Cox and Tigers Look to Stay Unbeaten

Quarterback Brandon Cox will be counted on to play well as the Tigers face South Carolina.

Columbia, S.C.--A season ago against South Carolina, Brandon Cox and his offensive teammates jumped on visiting South Carolina early on the way to a 48-7 football victory over the Gamecocks.

The two teams square at 6:47 p.m. on Thursday for a rematch that will be televised by ESPN. Cox says he is hoping his Tigers get off to a strong start again this year.

"That is the kind of game we would like for them all to be," Cox says of last year's win over South Carolina that saw Auburn jump out to a 17-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. By halftime it was 31-0.

"We beat them to the punch and got out to a big lead," Cox says. "Hopefully, we will go out there and do it again this year."

Auburn, 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the SEC, is ranked second and third in major polls this week. Despite the high rankings, Cox says he sees the Tigers as a work in progress.

"I think we are coming together as a team," he says. "We are playing physical. We have got a lot of talent and I thinking we are starting to gell as a team and we will prove it Thursday night."

South Carolina is 3-1 overall with its only loss coming at home vs. Georgia by a 18-0 score. The Gamecocks are 1-1 in the conference with a 15-0 victory at Mississippi State.

Cox completed 19 of 29 passes for 245 yards last season vs. the Gamecocks with one touchdown pass as the South Carolina defense focused on stopping the Auburn running game.

"Watching them on film I think they are pretty good," the quarterback says. "I think they are better than they were last year. They shut out Mississippi State and they haven't given up many points. This is an SEC game with SEC talent so you know we are going to have to play better than we did against Buffalo to beat them."

Brandon Cox has completed 45-75 passes this season for 684 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.

Last week the Tigers defeated Buffalo 38-7. Cox threw just 10 passes with his ankle heavily wrapped after being injured in the victory over LSU. He is expected to be full speed or close to it this week.

"Coach Borges (offensive coordinator Al Borges) said they were kind of a defensive coordinator by committee last year, but this year they have one defensive coordinator who has established a true defensive mindset," Cox says. "They do a lot of twists on the defensive line and a lot of blitzing. We are going to have to know what to do when they are moving around like that."

Cox says he hopes that senior tailback Kenny Irons, who played two seasons at South Carolina, has a game to remember in his return to Williams-Brice Stadium.

"I think Kenny is ready to get back out there," Cox says. "He was a little banged up against LSU and he didn't get to play last week. He and I have both been in that training room too much. It has been getting old. He's ready and I think he will have a good game. You can tell he feels better."

Thursday night's matchup is just Auburn's second appearance for a football game in Columbia. The Tigers won there in 1997 and lead the all-time series vs. the Gamecocks with five victories, one loss and one tie.

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