Burns And Offense Come Up Just Short

Quarterback Kodi Burns talks about the disappointing end to Saturday's loss to Georgia.

Auburn, Ala.--It's the kind of scenario you dream of as a quarterback. Down by four points with under two minutes remaining, it's up to you to drive the team 80 yards for the winning touchdown. For Auburn sophomore Kodi Burns, Saturday was that chance and while he didn't get the ultimate prize with the game winner, Burns again showed he's becoming the kind of quarterback that will soon add that to his list of accomplishments at Auburn.

Driving the Tigers 66 yards on 10 plays, Burns and the offense faced a third and one at the Georgia 14. Deciding to take a shot at scoring, Burns threw to senior Rod Smith. While it appeared Georgia's defensive back got away with some contact, the pass was incomplete. On fourth down with just seven seconds left Burns was pressured and threw a desperation heave towards running back Ben Tate that was just out of his reach.

"It was basically just let them go up and make a play," Burns said. "I don't know exactly what happened because I didn't see it. I just threw it up and hoped for the best.

"It's really difficult because all the tools are there," Burns added. "We moved the ball pretty good, but it's really disheartening we've come on the bottom end of most of these games. They've been so close and guys are giving great effort. Everybody is laying it on the line."

The last drive brought to end a solid day for Burns as he completed 16-30 passes for 179 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. He also added 28 rushing yards on 14 attempts. He said while he did some good things as did the offense as a whole, the difference was just one play at some point during the game.

"They made several plays," Burns said. "The few deep balls we threw the guys were kind of all over us, but we've got to put better placement on the ball to them or make the play better."

In addition to Burns' exploits, the star of the game was fellow sophomore Mario Fannin. Carrying the ball just eight times, Fannin rushed for 59 yards and one score. He also added four receptions for 48 yards and another touchdown. Burns said people finally saw the real Fannin on Saturday.

"Mario is just amazing," Burns said. "They call him ‘Super Mario'. He can run the ball and catch it. He ran a touchdown and had a receiving touchdown. He's the total package. Mario is just one of those guys that when you get the ball in his hands he can take over a game."

Saturday the Tigers had several chances to get a victory over Georgia, but just didn't capitalize. A missed field goal, a fumble by Burns, and a costly holding penalty all hurt an offense that finally looked at ease on the field for the first time in 2008. Burns said one of the biggest differences on offense against the Bulldogs was confidence.

"We're a good team," Burns said. "Things haven't gone our way all season. There have been a lot of ups and downs. There was no doubt in anyone's mind that we could beat Georgia or any of the teams we've lost to. Unfortunately we didn't come out with the win, but guys believed that we could get it done."

That showed up in the fourth quarter. After Georgia took a 10-6 lead on a Blair Walsh field goal, Auburn committed a penalty on the kickoff return and started a drive from its own 10-yard line. Over the next 5:43 of the game clock Auburn ran 11 plays before Fannin's 35-yard touchdown run. That's the kind of drive the Tigers could not have pulled off at any point this season, something Burns said makes them eager to finish off the season the right way against Alabama in two weeks.

"I think we've improved every week," Burns said. "This is the first game we've kind of put a whole game together. We didn't come out with a lot of points like we should have, the ball slipped out of my hands and we missed the field goal, but we moved the ball pretty good the whole game. I think going into the Alabama game, we've got two weeks to prepare and the coaches are going to put together a great gameplan. Just like the Georgia game you don't have to tell anybody to get up for this one. You want to play this game."

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