Mr. Touchdown Strikes Again

Oxford, Miss.--With Brandon Cox throwing a season-high 34 passes and tailback Kenny Irons carrying 23 times for 106 yards, that normally doesn't leave much playing time for the second-team tailback. However, running 75 offensive plays in Auburn's 23-17 SEC Western Division win at Ole Miss made room for Brad Lester to carry 14 times for 49 yards and another touchdown.

"We were both a little banged up so we figured we'd be splitting time together because they just want to keep us fresh," Lester notes.

Instead of letting down and distance dictate run or pass for the Auburn offense, offensive coordinator Al Borges had a healthy mix that kept the Rebel defense off balance, which was instrumental in the success of the offense.

"They had so many people in the box so it was something that we had to do because it's hard to run with all of those guys up front," Lester explains. "Once they saw us passing the ball on second and short and third and short they started spreading out a little bit so we could run the ball more toward the end of the game."

Lester and Irons had 67 yards combined in the first half, but with a time of possession of 37:52 they were able to wear down the Rebels and run for 87 yards in the third and fourth quarters when it mattered most.

"We struggled some in the first half, but I think we came back in the second half and went unstopped," Lester says. "As long as we win, that's all that matters. We could win by half a point."

Lester in need of a parachute after being picked up by King Dunlap.

The Auburn running back duo had several opportunities to break free into the Ole Miss secondary, but just as they would turn the corner Rebel linebackers Patrick Willis and Rory Johnson were there to make the stop. The two combined for 27 tackles.

"Both of them were real good and we had a rough time stopping them," Lester says. "It seemed like every time I looked up to see who was on the tackle it was Willis.

"He's probably the best linebacker we've face all year and he's the best we will play all year," he continues. "He's just a good linebacker and that was expected coming into the game that he was going to make a lot of tackles. The good thing is that we just kept running the ball, we got the yards and we got the win."

Lester scored a third quarter touchdown on a six-yard run. It was his eighth TD of the year. He landed in the end zone after leaping from the three-yard line, but for some reason the play was reviewed by the replay officials.

"I landed like two yards in the end zone, but it happens all the time," he says. "It's the third time it has happened this year so I wasn't surprised."

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