Borges: "We've Got to Score More Points"

Oxford, Miss.--As Auburn managed to put just enough points on the scoreboard to beat Ole Miss 23-17, the offense once again failed to make big plays and failed to execute in the red zone. Overall it was an impressive effort by Al Borges' players with 428 yards, but 23 points against the Rebels was too close for comfort.

The Tigers scored just two touchdowns on six possessions inside the Ole Miss 20-yard line.

"It's just terrible," Borges says. "It can't be all just the kids, too. I've got to look and see what we're doing there and give us a chance to score. We've moved the ball, in particular the last three weeks, and we've started to hit. I don't know about all cylinders, but now it has to show up on the scoreboard."

In controlling the clock for 37:52 of the game, the Auburn offense tallied an impressive 25 first downs. As an equally unimpressive statistic, 25 was also the longest play from scrimmage for the Tigers.

"There is a concern," says Borges, "and we'd like to make more big plays. We've got to put our minds together and see if we can do that. It's been a focus for the last four weeks. It's been a focus since the beginning of the season to be honest.

"We're going to try to do what we can do, and if we don't create more big plays then we're going to have to keep getting first downs," he adds. "At the end of the day I don't care how we score as long as we score. We've got to score more points."

As far as overall execution of the plays called during the game, the offense did well with a season high 253 passing yards as well as 175 yards on the ground. Brandon Cox's 21 completions and 34 receptions were also the most in a game this season with Ole Miss stuffing the box and forcing Auburn to throw.

"You know Eddie (Orgeron) is going to stick them all up there and he's going to make the quarterback beat you," Borges notes. "We know that every week. I'm constantly talking to Brandon, ‘here we go again, they've got them all in there. You're going to have to throw it some to beat them.' We have to run it, too, and we just can't abandon that. I think the passing game got us over the hump."

Auburn's starting two wideouts Courtney Taylor and Rodgeriqus Smith combined for 12 receptions for 152 yards and a touchdown.


Tight ends Tommy Trott, above, and Gabe McKenzie combined for three catches for 30 yards.

Cox said after his 16-19 passing day against Tulane last week that it was the first time he had been healthy since early in the season, and his accuracy and game management stayed on key in leading the Tigers to their eighth win of the season.

"I think he really played well from what I can see," Borges says. "In the first half I think he missed a couple or three passes, or we missed a couple or three passes. From what I can see it was probably his best performance to date. We've just got to score more touchdowns."

Several of Cox's 21 completions were off audibles, which he hasn't done much this season, and Brad Lester's six-yards scoring run in the third quarter was also a check off from the quarterback.

"They brought a strong safety blitz off the edge one time out of our vice formation," Borges says of the score. "He audibled for a touchdown. That's typical. He knows what we want and he knows how to execute it. It makes a difference in the game, believe me."

Borges was startled after the game that he got to call 75 offensive plays and wear down the Rebel defense. While Auburn's leading tacklers were Josh Thompson and Aairon Savage with six apiece, Patrick Willis, Charles Clark and Rory Johnson all had 12 or more for Ole Miss.

Willis led the game with nine solos and six assists.

"He's just an exceptional football player," Borges says of the Ole Miss senior middle linebacker. "We've had trouble blocking him, and we don't feel bad because everybody else does, too. He makes a million tackles, he's an NFL-caliber player and we knew what we were dealing with coming into the game. We had a few runs we thought were going to be big and he comes out of nowhere and makes the play."

It wasn't pretty, but Auburn is now one game closer to possibly landing in a BCS bowl game at the end of the season. The Tigers are 8-1 overall and 5-1 in the SEC and the Rebels dropped to 2-7, 1-5.


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