Auburn, Ala.--This week is perhaps the toughest of an already tough season for the Auburn Tigers as they have to put a hard-fought loss to LSU behind them and get ready for a winless, but dangerous, Ole Miss team coming into Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday.
For senior quarterback Brandon Cox it's a process he has been through several times in his career at Auburn, but not too many. In the last four years Auburn has lost just eight games with just five coming at the hands of conference foes. While it never gets easy, Cox says Sunday's are the worst, but you have to forget and move forward.
"It was typical after a loss," Cox says. "We watched film and went out to practice and tried to put it behind us and move on. It's disappointing, but you can't do anything about it. You've got to move on and focus on Ole Miss."
The way the LSU game finished makes it even tougher for Cox and Auburn to swallow. After driving 83 yards in nine plays to score the go-ahead touchdown with just 3:21 left in the game, LSU came back to win the game on a 22-yard touchdown with one second remaining on the clock. Cox says he remembers watching from the sidelines in disbelief at what he saw.
"I thought maybe they were going to throw a quick pass, but he dropped back and I saw the guy running down the field," Cox says. "I couldn't believe he was about to throw it, but he did. He caught it. I was shocked like most people were. It was a gutsy call."
LSU was able to be in that position thanks to an Auburn offense that had just 54 total yards in the second half until that final touchdown drive. Leading 17-7 at the break, Auburn managed just two first downs in the third quarter. That allowed LSU to get back in the game on offense and take some momentum into the fourth quarter.
"That's how it has been lately," Cox says. "We get off to a good start and come out in the third quarter and can't find a way to put the team away and can't get anything going. When we had to we went down and score when we had to, but unfortunately we couldn't hold the lead. We've got to do a better job of finishing off games and putting it away."
Montez Billings, Rod Smith and Tim Hawthorne celebrate Billings' TD catch against LSU.
One of the bright spots on offense was the play of wide receiver Montez Billings. Becoming a weapon for the Tigers on the outside, Billings led Auburn with six catches for 78 yards and a touchdown against LSU. Cox says that having Billings on the outside along with Rodgeriqus Smith gives Auburn a solid combination on the perimeter to attack a defense.
"He has definitely stepped up and is becoming a go-to guy," Cox says. "Rod is our big playmaker. Having Montez next to him, having them two on the field softens up the defense. They're not able to key on one guy. We have two guys out there that are playmakers. I think both Rod and Montez had six catches. Being able to spread it out to two guys like that, it's good to have both of them."
Every season one of Auburn's goals is to make it to Atlanta and play for the SEC Championship. Following the loss to LSU, that is a goal that can now only be accomplished with some help. With both LSU and Alabama ahead of the Tigers, they need plenty of things to happen in the coming weeks, but Cox says the main thing they have to do is keep winning football games and then let the chips fall however they will.
"It's tough, but there is still a ways to go in this season," Cox says. "LSU has some tough games coming up and we'll need some help, but all we can do is control what we can control. That is going out and playing each game as our last game and make sure we win out. Hopefully we can have some help."