Sept. 17, 2005
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) - Kenny Irons and Brad Lester rushed for two touchdowns each and Lester returned a kick 93 yards for another TD, helping Auburn roll to a 63-3 victory over Ball State on Saturday.
Brandon Cox completed 16 of 19 passes for 171 yards and a touchdown for the Tigers (2-1), who had five tailbacks score and reached the end zone on every possession against the Cardinals (0-3).
Irons carried 11 times for 147 yards, including a 68-yard score, and didn't play in the second half. The Tigers had been searching for a tailback tandem among four contenders, and Irons and Lester did their part to emerge from the logjam.
Lester had a 70-yard run to set up his 3-yard TD in the fourth quarter and gained 91 yards on seven carries. The Tigers gained 390 yards rushing and averaged 10 yards per play.
Lester's kick return in the third quarter ruined Ball State's momentary good mood after the team's lone score, a field goal. It was Auburn's first score on a kick return since 2000.
Even reserve Tristan Davis, a converted defensive back, scored on a 52-yard run in the closing minutes against the beleaguered Cardinals.
Ball State has given up 169 points in its first three games and was short-handed, with seven players suspended in a continuing investigation of alleged NCAA violations discovered last spring.
Things don't get any easier for the Cardinals, who visit Boston College next week to continue a brutal schedule.
The game allowed Auburn to continue a weeklong audition for the kickoff job. Punter Kody Bliss started - effectively getting the day off from his regular job - but Zach Kutch and Matt Clark also got plenty of extra work as Auburn blasted to a 35-0 halftime lead.
Auburn gave several starters the day off to recuperate from minor injuries and started playing some reserves well before halftime. Overall, the Tigers got 74 players in the game.
Ball State's Joey Lynch was 14 of 24 for 127 yards.