Early Barrage Big, Borges Says

Auburn scored early and often on the way to its fourth-straight win over Alabama.

Auburn, Ala.-—Set up by a stingy defense that gave it perfect field position for the entire first quarter, the Auburn offense took advantage of the gifts to put up 21 first quarter points on the nation's top defense on the way to a 28-18 victory Saturday in Jordan-Hare Stadium.

That was the most points Alabama had allowed in any game this season and it took the Tigers just 15 minutes to reach that total. Auburn's 28 first-half points were the most scored by the Tigers against Alabama since 1969. Offensive coordinator Al Borges says it was imperative they get some good chances early because Alabama's defense makes it tough.

"The thing about Alabama is that you don't want to play on a long field against this team," Borges says. "The more snaps you have the more likely they are to stop you. We were lucky we played on a short field tonight. That gave us an opportunity to score some points. Taking it 80 on them with consistency, I don't think anyone's done it.

"The defense just played great," he adds. "They just swarmed them. That's the bottom line. There were times when (Brodie) Croyle dropped back, I don't think he had time to take his first look. That's a quarterback's nightmare."

It was anything but scary for first-time Iron Bowl starter Brandon Cox. An Alabama fan growing up, he took it to his former favorite with a first half that dreams are made of. Finishing 13-15 and helping the Tigers to a big lead, the sophomore made all the plays and Borges says that's all you can ask of him.

"It was phenomenal," Borges says of the first-half play of Cox. "He played really well. That's Brandon. He's gotten better as the season has gone along. He has really eliminated so many of his mistakes and kept us out of trouble. I don't know what else to say. I think this kid's future is as bright as you could say."

Obomanu streaks to the end zone for his second rushing touchdown in as many weeks.

Early on the Tigers took advantage of Alabama's speed by running a reverse to Ben Obomanu for a 45-yard touchdown. It was the second-straight week that Obomanu scord on the ground. Borges says they just set the play up and it worked to perfection.

"We had gotten in an unbalanced look and run a few plays out of our unbalanced look, which was a little bit of a different look," Borges says. "Not totally, but we had put in the reverse play out of that look which we had not used in a game yet. We were waiting for an opportune time to call it."

That set up the running attack for the Tigers the rest of the game. By slowing down the Tide defense Kenny Irons was able to find some seams in the running game. The result was his sixth-straight 100-yard game and 139 yards on the ground as a team. Borges says that by keeping the defense off-balance the Tigers were able to move the ball at times on the ground against a tough front seven.

"They're so good, the pursue so well, and get off blocks so well, you can't let a team let a team play with their cleats in the ground that is that good," Borges says. "You have to make it so they're not sure where the ball is going. We tried to do the best we could. Even sometimes when we did that they still defended us, but at least we made them aware that we would."

Now 2-0 against Alabama having won both in Tuscaloosa and Auburn, Borges was beaming following the game. Despite a second quarter tumble on the sidelines that knocked him out of the game momentarily, Borges says that once again he was blown away by the atmosphere surrounding the Iron Bowl.

"It's great," Borges says. "It's great anywhere you win it, but in front of our fans, this game is just something else. It's a different experience. I have been in a bunch. I have been in USC-UCLA, Oregon-Oregon State, Cal-Stanford. When we lateraled all the balls and ran through the band, I was at Cal then. There's nothing like the magnitude and the electricity in this football game. When you win it's all the better."


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