Oct. 27, 2013
Rudy Ford breaks away on a 31-yard run Saturday against Florida Atlantic (Todd Van Emst photo)
AUBURN, Ala. – Freshman Rudy Ford was a cornerback in Auburn’s 45-10 victory over Florida Atlantic on Saturday, making a tackle and breaking up a pass. And he was running back, carrying four times for 31 yards. It was the second time this season Ford has played both ways.
When injuries created depth issues at cornerback, Ford moved from running back late in preseason camp
Cornerbacks coach Melvin Smith said he doesn’t know whether Ford will remain cornerback throughout his career, but he said he’ll have a bright future if he does.
“He can be a corner, and a really good one,” Smith said. “Rudy didn’t go through spring practice. Rudy is coachable. He doesn’t have any habits, so he doesn’t have bad habits. It’s not like teaching those guys that have been trained a different way.”
Injury and absence report
Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn said he had no definitive word on the status of quarterback Nick Marshall, who left the game in the second quarter with a shoulder injury. But Malzahn said Marshall was “smiling and having fun” on the sideline during the second half.
Wide receiver Marcus Davis, who went down after a punt return in the fourth quarter, “is fine,” according to special teams coach Scott Fountain. He said Fountain shouldn’t miss any time.
Right tackle Pat Miller missed his third consecutive game for an off-field issue and is expected to be ready and available for next Saturday’s trip to Arkansas.
Tight end Brandon Fulse, who missed the Western Carolina game but returned last Saturday for Texas A&M, did not play Saturday.
Tigers have been running through opponents
Auburn's offense has ripped through two non-conference opponents and SEC rival Texas A&M in the last three games.
Consider the totals in the wins against Western Carolina, Texas A&M and Florida Atlantic: 1,955 total yards, 1,312 rushing yards and 84 first downs.
Saturday's win over Florida Atlantic were pretty par for this course. The Tigers had 628 total yards, of which 422 came from the running game. Auburn had 27 first downs.
Auburn is obliterating most of the offensive numbers it posted last year. An example: The Tigers scored 224 points in 12 games last year. It has 296 points in eight games this year.
Chris Davis turns around, makes big return
Chris Davis' 70-yard punt return wasn't exactly a textbook play, considering he caught the ball over his shoulder near his own goal line with a lot of yards and tacklers in his way. But Davis quickly turned things around, raced up the field and moved Auburn in a position to score again.
"Boy, that was really nice," said head coach Gus Malzahn. "He caught the ball near the goal line, and came right back out. He had a couple of good blocks, and he almost took that the distance. It was a big shot in the arm."
Davis wasn't as sharp on a couple of other returns, including after being hit hard by Freedom Whitfield, who was injured on the play and taken off the field in a cart.
"It is scary when you first walk up," said Florida Atlantic coach Carl Pelini. "When you first walk up you are not sure if he is out or if he is just not moving. When he came to and answered a couple questions, although incorrectly, he was moving his arms, but he was still pretty out of it. It was great to see him walking back in that locker room that is for sure."
Pelini said he thought "six or seven" Owls were hurt in the game. "Hopefully, we can get most of those guys back," he said.
Davis, Mitchell lead Tiger tacklers
With substitutes playing early and often, Auburn’s leading tacklers Saturday were cornerback Chris Davis and reserve redshirt freshman linebacker JaViere Mitchell with five apiece. Linebacker Cassanova McKinzy had four tackles. Defensive end Dee Ford had three tackles and a sack.
Auburn had 10 quarterback hurries. Florida Atlantic had one sack but had no quarterback hurries.