September 27, 2008

Burns makes the big play

The Auburn crowd erupted in one of the loudest celebrations of the season.

No, it didn't come on one of AU's touchdown pass in the first quarter or the fumble recovery for a TD in the second.

It came when backup quarterback Kodi Burns stepped back behind center for the first time in three weeks with 5:36 remaining in the second quarter. It might have been louder when he came in late in the fourth with chants of 'Kodi, Kodi, Kodi,' coming from the stands.

"It feels great," Burns said. "…I thought I got my chance and I tried to take advantage of it. It felt good to know that the offense was struggling a little bit and know that I could go in and do something about it."

Burns put together an electrifying drive on his first series but AU came up short when Wes Byrum missed a 35-yard field goal wide left.

But it was in the fourth quarter when he really made his mark.

With Auburn holding a 2-point lead and just two minutes to play, the Tigers badly needed a first down on third-and-5 backed up at their 10-yard line. Burns shocked many when he rolled out right and found a Montez Billings for a 10-yard pass.

"Coach Tuberville and I talked and he said they have one more timeout so they're going to be able to stop the clock in we don't get a first down," AU offensive coordinator Tony Franklin said. "He gave me permission to throw the ball.

"That was a safe pass. We had three levels on the route and the safest one is the one he took. Montez did a nice job of getting open and making a play when he caught the ball."

Burns was confident he could make the game-winning play.

"I knew I would make the play," he said. "I've been doing that my whole life since my junior high and high school. All I knew was we had to get a first down and that's what we stressed: Get the first down and we'll win this game and run out the clock.

"When I saw that cornerback drop back just enough to fit it into that window, that's what I did."

Franklin said it was also Tuberville who made the call to put Burns into the game in the second quarter.

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