He took it upon himself to win.
"It just got to a point like I just had this feeling in my stomach like we've been down this road before and I don't want to do it again," Burns said. "I just wanted to do something about it because I did not want to lose this game. I was just sick of seeing this. It's the same story every week. I just didn't want to see this again."
In the first quarter, Burns completed only three-of-seven passes for 37 yards. He tried to run once, but lost six yards doing it. In the second quarter, he again completed only three passes. After taking only a 20-13 lead into halftime, Burns fought back a familiar sinking feeling that the game was getting away from him.
He chose to believe in himself.
"I did everything in my power to run the ball down the field and score," he said.
And did he ever.
Burns rushed 13 times in the game for a career-high 158 yards and two touchdowns. His 31-yard touchdown run in the third quarter was the longest of his career and the longest offensive play by Auburn this season. He added another 31-yard run later in the quarter, then beat his own record with a 58-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. He became the first Auburn quarterback to rush for more than 100 yards in a game since Phil Gargis rushed for 129 yards against Florida State in 1976. He also completed 12-of-20 passes for 130 yards.
"It was definitely a lot of fun," he said. "It gives us a sense of happiness. In the locker room guys were actually smiling and clowning and having fun like we haven't had in a long time. We needed to win. Now we know what it feels like again."
Burns admitted the win, and the two rushing touchdowns, gave him confidence, but he credited good blocking by the linemen, backs and receivers for his success.
"I did a good job, but the main thing was blocking," he said. "The line was blocking. The receivers were blocking down field, as well as the running backs. Ben Tate made a great block on my first touchdown run. We blocked better this game."
Burns was asked why he seemed to run the ball better and more easily than the Auburn running backs have this season.
"As a quarterback running the ball, I see everything," he responded. "I saw all those formations. And when the quarterback runs, it gives you an extra blocker and when you have an extra blocker, it's harder to prepare for the run. The run always opens up the pass. You've got to worry about the quarterback running and worry about the running back running , as well as the passing game. So we kept the defense on their toes the whole game. And even if they knew what was coming, the linemen were blocking extremely well. So I give all the credit to the linemen."
Burns said the game plan wasn't designed for him to run any more than usual; the Tennessee-Martin defense just provided the opportunity.
"They called the same plays they've been calling and it was just reading the defense," he said. "When my number was called, I had to be ready. They didn't say hey, we're going to run you this many times this half, they just kind of called it."
Despite the rough start Saturday, marked by what Burns called "a little bit of misreads and things," the Auburn offense will be more confident going into its final two games against Georgia and the undefeated Crimson Tide.
"These are big games," Burns said. "It's like Coach Tuberville said, this is why you come to Auburn, to play these big games like Georgia, and to play Alabama. It's going to be exciting. It's going to be fun. We've got to prepare this week like we've never prepared before. These next two games we've got to put a whole game together. We can't play one half and take one off. I don't know if we will win these next two games or not. But I'm going to tell everybody one thing: I'm going to come out and be ready to play."