For the second straight Saturday night, Auburn withstood a tremendous effort from a South Carolina team to score a dramatic come from behind victory. Last week the Tigers edged Clemson by three points in overtime. This Saturday in an SEC thriller, the Tigers rallied to beat USC 35-27 before another sellout crowd of over 87-thousand fans at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Turnovers cost USC dearly in this game. There were the two they lost in the fourth quarter that Auburn coverted into 14 points. And there was the one USC failed to recover on an Auburn possession in the third quarter. That mistake did not lead directly to Auburn points, but it did deny the chance for the Gamecocks to get good field position and perhaps turn the momentum their way.
Much like Clemson did, the Gamecocks dominated the first half and led 20-7 late in the second quarter. But just like in the Clemson game, Auburn scored late in the half to swing momentum its way. It was a field goal last week and a touchdown this time that made it a 20-14 game at halftime.
The teams exchanged third quarter touchdowns, so USC took a 27-21 lead into the fourth quarter. But those two turnovers Auburn converted into touchdowns proved to be too much for USC to overcome.
The Gamecock defense had no answer for Auburn’s running game. The Tigers rushed for 334 yards averaging 5.9 yards per carry. Newton rushed for 176 yards and 3 touchdowns. And freshman Michael Dyer hadd 100 rushing yards. Newton also passed for 158 yards and 2 scores.
The Gamecocks could not get the running game going at all. Marcus Lattimore was held to just 33 yards and the Gamecocks managed just 79 yards on the ground. Garcia was 15-21 thru the air for 235 yards and 3 touchdowns. And Alshon Jeffery was spectacular with 8 catches for 192 yards and 2 scores.
Auburn had 29 first downs, 20 of them rushing, and converted 7 of 12 third down attempts. The Tigers ran 78 plays to the Gamecocks 57.
With the win Auburn improves to 4-0 and 2-0 in the SEC. The Tigers will face Louisiana-Monroe at home next week. The Gamecocks fall to 3-1 and 1-1. They are off next weekend.
Continue for game recap and statistics
1st Quarter Recap:
- On it’s first possession, Auburn scores quickly. QB Cam Newton breaks free up the middle and then takes it outside and up the sideline for a 54 yard scoring run. Auburn leads 7-0 with 8:50 to play in the quarter.
USC responds with a scoring drive of 80 yards in 6 plays. Stephen Garcia connected with Alshon Jeffery on a picture perfect 30 yard pass in right side of end zone. It’s tied 7-7 with 5:32 to play in the quarter.
- On Auburn’s next possession, Mario Fannin fumbled after a hit by Chris Culliver and Shaq Wilson recovered at the Auburn 44. USC then went 7 plays for a score with Marcus Lattimore slicing in from a yard out. Garcia completed big passes to Tori Gurley and Jeffery on the drive. USC leads 14-7 with 1:04 to play in the quarter.
- End of quarter: USC 14-Auburn 7
2nd Quarter Recap:
- Wilson recovers second fumble of the game, this one by Michael Dyer at Auburn 47, and USC proceeds to drive it in for a score, this one a 6 yard pass from Garcia to Jeffery. The extra point is missed due to a bad snap and hold. With 6:16 left in the quarter, USC leads 20-7.
- Auburn picked up the tempo on its next possession and drove 76 yards in 12 plays. Newton had several big runs on the drive and capped it with a 3 yard run to paydirt. With 0:46 left in the half, USC leads 20-14.
- End of Half: USC 20-Auburn 14
3rd Quarter Recap:
- Auburn moves into USC terretory on opening drive but has to settle for a 52.5 yard field goal attempt by Wes Byrum which is wide right.
- After forcing a USC punt, Auburn goes right now the field for a go ahead score. Newton runs in from 4 yards out giving Auburn a 21-20 lead with 6:14 to play in the quarter.
- USC responded quickly. On the first play of the next possession, Garcia hit Jeffery for 69 yards to the Auburn 6. Two plays later he hit Tori Gurley with a 3 yard scoring pass, his third TD pass of the game. With 4:45 left in the quarter, USC leads 27-21.
- End of Quarter: USC 27-Auburn 21
4th Quarter Recap:
- Auburn drives to USC 1 but a procedure penalty on 4th down wipes out a Newton TD dive. Then, Byrum hits the right upright on 23 yard FG attempt.
- On USC’s first play on next possession, Garcia is hit hard while scrambling and fumbles. Auburn recovers at USC 26. Garcia was wobbly coming off the field.
- Auburn makes USC pay for the turnover with a 7 yard Newton to Philip Lutzenkurchen pass in left corner of the end zone. With 13;35 left, Auburn leads 28-27.
- USC has a drive into Auburn terretory on its next possession but it ends with another lost Garcia fumble at the Auburn 47.
- The Tigers once again covert the turnover with Newton tossing 12 yards to Emory Blake for the score. With 6:23 left, Auburn leads 35-27.
- Connor Shaw replaces Garcia at quarterback on the Gamecocks’ next series, and he methodically moves the team to a first down at the Auburn 25. But an ill advised throw across the middle is picked off by Josh Bynes with 3:19 to play.
- Auburn is forced to punt and USC gets a final chance starting at its own 43 yard line with 1:27 left and no timeouts. Shaw remains the quarterback and once again moves the Gamecocks deep into Auburn terretory. Facing second and two from the Auburn 18, Shaw lofts a pass for Jeffery on the left side of the end zone. Auburn has three players in the area yet Jeffery is able to get his hands on the ball. But contact by the Auburn defender knocked the ball into the air and it was intercepted by Demond Washington. Auburn then ran out the clock.
- Final Score: Auburn 35-USC 27