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November 8, 2008
Tigers get back on winning track
Kodi Burns ran for 158 yards and two long second-half touchdowns and passed for another 130 yards, pushing Auburn to a 37-20 win over Tennessee Martin on Saturday.
The Tigers (5-5) had lost four straight games and found themselves tied midway through the third quarter with the Football Championship Subdivision Skyhawks (7-3) before Burns started breaking loose.
He scampered 31 yards for a touchdown on a third-and-6 play to give Auburn a 27-20 lead in the third quarter. Burns, who had passed for a career-high 319 yards a week earlier, became the first Auburn quarterback to run for more than 100 yards since Phil Gargis against Florida State in 1976.
Burns set up Wes Byrum's third field goal early in the final quarter with another 31-yard run to give the Tigers a two-score cushion. Then he took a shotgun snap on third-and-7 and raced 58 yards for a score that ended any threat of an embarrassing upset.
Burns needed just 13 carries for the biggest rushing day of any Auburn player since Kenny Irons gained 183 yards against Washington State in the 2006 opener.
UT Martin had threatened to score three more times in the second half, but Cade Thompson was intercepted twice near the goal line and Auburn stopped Brandyn Young on third and fourth down from the Tigers' 10-yard line.
Burns was 12-of-20 passing but the Tigers did most of their damage on the ground. Auburn's 290 yards rushing was the team's most since gaining 321 in the opener against Louisiana-Monroe.
UT Martin went the opposite route, picking at an injury-depleted Auburn defense with mostly short passes and only a smattering of runs.
Thompson completed 27 of 46 passes for 285 yards and two touchdowns as UT Martin ran only 15 times for 38 yards - half that on one fourth quarter run by Young - even though Auburn was missing three starting defensive linemen.
The Skyhawks had stunned the Auburn crowd by scoring two straight touchdowns to tie the game at 20-all with 8:59 left in the third quarter, prompting hopeful cries of ``UTM'' from the small section of visitors.
Mike Hicks caught a 7-yard touchdown pass from Thompson with 36 seconds left before halftime and added a 9-yarder after bobbling the ball and catching it when it came down. During that sequence, the Skyhawks passed on 15 consecutive plays.
Josh Bynes had intercepted a Thompson pass in the end zone on Tennessee Martin's opening drive of the half, but Brad Lester's fumble gave it right back to set up the tying score.
Auburn finally answered with Burns' first TD scamper on a third-and-6 play.