October 6, 2007

Lester returns, Auburn rolls over Dores

Brad Lester didn't have to wait long.

After watching from the sidelines for the first five games, Lester was back in the backfield on Auburn's fourth play on offense.

The junior promptly took a pitch to the right side and motored ahead for an 8-yard gain as a near sellout Jordan-Hare crowd greeted him with thunderous applause.

"It felt good," said Lester. "They set me up with a nice play and it froze the defense. It set me up to get a good run."

Lester sparked an Auburn running game that piled up 239 rushing yards against an overmatched Vandy defense. Lester finished with 77 yards on 13 carries, scoring two touchdowns on a 17-yard run in the second quarter and a 5-yard run in the third.

"Having Brad helped considerably," said offensive coordinator Al Borges. "But the things were doing so well is we're coming off the ball harder. We're running the football, and that makes things difficult for the defense.

"When you start running the ball, it just makes such a difference in everything. Your passing game opens up because of your play-actions. You stay out of long yardage situations."

Sophomore Ben Tate, who started his sixth consecutive game, led Auburn with 96 yards on nine carries. He opened up AU's scoring with a 4-yard touchdown run.

Redshirt freshman Mario Fannin added 54 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. He also had three receptions for 26 yards.

"We've got three good running backs," said Lester. "I don't think there's a running back group that has three running backs that can run like that. I'm comfortable with the rotation and whoever coach wants to get the ball to, he's going to get the ball to."

Lester served a six-game academic suspension. He was held out of the Cotton Bowl and the first five games of the 2007 season.

Lester credited his fellow running backs and coaches for helping him get through the last five weeks.

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