(Saturday, September 6th)
Final Score: (9) Auburn 27, Southern Mississippi 13
Auburn, AL (Sports Network) - Ben Tate, Tristan Davis and Kodi Burns all rushed for touchdowns, as the ninth-ranked Auburn Tigers held on for a 27-13 home victory over the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles.
Quarterback Chris Todd finished 21-of-31 for 248 yards for Auburn (2-0), while Tate rushed for 71 yards and had three receptions for 51 yards. The Tigers are scheduled to visit Mississippi State next Saturday.
"We rushed for over 100 [yards] which is a necessity in this offense," Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville said. "I thought we ran the ball hard. We're getting better in the running schemes. We're controlling the ball better and the backs are running hard."
Shawn Nelson pulled in 12 catches for 118 yards and two touchdowns for Southern Mississippi (1-1). Austin Davis threw the two scores but was also intercepted twice. Davis ended 33-of-50 for 268 yards
After a frustrating first 15 minutes of the game, Auburn grabbed a 7-0 lead on a one-yard touchdown run by Tate with 13:10 left in the second frame. The drive lasted just 2:04 and consisted of six plays for 26 yards.
The Tigers then forced the Golden Eagles to punt, and Auburn extended its advantage to 14-0 by marching 76 yards on seven plays with 8:23 remaining in the first half. Tristan Davis scampered 13 yards into the end zone.
Southern Mississippi could not move the ball to start the second half. After the Golden Eagles punted the ball away, Wes Byrum opened the scoring in the third quarter with a 52-yard field goal to give the Tigers a 17-0 lead nearly 2 1/2 minutes into the frame.
With 6:49 to go in the third quarter, Burns capped a 12-play, 75 yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run. The drive lasted 3:17 and Todd completed five of his nine pass attempts.
The Golden Eagles got on the scoreboard with 2:33 to play in the third quarter. Nelson pulled in a one-yard pass from Austin Davis to cut the deficit to 24-6. Southern Mississippi went for the two-point conversion, but Davis' pass was knocked down in the end zone.
Nelson and Davis connected once again, as Southern Mississippi pulled to within 24-13 with 11.48 remaining in the contest. Davis hit Nelson with a 17- yard pass give the Golden Eagles hope for an upset.
Byrum's second field goal of the day, a 23-yard kick, increased Auburn's lead to 27-13 with 7:06 remaining in the game.
"Obviously we are disappointed with the loss," Southern Miss head coach Larry Fedora said. "I was disappointed in the way that we executed. I was pleased with the way defense hung in there the entire game. They forced four turnovers. They did a great job."
The Tigers dominated the action in the first quarter, but were unable to get on the scoreboard. Auburn out-gained Southern Mississippi 135 yards to just 16, but two turnovers kept the ninth-ranked squad from earning any points.
Auburn leads the all-time series with Southern Mississippi by a 17-5 count... Southern Mississippi crushed UL-Lafayette by a final of 51-21 in its season opener...This was the first time the schools met since 1993...The Golden Eagles will visit Arkansas State next Saturday.
09/06 19:50:14 ET