Offensive Explosion Pleases Borges

Auburn offensive coordinator Al Borges liked what he saw in Auburn's victory over Kentucky.

Lexington, Ky.--It was a sloppy 49-27 victory for Auburn on the road at Kentucky, but for offensive coordinator Al Borges it was about is good as it gets against an SEC opponent as the Tigers rolled up a season high 589 yards.

Quarterback Brandon Cox fired for 201 yards through the air while the ground game churned out 388 yards.

"We did a wonderful job (at the line of scrimmage)," Borges said. "Hugh (offensive line coach Hugh Nall) did a great job of getting those guys ready and we did a nice job of knocking them off the ball and giving our backs room to run.

"The task is going to get tougher and it's not going to be near like it was today. Our kids are confident. I think we feel like we're starting to peak at the right time and we're excited about that as coaches."

Auburn led the league in third down conversions at 49 percent coming into the game and did nothing to disappoint, converting on nine of 13 and one for one on fourth down while scoring seven offensive touchdowns.

"Third down has really been good," Borges noted. "It's been the best in the league--knock on wood because God knows what's ahead. We've been good, but I don't like pushing it to third downs as much as we do.

"I like playing Canadian football," he added. "You need to get the first down in two downs a lot of the time because you run the risk on third down because a lot of the time the other team knows what you're going to do."

Borges attributed a large part of the third down success to Cox and receivers coach Greg Knox.

"I think we've done a good job on pass protection, I think we've done a good job of catching the ball and I think Brandon's done a good job of getting them the ball," Borges said. "Greg Knox handles our third down offense and he's a big part of that. He's done a great job of scheming up a few deals that we do."

Auburn starting tailback Kenny Irons had carried the ball 92 times in the previous three weeks, so one point of emphasis on Saturday was to limit his touches while recovering from a thigh bruise in time for Georgia on Nov. 12. The junior tailback carried the ball 23 times for 103 yards and three touchdowns in the first half and was able to rest the entire second half as the Tigers led 28-10 at the break.

In the second half Tristan Davis, who has played musical chairs been tailback and safety all season, stepped in at tailback with Brad Lester and Carl Stewart sidelined with injuries. On Davis' first offensive snap he carried the ball off left tackle, broke a pair of tackles and raced 75 yards for a score.

"It was nice," Borges said of Davis' ability to fill in. "He's got great speed, doesn't he? He moved back with us (on offense) this week and he's real bright. He picked up our offense real fast in two-a-days, so getting him back up to speed really wasn't very difficult.

Brandon Cox completed 13-21 passes without an interception and had one TD.

"There are certain plays we know that he runs pretty well and we tried to feature those plays as much as we could," he added. "I just thought he showed some incredible speed."

Davis carried the ball only eight times but finished the game with 162 yards--a 20.2-yard average. Tailback Tre Smith almost topped the 100-yard barrier, but fell one yard short with 99 on 13 carries. The junior tailback scored the game's final touchdown on 46-yard toss play with 1:35 remaining.

Cox had a solid day under center for the Tigers, completing 13-21 passes for 201 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions. With the Auburn rushing attack working so well against the overmatched Kentucky defensive front, Cox threw only five second half passes for 15 yards.

Heading into games against Georgia and Alabama in the next two weeks, Borges said he is pleased with how his sophomore quarterback has progressed throughout the season.

"I think he's experienced a lot of it with the nine games we've played and I think he's ironed out a lot of his wrinkles," Borges said. "He hasn't made a lot bad decisions. If we don't turn the ball over with the kind of defense we have, we're going to win games."

The win improved Auburn to 7-2 overall and 5-1 in the SEC. The two biggest games of the season lie ahead with a trip to Athens, Ga., to face the Bulldogs before tangling with the Tide in Jordan-Hare on Nov. 19, which are a pair of matchups Borges said he's looking forward to.

"This is what college football is all about now is playing these games," he said of the upcoming rivalry games. "With these games I don't sleep at night I get so fired up. I'm getting just as excited this year as I got last year. It's pretty cool playing Georgia and Alabama. I can't wait.

"It's the essence of college football. I've been a lot of places--more than I care to admit--and I've been in a lot of rivalries," Borges added. "I've just never experienced anything like the Georgia and the Alabama game. Those two games, the electricity around them, is why I do this job. I don't know. I guess that's the best way to say it."

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