The Countdown to Kickoff continues at 58 days today until Auburn meets Washington at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. It was a little tough to find an appropriate play to fit the number 58, but our old friend Kenny Irons delivered.
Auburn opened the 2006 season ranked 4th behind Ohio State, Notre Dame, and defending national champion Texas. The Tigers had completed a very good 2005 season, and despite the lackluster finish in the loss to Wisconsin on New Year’s Day, most of the team was back for the fall. That included quarterback Brandon Cox, and tailback Kenny Irons, who ran for nearly 1300 yards and 13 touchdowns the season before.
The Tigers’ opener that season ended up being a team that would come from way out west, just like we’d seen in 2003, but this one ended up much better for Tommy Tuberville’s bunch.
Washington State entered the game coming off of two straight losing seasons (thanks, Mike Price), but had enough talent to give Auburn a bit of trouble. Fortunately for the Tigers, Kenny Irons provided enough muscle to help the home team come out on top.
His first carry of the game nearly went the distance (43 yards to be exact), while his first carry of the second half did end up finding the promised land. Irons’ 183 yards on the night was highlighted by his 58-yard touchdown to open the third quarter. It’s the second play in the video below.
You can see the cutback ability and the speed to run away from the rest of the defenders. Irons was a special talent that we didn’t utilize enough early in 2005, and then we didn’t get to see him a whole lot in 2006 after a high ankle sprain sidelined him for portions of the season.
In 2006, he only ran for 893 yards and 4 touchdowns, averaging 4.5 yards per carry. Still, he was part of the most successful run in the Tuberville era, and a fantastic back when healthy.