AUBURN, Ala. Jay Prosch had no idea the ball was coming his way.
The fullback had no reason to think it would, either. Coming into Saturday's game against Western Carolina, the senior had only three catches for 31 yards this season.
On top of that, he had never caught a touchdown pass.
So imagine Prosch's surprise when he saw Jeremy Johnson rifle a pass in his direction in the first quarter of the Tigers' 62-3 victory, a play which ultimately resulted in his first career touchdown reception.
"I'm not like the No. 1 read on that, so I wasn't expecting the ball, but I came through the linebackers and got in the end zone," Prosch said. "I was looking, and I could tell he was looking, too, and I just made sure I stayed with him. He looked at me and I looked back at him and that's when I realized he would throw it to me. So it was cool."
Tre Mason could only laugh at the thought of Prosch a fullback running around with a cast on his hand as a receiving threat.
"You see that club on his hand and some people doubt that he can catch," Mason said. "He can do it, though. He's really good with his hands."
The junior running back was also unable to hide his excitement that Prosch was finally in the spotlight that all too often goes to those playing flashier positions.
"I love watching him shine, because he does all the dirty work for us," Mason said. "I love seeing him score."
Prosch was just one of four Tigers who found the end zone for the first time Saturday, joining Tony Stevens, Ricardo Louis and Johnathan Ford. That quartet was part of a record-setting performance for Auburn's offense, which tallied 712 total yards against the Catamounts, 511 on the ground and 201 through the air. It broke a school mark that had stood since 1985, when the Tigers racked up 695 yards (565 rushing, 130 passing) against Southwest Louisiana.
Not that Auburn's players were aware of the history they were making as it unfolded.
"I knew that we were having an awesome game," Prosch said, "but I didn't even think about that."
Regardless, Mason said it was something he would treasure. Until another set of Tigers come along in the future to rewrite the record books, he took solace in the fact he was a member of the greatest offensive day in Auburn's storied annals.
"It's great to be a part of history," he said. "These guys, we work hard in practice and it's paying off. Our coaches called the perfect calls. We have the best coaching staff in college football, from Coach (Gus) Malzahn on down. It's just a good feeling."
Defense OK with offense taking top billing
Nosa Eguae was fine with being the overlooked unit on Saturday.
Besides, what is a defense to do when its offense sets a school record?
"That's how it is," Eguae said. "We have a great offense, but we feel like we have a great defense, too. We're just trying to get better. That's all we can do go out there and get better every single day."
The Tigers allowed only three points and 173 yards of offense to the Catamounts. Auburn's defense was so stingy, Western Carolina only crossed midfield twice in the entire game. The distribution of the Tigers' tackles tells how out of hand the game became: linebackers Kris Frost and Anthony Swain tied for the team-high with three takedowns.
Eguae only wanted to focus on the youthful members of Auburn's defense, who kept Western Carolina out of the end zone even when the starters had long been on the bench.
"They didn't miss a beat," he said. "They've been itching and waiting to get in there. And when they got in there, they made plays. They made (things) happen."
Earlier in the week, Malzahn said that Ford would stay at cornerback for the rest of the season after moving there during fall camp. However, the true freshman who was recruited as a running back was in the backfield Saturday, scoring his first career touchdown on a 38-yard rush in the final period. Despite Ford's appearance on offense, Malzahn said the Big Cove, Ala., native would remain a defensive back. "I think you can see hes a phenomenal player," Malzahn said. "The fact that we have three experienced backs obviously has something to do with that." ... Malzahn said that tight end Brandon Fulse and right tackle Ryan Miller missed Saturday's game due to "off the field things they needed to take care of." When asked whether the duo had been suspended, Malzahn refrained from answering.