Sept. 24, 2011
AUBURN, Ala. -- A 20-point third quarter propelled the Auburn Tigers to a 30-14 victory over Florida Atlantic on Saturday night before 82,249 fans at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Auburn (3-1) has now won 17 of its last 18 games, dating back to the 2010 Outback Bowl. Florida Atlantic fell to 0-3.
Quarterback Barrett Trotter finished 16-for-28 passing for 178 yards, tossing two touchdown passes along with one interception. Michael Dyer led the Auburn rushing attack with 68 yards on 14 carries, and Emory Blake had 78 yards on five receptions with a touchdown.
The Auburn defense, however, was responsible for a good amount of the Tiger offense. Auburn had three interceptions on the night with two leading to points. Neiko Thorpe and Jermaine Whitehead each had a pick in the third quarter, with Whitehead returning his 25 yards for a touchdown to give Auburn a 17-6 lead on FAU's third offensive play of the half. It was the first career pick and touchdown for Whitehead. Thorpe's interception later in the quarter was the fifth of his career and set up a 31-yard field goal by Cody Parkey to give Auburn a 27-6 lead with 6:51 on the clock in the third.
Between the two interceptions, Trotter found McCalebb on a screen pass that went for 51 yards and an Auburn touchdown, increasing the Tiger lead to 24-6 at the 8:07 mark of the third quarter. It was the second receiving touchdown of McCalebb's career and his longest reception as a Tiger, surpassing a 25-yard catch against Utah State earlier this season.
Parkey would tack on his third field goal of the night - a career-high - with a 37-yard kick to extend the Auburn lead to 30-6 on the final play of the third quarter.
FAU got on the board first, taking advantage of an Auburn turnover deep in Tiger territory. The Owls picked up one first down, then settled for a 39-yard field goal from Vinny Zaccario to take a 3-0 lead.
Auburn would answer on its next possession, putting together an 11-play, 60-yard drive that ended with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Trotter to Blake; Cody Parkey would kick it to 7-3 midway through the first quarter.
The Tigers would again march into Owl territory on their next possession and increase their lead to 10-3 on a 41-yard Parkey field goal just before the end of the opening period.
Another field goal from Zaccario early in the second quarter, this one from 43 yards, would cut the Tiger lead to 10-6 after a 13-play, 61-yard drive by the Owls. From there, both teams would cross midfield on multiple occasions, but no further scoring opportunities presented themselves before the half.
Auburn had 155 yards of total offense in the first half, two more than FAU's 153.
Florida Atlantic would score its first touchdown of the season midway through the fourth quarter, capping off an 11-play, 78-yard drive with a 12-yard pass to Alfred Morris; the Owls' two-point try was good to make it a 16-point game with just under 10 minutes to play.
Morris led the Owls with 85 rushing yards on 15 carries and also four catches for 43 yards. Quarterback Graham Wilbert was 20-for-31 for 191 yards and a touchdown, but also threw three interceptions.
The Tigers will return to Southeastern Conference play next week as they travel to Columbia, S.C., for a rematch of the 2010 SEC Championship Game with the South Carolina Gamecocks. Kickoff time will be announced Sunday.