Offense Good, Just Not Good Enough

Auburn pounded LSU for 451 yards of total offense, but couldn't finish drives in the loss.

Baton Rouge, La.-–For Auburn offensive coordinator Al Borges Saturday night's game against LSU was the best of times and the worst of times for the Tigers' offense. Despite gaining 451 yards of total offense, the Tigers managed to score just 17 points and were forced to try six field goals, the last of which was no good in overtime and put the final nail in Auburn's coffin.

He says that it was a very good, but frustrating night for the offense. Against a LSU defense that was among the best in the country against the run Auburn pounded out 230 yards on the ground. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough.

"I thought we played a lot better in the second half offensively," Borges says. "You've got to score touchdowns. You can't be kicking field goals all of the time. We had a lot of yards and a lot of offense and no turnovers, but only 17 points. That's a result of not being able to put the ball in the endzone when you have those types of opportunities. Field goals are okay if they don't happen a lot, but when you're kicking too many of them you've got problems."

Looking back on the game it will be easy to point to kicker John Vaughn as the reason the Tigers came up short against LSU, but Borges sees it a different way entirely.

"I don't think it's John's fault," Borges says. "We've just got to put the ball in the endzone. We've got to be kicking extra points. We can't be kicking field goals."

Devin Aromashodu caught four passes for 58 yards against LSU.

In the face of a constant heavy rush and easily the loudest crowd he's ever played in front of, sophomore quarterback Brandon Cox gave a good account of himself against LSU. Completing 16-41 passes for 221 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions, Cox did everything that Borges asked of him and made his coach proud.

"I thought he did a heck of a job," Borges says. "He took a lot of shots tonight. He had to pick himself up a few times, but I think the running game helped him. It wasn't like it was a passing circus. He did a heck of a job taking us down there a couple of times. He completed some key third downs."

When Cox wasn't completing passes to the six different receivers he hit on the night, he was handing the ball off to junior tailback Kenny Irons. Fresh off a fantastic performance on the road against Arkansas last weekend when he had 182 yards on 33 carries, Irons torched LSU's vaunted rushing defense for a career-high 218 yards on 27 carries and added a touchdown. He became just the 14th player in school history to rush for over 200 yards in one game and Borges says for Irons it was all about answering the bell.

"We said at halftime that we have to want this game more than they want this game," Borges says. "I think on that run he proved that he did want this game more than they wanted the game. It's a shame it was all for naught, but I think Kenny did a heck of a job. He's done a heck of a job the last two weeks."

Known for making good adjustments at halftime, Borges did just that against LSU Saturday night. In addition to giving Irons the ball more, the Tigers also took some shots down the field. That resulted in several big plays for the offense and it was something Borges says he knew they had to do because of the way LSU was defending his team.

"We ran the ball well," Borges says. "We had a lot of yards rushing, we've just got to get more points. Field goals are not going to get it done. We've got to get points. We didn't throw the ball for a high completion percentage, but we protected our passer decent. We knew that because of the coverage, all of the press, that we weren't going to throw a lot of high completion percentage (throws). We were going to try to take some shots down the field. We said at halftime that we wanted to throw at least four deep balls in the second half."

Auburn now returns home to face the Ole Miss Rebels as they look to keep in touch with first-place Alabama in the SEC West. While they didn't get the victory they were hoping for against LSU, Borges says the Tigers definitely answered some of the critics who said Auburn wasn't good enough to challenge in the SEC again in 2005.

"We're a pretty good team," Borges says. "People said we haven't played anybody, well we played somebody tonight and we had a great opportunity to win the game. I think from this point on now we can hold our heads high. We've still got four left and if this team continues to do what we're doing then we're going to have a heck of a season."


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