year.

"At the same time, with the preparation we had last season and with what Coach Malzahn can do with the game plan, we feel that we'll be fine."

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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