Offense Chews Up Ball State

Auburn's offense was hitting on all cylinders in a blowout victory over Ball State.

Auburn, Ala.-- Marcus McNeill and Timmy Duckworth were held out because of injuries, Jonathan Palmer and King Dunlap made their first career starts, Tyronne Green and Jason Bosley saw the collegiate playing field for the first time, yet the Auburn offensive line was nothing less than dominant in a 63-3 win over the Ball State Cardinals.

To put the dominance into perspective, the Tigers had no turnovers, no field goals, no punts and no turnover on downs--nothing but touchdowns. Nine of them.

"I've never done that before," says coordinator Al Borges. "I've never had that happen where you score every time you get the ball. What I was excited about though how the kids played. They didn't play up and they didn't play down to their opponent. They came out and played and I was excited about that. I knew could progress if we did that and that's what I told them."

As an offensive line coach, Saturday's game was the ideal situation for Hugh Nall as the Tigers racked up 572 yards on offense while playing mostly reserves in the trenches.

"It was certainly a chance for them to show that they have learned something in practice and that they are good players, which I think all of them are," Nall says. "It's just a matter of time before they really become the best players they can be. That's a great opportunity today and they did a good job and played hard."

Leon Hart mixes it up against Ball State.

Leon Hart, who has played center, guard and tackle since the start of fall practice, saw action at tackle and as a goal-line tight end, and caught the eye of Nall. He was one of several young players to impress his position coach.

"I think that King Dunlap and Jonathan Palmer played really well," Nall says. "This was their first start and we, right off the bat, did some good things. Antwoin Daniels got in a lot of snaps and did well at the tackle position. Tyronne Green and Jason Bosley were in on two scoring drives. They must have all played well."

No matter who was in the game on the front five, the Cardinals couldn't stop, much less slow down the Tigers rushing attack. The offensive line opened gaping holes all afternoon and three Auburn backs had a rush for more than 50 yards, including Tristan Davis, who was moved back to strong safety last week.

While Borges can't recall another time where his team scored a touchdown on every single possession, running backs coach Eddie Gran says he doesn't remember seven rushing scores in one game. Kenny Irons and Brad Lester had two apiece, and Tre Smith, Carl Stewart and Davis had one score each.

"I don't belive that has ever happened to me," Gran says. "You've just got to tip your hats to the offensive line. It doesn't matter who you play when you do what we did today. Our deal was to play Auburn today. We weren't going to play Ball State. We were going to try to get better at rushing the football, better at taking care of the ball, better at passing the football, and I think we accomplished that."

The Auburn pass protection was also superb as QBs Brandon Cox and Blake Field completed 17 of 22 passes for 182 without a sack. As a team, the Tigers averaged just over 10 yards every snap while accumulating 572 yards--390 on the ground and 182 in the air--on 57 plays.

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