AUBURN, Ala. -- A 70-yard touchdown run by Ontario McCalebb coupled with a nearly unstoppable effort by quarterback Cam Newton carried No. 5 Auburn past No. 6 LSU on Saturday, 24-17.
LSU (7-1, 4-1 SEC) tied the game early in the fourth quarter with a 39-yard halfback pass from Spencer Ware to wide receiver Rueben Randle, but wasn't able to stop the potent rushing Auburn attack nor get its offense in rhythm.
LSU has an open date on Oct. 30 and returns to action on Nov. 6 in Tiger Stadium against Alabama (6-1, 3-1 SEC).
Auburn (8-0, 5-0 SEC) took over the SEC Western Division lead.
Newton, a 6-foot-6, 250-pound quarterback, ran 28 times for 217 yards with two touchdowns. He also completed 10-of-16 passes for 86 yards.
LSU starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson was 7-of-14 passing for 46 yards and a first-half interception. He took 16 rushing attempting for 74 yards including a 2-yard touchdown run that tied the game at 10-10 just before halftime.
Jarrett Lee shared snaps with Jefferson and completed 8-of-14 passes for 43 yards.
Defensively, LSU linebacker Ryan Baker had a game-high 12 tackles and forced a fumble.
Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairly was a handful for the LSU offensive line, collecting six tackles including 2.5 sacks and four behind the line.
LSU was outgained, 526-243. Auburn had 440 yards rushing (8.5 per carry).
LSU won the coin toss and deferred to the second half, electing to kick to Auburn's Demond Washington. The senior returned the kick 24 yards to the 37-yard line. Newton's first run of the game came up a yard short on third-and-2 and Auburn punted.
Jefferson led LSU's first drive of the game into Auburn territory, advancing to the Auburn 38 with multiple personnel groups that included 15 skill position players and a variety of plays called. However, the junior quarterback was intercepted on third-and-8 when his pass to Randle glanced off the outstretched arms of the LSU receiver and into the waiting hands of Auburn senior safety Zac Etheridge.
Ethridge's 33-yard return setup a short field for the Auburn offense, as Newton gained 10 yards and wide receiver Terrell Zachery earned 12 on an end around to the LSU 32. Another 9-yard first-down run by Newton setup a 16-yard dash by Dyer to the LSU 1. Newton hammed his way into the endzone to give Auburn a 7-0 lead with 5:32 left in the opening quarter.
With Jefferson under center, LSU again tacked its way into Auburn territory. Two 8-yard runs by Ridley gave LSU first downs, and another 8-yard run by Jefferson put the Tigers at the Auburn 30. A high incomplete pass from Jefferson to Shepard and a false start penalty forced LSU to settle for a 48-yard Josh Jasper field goal. With 3:37 to play in the first, LSU trailed 7-3.
Another 33-yard kickoff return from the Auburn endzone started the ensuing drive, however, incomplete passes and solid tackling of Newton stalled the high powered offense at the LSU 25. Auburn senior placekicker became the school's all-time leading scorer with a 42-yard field goal that pushed the lead back to seven, 10-3.
For the third time in as many drives, LSU moved inside the Auburn 40. In his first series, Lee connected with Randle for passes of 9 and 8 yards to the Auburn 43, and then Toliver for a first down to the 39. A pass to Shepard in the flat was stuffed by Auburn for a loss of a yard and LSU tight end dropped a pass near the first-down marker. On third and long, Lee was sacked at midfield.
LSU downed punter Derek Helton's 49-yard punt at the Auburn 1, but Newton was able to help his team escape. On second-and-8 from his 15, Newton broke contain for the first time and rushed 29 yards to the 44. A 14-yard run by Mario Fannin gave Auburn a first down at the LSU 25. The LSU defense again stiffened, and Byrum's 39-yard field goal attempt was pulled to the left.
The missed proved critical, as it allowed LSU to tie the game just before the break. Lee started the drive but was knocked out on the fourth play after taking a hit from Auburn defensive lineman Nick Fairly. On the next play, Jefferson's facemask was grabbed on his way out of the pocket, and LSU entered Auburn's side of the field.
Facing third-and-16 after a Fairly sack at the Auburn 40, Jefferson scrambled for 16 yards to the 24. A 12-yard pass to Toliver put LSU at the Auburn 12. On third-and-1 from the 3, Jefferson's fade route to Toliver was bobbled but ruled pass interference on Auburn's Thorpe.
A Ridley run went for no gain and forced LSU to spike the ball to stop the clock with no timeouts and 19 seconds left. Looking to pass on third down, Jefferson escaped the grasp of Auburn's Daren Bates and darted into the right side of the endzone.
The 14-play, 78-yard drive allowed LSU to tie the game at, 10-10, with 15 seconds remaining in the half.
