Part III, Auburn vs. New Mexico State Notes

Offensive news, notes and quotes from Auburn's 55-20 victory over New Mexico State.

Junior receiver Rod Smith had a career-high 86 yards receiving on three catches, including a 58-score from Kodi Burns on the first play of the Tigers' third possession. Burns said he was reading the safety and he knew he had Smith in one-on-one coverage on the outside.

"It was an all go," Smith explains. "Me and Kodi just had that connection. He told him if it was single coverage he was just going to throw it up and I had to make a play on it. That's basically what I did. I saw that it was a little underthrown, so I went up and made a play and went in for the touchdown."

He made another nice grab from Brandon Cox for his second score of the game. Smith came down with the ball in the end zone in triple coverage.

"It feels great to know that we can go out there and execute," Smith says. "Brandon Cox, he came back and he stepped up real big for us today. Kodi Burns, he also did a great job. Once everybody starts making plays it just trickles down. This is what we needed from him. We need a lot of confidence going into the Florida game."


Robert Dunn also had three receptions and fought hard for extra yardage after the catch. However, he had several key drops--one on a third down from Burns and another from Cox on a play-action post that would have gone for six points.

"We have to do a better job of making routine plays," Al Borges says, "and I'm constantly talking about it. You can talk and talk and talk, but the bottom line is, when the lights go on kids have to respond, period, end of discussion. You can go through juggs machines, a million receiving drills, but when the lights go on you have to respond. We've got to do a better job of that."

The Tigers have been plagued by drops all season, whether it's been Dunn, Tommy Trott or Prechae Rodriguez. Neither Trott nor Rodriguez had a catch against the Aggies, but nine Tigers had at least one grab--four receivers, three running backs and two tight ends.

NMSU quarterback Chase Holbrook completed passes to eight different receivers, including nine to Chris Williams for 109 yards and a TD.


True freshmen Burns, Lee Ziemba, Chaz Ramsey and Ryan Pugh started the game for Auburn on offense. Chris Slaughter, another true freshman, had one reception for nine yards on a play-action out. Redshirt freshman Tim Hawthorne made his first collegiate catch for four yards on a curl after an audible from Cox. Redshirt freshman Mario Fannin had his first career 100-yard game, totaling 103 yards and three touchdowns. He also had a catch for eight yards on a screen. Burns rushed seven times for 20 yards and was 1-5 passing for 58 yards.

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