Tiger Backs Cruise In Victory

Auburn rushed for 388 yards on Saturday against Kentucky and nearly had three different 100-yard rushers.

Lexington, Ky.–-Auburn nearly did something Saturday against Kentucky that it hasn't done in 22 years and that is have three different players rush for over 100 yards in the same game. Although Tre Smith came up one yard short, position coach Eddie Gran says that he's very happy with the way the guys ran the ball all game long.

"Coming in we felt like that was one thing we could do, run the football," Gran says. "Al (Borges) did a good job of staying with what we were doing best. There were times we had to throw it and Brandon (Brandon Cox) did a good job of checking off at times to get us in a great running play or pass protection. Especially early when we were throwing the ball we converted on a lot of third downs.

"They ran hard," he adds. "I was excited about them, especially in that second half getting Tristan some work. I think we'll need him down the run when we get to the next three or four ball games. I think it's going to be good to have him available."

Despite moving from safety to running back just on Sunday, Davis responded like a man possessed. On his first carry he went 75 yards for a score and finished the game with 162 yards on eight carries. Starter Kenny Irons added 103 yards on 23 carries as the Tigers finished the day with 388 yards on the ground.

Tre Smith rushed for 99 yards on just 13 carries, including a 46-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

But, the story was Davis. A defensive back by trade with Auburn, Davis moved to running back early in the fall and actually got a few carries before moving back to safety. In that little time Davis showed his breakaway speed and also his mental capabilities. That's because when he came back Gran says he was ready to go like he has never missed a day.

"He came back after not being with us and he had retained everything," Gran says. "We had a couple of guys hurt and we brought him back in and taught him the offense. That's what I was excited about all week long. He came back after not being with us and he retained everything. I had no problem putting him in the game. He did a really good job and I was excited for him."

For Irons the day was a short, but busy one as all of his total came in the first half of the win. Trying to make sure that he's ready to go for the homestretch against Georgia and Alabama, Gran says they wanted to limit him as much as possible against the Wildcats. The only problem was the first half was cause for concern for Gran.

"You have to look at what we have ending up," Gran says. "We wanted to take a little bit off him because everybody is banged up. It's the ninth game of the year. Georgia is going to be banged up and we're banged up. You just try to get out as healthy as you can."

The running game flourished despite not having two of its top backs in Brad Lester and Carl Stewart. Auburn was also without starting right guard Timmy Duckworth and right tackle Troy Reddick was replaced as a starter by Leon Hart. Despite all those changes things went smoothly and senior tackle Marcus McNeill says it's because of the attitude and talent of the backs in Auburn's stable.

"I know Georgia and them are going to line up 10 in the box or eight or nine in the box," McNeill says. "That really doesn't matter. When you have back that do the things they do you have to be proud of them. Tristan Davis (AKA Trick Daddy) got in there and ran wild today. He looked like Reggie Bush for a second.

"Kenny is always going to be a workhorse back there," he adds. "Tre almost had a hundred. Whenever they're running that hard and you see them break tackles and bust loose, it makes you want to block for them that much harder."

Lester is expected back this week and normally that would signal the end of the line for Davis on offense, but that's not the case this time around. After a wowing performance against Kentucky, Gran says the speedy redshirt freshman won't be making another move this season.

"We're probably not going to give him back," Gran says. "His future is a running back in 2005. Right now the future for me is tomorrow and tomorrow when he comes to practice he'll be a running back."

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