Three big plays in Auburn's first drive of the second half put LSU behind again, 17-10. A 30-yard run by Dyer and a 17-yard catch by Darvin Adams setup a 49-yard touchdown run by Newton with 11:10 left in the third quarter.
Jefferson and Lee each led a series to start the second half and went three-and-out after a negative play stalled each drive.
On Auburn's second drive of the half, Newton tossed passes of 12 and 10 yards near midfield. Fannin took a handoff on first down and Baker knocked the ball loose. Cornerback Morris Claiborne jumped on the ball to give LSU its first turnover of the game at its 44-yard line.
A 16-yard run by Jefferson gave LSU a first down at the Auburn 40, however, two passes fell incomplete and Jasper entered to pooch punt. LSU gunner Ron Brooks caught the punt at the Auburn 2 with 6:18 left in the quarter.
On second down, LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu tackled wide receiver Kodi Burns near the goalline and LSU bottled up Newton on third down to force a punt.
An incomplete pass and a fumbled snap by Lee foiled LSU's drive, but Helton was again able to pin Auburn deep in its territory. Brooks again downed the punt at the Auburn 1 with 4:13 left in the quarter.
With help from Dyer, Newton was able to find his way out of the bad situation. LSU earned its first sack of the game on third-and-2 when linebacker Kelvin Sheppard brought down Newton at the Auburn 35.
After a 33-yard punt that was returned to midfield by Peterson, LSU gained a first down on a short run by Jefferson to the Auburn 39. Looking for an offensive spark, LSU called a halfback pass for Ware -- a former high school quarterback -- who connected with Randle to tie the game at 17-17 with 12:16 to play.
The trickery inspired the LSU defense as well, as LSU overcame another long run by Newton and stopped Auburn on fourth-and-6 from its 40.
LSU went three-and-out again when Jefferson was sacked on third-and-6, yet Helton came up with another booming punt that was downed at the Auburn 10.
Newton gained 16 yards on first down. Two plays later, McCalebb ran for a back-breaking 70 touchdown. With 5:05 to play, Auburn took the lead for good.
With Lee under center, the Tigers came up short on fourth down.
Newton was able to gain a pair of first downs to end the game.
#6 LSU vs. #5 Auburn
Oct. 23, 2010 - Jordan-Hare Stadium (Auburn, Ala.)
LSU Postgame Notes
1. LSU's game captains were 30 Josh Jasper, 80 Terrence Toliver, 11 Kelvin Sheppard, 7 Patrick Peterson, 53 T-Bob Hebert, 68 Josh Dworaczyk and 92 Drake Nevis.
2. LSU won the toss and deferred to the second half. Auburn received the opening kickoff.
3. Barkevious Mingo made his first career start today, earning the start at right defensive end. LSU has now used 14 first-time starters this season.
4. RB Stevan Ridley had two rushing touchdowns tonight: a 2-yard run with 0:44 to go in the first quarter and a 10-yard run with 9:47 left in the second quarter. He now has six rushing TDs for the season and nine for his career. Ridley has now scored in five of his last six games.
a. For Ridley, it was the first multi-touchdown game of his career and the first by an LSU running back since Keiland Williams against Louisiana Tech last season.
b. LSU has back-to-back games with at least one player rushing for a pair of touchdowns. QB Jordan Jefferson reached the endzone twice at Florida last weekend.
5. PK Josh Jasper made one field goals today: a 48-yarder with 1:47 to go in the first quarter.
a. Jasper is now 33-of-39 for his career and moved into a tie for sixth place in LSU career field goals made.
b. From 40 yards or more, Jasper is now 11-of-15 for his career.
c. For the season, Jasper improved to 14-of-17 on field goals.
d. Jasper remains the LSU leader in career field goal percentage having drilled 84.6 percent of his kicks. He is also second in SEC history in that category.
6. QB Jordan Jefferson recorded his fifth rushing touchdown of the season and seventh of his career on a 3-yard run with 0:15 left in the second quarter.
a. Jefferson's five rushing TDs are the most by an LSU quarterback in a season since 1998 when Herb Tyler had seven.
7. LB Ryan Baker forced a fumble with 8:04 left in the third quarter and it was recovered by CB Morris Claiborne. It was the first fumble Auburn lost since the South Carolina game in game 4.
a. Baker set a new career high with 12 tackles, including nine solo stops.
8. RB Spencer Ware fired his first career touchdown pass on a 39-yard completion to Rueben Randle. LSU scored on this play at Auburn in 2008 when Keiland Williams threw a 22-yard TD pass to Demetrius Byrd. Ware played QB in high school.
9. WR Rueben Randle's 39-yard TD reception was his second of the season and fourth of his career. He also set career highs in receptions (six) and yards (73).
10. P Derek Helton set a career best with a 53.2-yard average per punt as he blasted four punts at least 50 yards and placed four punts inside the Auburn 20-yard line.