Lack Of Execution For Auburn Offense

Several Tigers talk about the offensive problems against Wisconsin.

Orlando, Fla.--Against a suspect Wisconsin defense which had allowed an average of 432.5 yards and 24.9 points per game, the Auburn offense had its worst output of the season in a 24-10 defeat Monday in the Capital One Bowl.

"We came out to play, we played hard, but we just couldn't execute," said quarterback Brandon Cox, who complete 15 of 33 passes for 137 yards and an interception. He was also sacked four times for negative 38 yards.

"It was definitely one of those days," he added. "We couldn't get anything going. We had some good plays but we couldn't put them together--good plays in a row. It was just one of those days where we couldn't get things going."

Cox, an extremely accurate passer, was anything but accurate in his first bowl game, missing open receivers all day.

Cox throws a deep ball against the Badgers.

"It surprised me a little bit, but we as receivers still have to make plays and so do the running backs," said senior Devin Aromashodu. "We have other people who can make plays besides him just throwing the ball. The timing was off and we didn't get our rhythm until the second half of the game."

Tailback Kenny Irons also failed to play up to par by his standards. He was held less than 100 yards rushing for the first time since Oct. 1 against South Carolina and never got anything going on the ground.

"I should have run a lot better than I did," Irons said. "In the first half I should have broken a few runs but I was slipping all over the place and they had to change my cleats out. A lot of things fell out of place today.

"We were slipping all over the place," he added. "I saw Brandon, he couldn't set up because when he tried to drop back, and that's not something that we're used to. It's hard to play when you've got your linemen slipping and when your quarterback tries to set up and throw a ball and he keeps slipping, then you've got to change cleats out--nah. That shouldn't take place in a bowl game. We couldn't get anything started and that's it."

Wisconsin, playing on the same slippery field, gained 548 yards offensively and looked in control all day. The Badgers production had more to do with intensity than playing on a bad surface, said senior receiver Anthony Mix.

"We were talking ever since we left the hotel about we might not be as focused as we should be," Mix noted. "I think that kind of showed out there in the first half. I don't think played that terrible all year or in a while, a couple of years. The first half they came out to play and they hit us first in the mouth. We fell back and it was kind of tough to come back.

"They came out and made more plays and scored more points," he added. "They did it. They played well and you can't take anything from them. They came out to play the first half. We didn't. We dropped too many balls, missed blocks, turnovers, small things that will get you beat. We did everything we could do to get down in the beginning and it came back to haunt us."

The Auburn players and coaches thought they had productive practices leading up to the game, but Wisconsin, the big underdog heading in, proved to be the better team.

"We had a great week of practice here and also back in Auburn," Cox said. "We really didn't expect to play like this. We played well all season but it was just one of those games we couldn't get things going."

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