Jeff Burger's job used to be handing the ball to one of Auburn's star tailbacks. In a 20-10 victory over North Carolina on Saturday at Chapel Hill, N.C., Burger was the man who made the offense click.
Burger, ranked No. 2 in the nation in passing efficiency, threw two third-quarter touchdown passes as the No. 6-ranked Tigers improved to 3-0-1.
In the two previous seasons, Burger was in the backfield with Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson and, last season, with Brent Fullwood.
"I've been in an offense where all I did was turn around and pitch the ball to Bo and Brent and not do anything," Burger said. "I really like being involved as much as I am and having a little control out there."
Burger said the game took on added meaning after the 20-20 tie with Tennessee last weekend.
"We kept thinking . . . that our whole season was on the line," he said. "We had to do what was necessary to win this game."
Auburn Coach Pat Dye said he challenged his team before the game and again at halftime when the game was tied, 3-3.
"I think you could sense that we were a different team in the second half," Dye said.
North Carolina took a 10-3 lead at 7:18 of the third quarter when defensive tackle Tim Goad blocked Brian Shulman's punt and Norris Davis ran six yards for a touchdown after picking up the loose ball.
It took Burger and Auburn six plays to tie the score. Burger, who completed 17 of 26 passes for 180 yards, found Freddy Weygand wide open for a 33-yard scoring play with 5:17 left in the third quarter. Then, Kurt Crain's second interception of a pass by Mark Maye at the North Carolina 41 set up a two-yard game-winning pass from Burger to Vincent Harris.
Maye carried the offensive load for North Carolina (3-2), completing 19 of 41 attempts for 232 yards, but had 4 passes intercepted.
N. Carolina St. 17, Georgia Tech 0--Freshman Preston Poag passed for one touchdown and the Wolfpack recorded its first shutout in four years in defeating the Yellow Jackets in an Atlantic Coast Conference game at Raleigh, N.C.
N.C. State, 2-3 overall and 2-1 in the ACC, held Georgia Tech to 81 yards rushing and 272 yards in total offense. It was the third straight loss for Georgia Tech, 1-3 and 0-3.
N.C. State overcame two early turnovers and scored on a two-yard pass from Poag to Bobby Harrell on the first play of the second quarter to culminate a 74-yard drive.
Bryan Carter added a 31-yard field goal with 2:59 remaining in the half to make it 10-0.
N.C. State's final score came with 21 seconds remaining on a 1-yard run by Todd Varn.
The shutout was the first for the Wolfpack since blanking The Citadel, 45-0, in the second game of the 1983 season.
Virginia Tech 31, Navy 11--At Blacksburg, Va., freshman flanker Jon Jeffries rushed for 128 yards, including a 56-yard touchdown, and Randy Cockrell returned an interception 90 yards for a score as Frank Beamer got his first victory as coach of the Hokies, who lost their first three games.
Navy Coach Elliott Uzelac is 0-4 in his first year with the Midshipmen.
Cockrell converted an interception of Alton Grizzard's pass into the second-longest return in Virginia Tech history. Ashley Lee returned an interception 94 yards against Vanderbilt in 1983.
Navy's wishbone offense gained 345 yards rushing compared to 208 for Virginia Tech, but the Midshipmen had only a field goal until the last three seconds of play, when Grizzard completed an eight-yard touchdown pass to Carl Jordan.
Navy's Chuck Smith carried 30 times for 143 yards.
Virginia 30, VMI 0--Marcus Wilson carried 34 times for 129 yards and scored on runs of 1 and 4 yards as the Cavaliers (3-2) won for the third straight time and dropped the Division I-AA Keydets to 2-2.
So. Mississippi 65, Louisville 6--Shelton Gandy rushed for 171 yards and 2 touchdowns at Louisville, while Howard Schnellenberger was suffering the most lopsided loss in his college coaching career.