Auburn, Ala.--It was another day to forget for senior quarterback Brandon Cox. After having his first two passes of the day intercepted, one returned for a touchdown, when the Tigers needed a touchdown to win it was still his job to do just that. Although he came up short, Cox was the guy all along in that situation offensive coordinator Al Borges said.
"We were going to go with Brandon because we felt like with the time shortage he's the best equipped to throw the ball," Borges said. "That's why we did what we did."
Borges talks things over with Brandon Cox late in Saturday's loss to MSU.
After being benched in favor of true freshman Kodi Burns, Cox remained positive on the sidelines and was the first player to greet Burns after he scored to give the Tigers the lead in the second quarter. Sophomore running back Benjamin Tate said he felt good about Auburn's chances at the end because of Cox.
"It was just Brandon Cox coming in and being a leader," Tate said. "When he came in the huddle he didn't look down. He was like ‘come on guys, we're going to go down and score and win this game'. He came in and had great composure. That's what a quarterback is supposed to do and that's what he did."
While Cox led the Tigers into scoring range on a 12-play, 67-yard drive that ended when his pass to Rodgeriqus Smith fell incomplete in the endzone, it wasn't enough to solidify his job as true freshman Kodi Burns brought a spark to the entire team with his play. Despite turning the ball over twice himself, Burns rushed for 87 yards and threw for an additional 65 on eight of 12 attempts. Borges said Burns' play makes it a decision for the coaching staff this week.
"I thought Kodi did a nice job of energizing us," Borges said. "Brandon took us right down the field. We didn't quite get the job finished but he took us down the field when we needed him to. It's something we've got to evaluate and make a decision on.
"I'm not going to commit to anything until I look at it," Borges said. "Then I'll talk with the head coach and we'll make that decision."
No matter who the quarterback is, the Tigers must eliminate turnovers. In three games Auburn has committed 12 turnovers while taking the ball away just four times. Borges said until that is solved it doesn't matter who or what they do offensively.
"It's a problem the last two games," Borges said. "It has gotten us beat. If you don't take care of the ball I don't care how good your defense is, if you put them in enough predicaments you're going to lose the game.
"Any time you turn it over it's a turning point, whether it's in the first quarter or the fourth quarter it comes back to haunt you. Inevitably it always does and it did again."
Rushing for a season high 216 yards and two touchdowns, Auburn made strides running the ball on Saturday when Burns was in the game spreading the field. Borges said that they have to remain focused on the task at hand offensively and try to get better against New Mexico State.
"We've just got to stay positive," Borges said. "That's the biggest thing is still believing we're capable. As soon as you think you're whipped, you're whipped. As long as you're convinced you still have the ability and wherewithall to do it, and I think we do, we'll get better and better. As long as we stay healthy we'll improve and in some phases of our game we did today."