Auburn quarterback Chris Todd throws in the first half
Sept. 26, 2009
AUBURN - Chris Todd tied an Auburn record with five touchdown passes as the Tigers (4-0, 1-0 SEC) tallied 560 yards of total offense in a 54-30 win over Ball State (0-4). For the fourth week in a row, Auburn came from behind to win after spotting Ball State an early 7-0 lead.
The game also marked the second in a row to have a delayed start as thunderstorms in the area forced the game to move from its 6 p.m. scheduled kickoff time to 6:30 p.m.
Auburn will return to action Oct. 3 as the Tigers travel to Knoxville, Tenn., to take on Tennessee (2-2, 0-1 SEC). The game is slated for a 6:45 p.m. CT kickoff from Neyland Stadium and will air on ESPN.
Ball State struck first against the Tigers, recovering a muffed punt on Auburn's 18-yard line. Four plays later, MiQuale Lewis took the ball around the right side to get Ball State in the end zone at the 12:26 mark in the opening period for its only lead of the game.
Auburn forced a fumble of its own shortly thereafter, sacking Cardinal quarterback Kelly Page. The Tigers moved the ball to the BSU 6-yard-line, setting up a pass from Todd to Tommy Trott, giving the senior his first touchdown reception of the year with 2:53 remaining in the first quarter.
Heading into the second quarter with the game tied, 7-7, Auburn managed to put up a near record-setting performance while limiting the Cardinals to just a field goal. The Tigers tallied 26 points in the period with three touchdowns and a safety, giving Auburn its highest scoring quarter since racking up 28 against Tennessee-Chattanooga on Sept. 9, 1995.
Terrell Zachery opened the scoring at the 13:47 mark with 46-yard pass from Todd. Zachery caught a pass in the flat near the line of scrimmage and ran down the sideline for the score to give Auburn the lead.
Auburn extended the lead immediately after the touchdown, forcing Ball State back to its own end zone on the ensuing possession. After recovering the fumble that led to Auburn's first touchdown, Josh Bynes stepped up again as he tackled Lewis in Ball State's end zone for a safety at the 12:53 mark in the quarter. The safety was the first recorded by an individual Auburn player since Charles Dorsey had one against Louisiana Tech in 1998.
Taking possession after the safety, Onterio McCalebb rushed for 62 yards only to be brought down at the Ball State 1-yard-line. McCalebb punched the ball in on the next play to pick up his third touchdown of the season. Byrum's kick extended the lead to 23-7 with 12:20 left to play in the half.
The Tigers came right back on their next possession as Todd completed a 77-yard pass to Zachery at the 8:22 mark in the second quarter.
Ball State kicker Ian McGarvey gave the Cardinals their lone points of the quarter, connecting on a 33-yard field goal with 2:35 left in the first half to cut the lead to 30-10.
Byrum tallied his first field goal of the night with seven seconds left in the first half, connecting from 32 yards out to give Auburn the 33-10 lead heading into the locker room. With the field goal, Auburn has scored in the final two minutes of the first half in each game this season.
Auburn made good on its first possession of the second half, taking the opening kickoff and marching down the field to set up a 26-yard pass from Todd to Darvin Adams at the 11:39 mark of the third quarter. Byrum's kick gave the Tigers a 40-10 lead.
Ball State answered on its next possession as quarterback Page kept the ball on a fake and ran 21 yards for the touchdown.
Auburn did not back down as Todd tied the Auburn record for single-game touchdown passes on the next possession, catching Marion Fanin with a pass in the flat that turned into a 36-yard touchdown reception. The touchdown, Todd's fifth on the night, tied Daniel Cobb for the school single-game record after he completed on five against Louisiana Tech on Oct. 20, 2001. Byrum's kick gave the Tigers a 47-17 lead at the 7:09 mark of the third quarter.
Not down yet, the Cardinals came back at the 12:39 mark in the fourth quarter with Page tallying his first touchdown pass of the night on a 1-yard pass to Zane Fakes. McGarvey's kick cut the Auburn lead to 47-24.
The Cardinals came right back on their next possession, capitalizing on a Neil Caudle interception, setting up McGarvey for a 37-yard field goal with 10:14 remaining in the game.
Caudle bounced back from the interception on the next possession, running 52 yards for his first career touchdown at the 7:19 mark of the fourth quarter. Byrum's kick extended the Auburn lead to 54-27 and gave Auburn its most points in a game since scoring 55 against New Mexico State on Sept. 22, 2007.
McGarvey closed out the game with a 33-yard field goal with 4:58 remaining, making for a 54-30 final score.
Todd finished the night with 19 completions on 26 attempts for a career-high 287 yards and five touchdowns. Two of those touchdowns went to Zachery, who finished the night with 122 receiving yards on five catches. Adams followed with 73 on five receptions while Fannin was third on the team with 55 yards on three catches.
McCalebb led the Auburn rushing attack with 83 yards and a touchdown. Ben Tate finished second with 63 yards, but led the team in all-purpose yards with 139 after racking up 58 yards from kick returns.
Defensively for Auburn, the Tigers were led by Daren Bates' seven tackles. Josh Bynes, Neiko Thorpe, Craig Stevens and Harris Gaston each finished with six tackles on the night while Bates, Stevens, Dee Ford, Antonio Coleman and Mike Blanc combined for Auburn's five quarterback sacks.
With the win, Auburn improves to 3-0 all-time against Ball State and 7-0 all-time against teams from the Mid-American Conference.