"I'm the quarterback at Auburn," Burns said. "I turned the ball over, and I'm going to hold that responsibility on my shoulders and just try to get better.
"This game I think we moved the ball pretty well. We started off slow in the first half. We got a little bit of momentum going in the second half, but it's the same story over and over again. We just shot ourselves in the foot, and it's mostly my fault…Three interceptions--that's unacceptable."
In his third consecutive start (he also started in the season opener), Burns completed 27 of 43 passes for a career-high 319 yards against the Rebels, but was picked off three times. He ran the ball a team-high nine times for 21 yards, including a 15-yard carry.
He was a fan favorite early in the season when he was riding the bench in favor of starting quarterback Chris Todd. But becoming the starter at mid-season has been no easy task.
Burns struggled in the first half Saturday, faltering as the Ole Miss defense stopped Auburn's running game. At halftime, Auburn's stats were dismal if not alarming. Auburn had 31 rushing yards, 49 passing yards, four first downs and no points.
Burns seemed to hit his stride in the second half, however, as Auburn began to move the ball down the field with its passing game. The Tigers finished the game with 319 passing yards, 75 rushing yards and 17 first downs--but only seven points.
The turnovers, Burns acknowledged, were costly. He was picked off three times for a loss of 29 yards; the picks were a devastating blow to Auburn's momentum.
"We had a lot of opportunity the whole game," Burn said. "We did pretty well, but we didn't execute. We had too many turnovers, and as the quarterback, I take responsibility. You can't beat anybody throwing the ball right to them."
Burns said Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville told the team after the game that all the mistakes were costing them ball games.
"He said there were too many turnovers," Burn said. "You know, the defense was intense. We (the offense) started off intense. The offense was doing good here and there, in bits and pieces, but we have to be consistent. It's like he said, Coach Tuberville said we can't have all these turnovers and false starts and penalties. We've got to put a whole game together."
Tuberville lamented those costly turnovers after the game, but he also defended his young quarterback who was thrown into the fire mid-season after Tuberville axed Auburn's offensive coordinator.
"He's gonna get a little better sometimes and sometimes they're gonna make him look bad, which they did today," Tuberville said. "We put the ball in his hands more today than we did the last week. At times he was able to do it, at times he wasn't. The first half we didn't give him a lot of protection. The running game wasn't there. You've got to give him an opportunity...He's a young guy. It was his second full game. He threw for 300 or so yards, but again, you can't throw that many interceptions."
There were moments in the game when Burns seemed to be in a rhythm, like mid-way through the third quarter when he threw long to receiver Chris Slaughter, who raced down the field for a 42-yard gain.
But there were times when he appeared unsure of himself--and times when he just plain made mistakes. On second-and-nine at the Ole Miss 46 early in the third quarter, his attempted pass to Tommy Trott was deflected and picked off. Ole Miss almost scored and missed a field goal on its ensuing possession.
In the fourth quarter, on third-and-12 at the Ole Miss 19, Auburn called a time out and Burns was warned to be careful and not to throw it if no one was open. Instead, he threw into triple coverage and was picked off by Marshay Green. Ole Miss scored on its next possession, assuming a 17-7 lead and game-winning momentum.
"That was just a horrible, horrible throw," Burns said. "It was a crossing route; I shouldn't even have thrown it his way. We had triple coverage. I should have thrown it away."
On Auburn's next possession, Burns again threw an interception, this time on second-and-two at the Ole Miss 35.
"My confidence was fine the whole game," he said. "We started out pretty good. We came out and threw some slant routes and H routes. We were kind of inconsistent. We've got to be able to go all the way down the field and capitalize on every chance we get.
"The running game wasn't there; the passing game was. We've got to stop turning the ball over and just make it happen…The turnovers, I can't do that. If I'm throwing it right to them, I'm giving it to them."
Auburn is now on a four-game losing streak and rumors are rampant that Tuberville and/or part of his staff are on the hotseat. Burns said those rumors and any uncertainty about the coaching staff's future wasn't bothering the team. "I don't think so," he said. "We know what Auburn football is about. Guys are going to be down-- that's natural for a human being--but we feel Coach Tuberville is stable and guys are still working hard."