November 15, 2008

Fannin steps up, then sits down

Desperately needing a win and some big plays on offense, Auburn turned to Mario Fannin for Saturday's showdown with No. 13 Georgia.

The sophomore running back answered in a big way scoring AU's only two touchdowns in his first start this season.

Fannin scored on a 52-yard catch-and-run that gave AU a 6-0 lead in the first quarter and rumbled in from 35 yards to give AU a 13-10 lead in the fourth quarter.

"Mario is just amazing. We call him Super Mario," quarterback Kodi Burns said. "He can run the ball, he can catch it.

"He does a great job blocking, so he's the total package. Mario's one of those guys that if you just get the balls in his hands, he's going to take over the game."

But after providing those two big plays for the Tigers, Fannin watched the rest of the game from the sidelines, including AU's final two drives that ended on fourth-down incompletions deep in UGA territory as the Dawgs hung on for a 17-13 win.

Instead, junior Ben Tate took all 21 of AU's final snaps. He rushed for seven yards on four carries on AU's second to last drive and couldn't come up with a fourth-down, 14-yard pass on the final play of the game.

"Ben was running the ball well … so," was all AU head coach Tommy Tuberville said of the decision to not play Fannin the final 11 minutes of the game.

Acting offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger also side-stepped the question.

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