Hot Irons Burns Visiting Cardinals

Kenny Irons put a spark in the offense with his 147 rushing yards as Auburn defeated Ball State.

Auburn, Ala.--Kenny Irons got a chance to show what he could do as the featured back in Auburn's offense on Saturday and his coach, Eddie Gran, liked what he saw.

Gran said he was pleased with the way that Irons hit the holes as Auburn rushed for 390 yards in a 63-3 victory over Ball State. The running backs coach said after the game that the redshirt junior transfer has now established himself as the number one tailback.

He brings that explosion to the offense--that Carnell explosion," Gran said. "I am not comparing him to Carnell (former Tiger Carnell Williams), but you can see that explosion when he hits the hole."

Irons carried the ball 11 times for 147 yards in the first half as the Tigers jumped to a 35-0 lead at intermission. The other tailbacks got the work in the second half. Gran said right now there is not a number two back in the pecking order and that he plans to continue to use Carl Stewart, Tre Smith and Brad Lester.

Irons said he was pleased with how his third game as an Auburn player progressed. "Coming into the game, I knew I was going to touch the ball a lot more so I wanted to make something happen," he said.

Kenny Irons had to watch games from the sidelines last year as a transfer, but is developing into a key player for the 2005 Tigers.

Irons also noted that as well as he played, he isn't going to be satisfied. "There is always room for improvement. I will go back to watch film and try to better myself. When we get to teams like LSU, Georgia, South Carolina and other great teams your game has to improve each week. You can't stay the same."

Irons pointed out that the offensive line had an impressive day against the Cardinals. For example, he said that he wasn't touched on his second score, a 68-yard burst through the left side of the line in the second quarter.

"Brandon (Cox) checked the play so I knew it was going to be an outside zone play," Irons said. "The offensive line did a great job blocking it. I saw a hole and then there were a couple of guys who missed. After that the only guy I saw was the free safety and I knew he wasn't going to bring me down. I made a cut and just took it to the house after that."

Irons, who averaged 13.4 yards per carry on a day when the AU running backs averaged 11.1 yards per rush, easily outdistanced his career high for rushing, which was 43 yards vs. Mississippi State during his freshman season when Irons played for the South Carolina Gamecocks.

On a day his older brother, cornerback David Irons, sat out with a bruised tailbone, Kenny doubled his career touchdown total with a pair on Saturday. He had one rushing and one receiving as a Gamecock.

His 147 yards in the first half was the most rushing yards for an Auburn player since Ronnie Brown ran for 152 in the opening half vs. Ole Miss in 2002. Brown had 224 yards that day. His 68-yard TD run was the longest for an Auburn back since Williams raced 80 yards for a score vs. Alabama in 2003.


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