Originally created 11/12/06

Battle gets redemption a year later

AUBURN, Ala. - The play has bounced back in forth in Tra Battle's head for a year.


Game on the line.

Devin Aromashodu's catch across the middle.

Battle's blown coverage and missed tackle.

Auburn beats Georgia by a point.

"It went through my mind before the game and during my entire preparation process," the Georgia safety said.

"Whenever I've felt like I've let my team down, I take it upon myself to go back and correct that mistake, and I think I did that today."

A year after Battle's sequence of mistakes allowed Auburn to kick a game-winning field goal, Battle delivered a dose of retribution in Georgia's 37-15 win over Auburn.

Georgia's smallest defender made the biggest plays of the Bulldogs' season, intercepting Brandon Cox three times in the first half, returning one for a touchdown.

Battle became the first Georgia player to record three interceptions in one game since Terry Hoage against Vanderbilt in 1982. Jeff Hipp also had three interceptions against Georgia Tech in 1979, as did Joe Jakura against Alabama in 1948.

Battle wasn't concerned about his place in Georgia-Auburn lore. He was just relieved to put last year's play in the past for good.

"It's redemption," he said. "To go out and get it in this fashion with so much adversity we'd been going through this season, it makes it that much sweeter."

Battle started his pick parade at the end of the second quarter when he stepped in front of Prechae Rodriguez, snatched Cox's pass and returned it 20 yards to Auburn's 41-yard line.

"He's just not a big guy, but he plays big," Georgia coach Mark Richt said.

Two Auburn possessions later, Battle foiled Cox again, this time cutting off receiver Rod Smith and returning his second interception 30 yards for a touchdown. He sealed the score with flair, soaring into the end zone.

Though an Auburn offensive lineman appeared to be in arms' reach when he dove, Battle was flagged for unsportsmanlike con-duct. He didn't care.

"As soon as I came to the sideline, I said, 'Well, this is maybe my only touchdown of my entire collegiate career, so I'll take a 15-yard penalty for that.' I didn't know a flag was thrown until the officials announced it."

Act III of Battle's takeaway trip took place two possessions later, when Charles Johnson's tipped Cox's pass at the line of scrimmage and Battle snatched it and returned it 19 yards.

It set up Matthew Stafford's touchdown pass to Kregg Lumpkin with 29 seconds left in the half.


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