Oct. 1, 2011
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COLUMBIA, S.C. -- It was an Auburn team effort of defense all day long and Tigers offense when it counted as Auburn upset No. 10 South Carolina 16-13 in Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday.
On 3rd and 5 from the South Carolina 9, Barrett Trotter threw a touchdown pass to Philip Lutzenkirchen with 1:38 left to give Auburn the lead for good. It was Lutzenkirchen's 10th career touchdown reception and tied the Auburn school TD record for tight ends with Robert Johnson (2000-02).
The winning drive started with 5:27 remaining in the game, and the Tigers took over on their own 43 after yet another three and out by its dominating defense on the day. On 3rd and 13 from the Tiger 40, Trotter threw a strike to Deangelo Benton for a first down at the South Carolina 45. Onterio McCalebb rushed 19 yards to the Carolina 19 on huge 3rd and 9 play with 2:47 to go. The huge touchdown pass capped a 12 play, 57-yard drive in 3:49.
"We've got such great character on this team with these guys," said Auburn head coach Gene Chizik. "What a great win for Auburn tonight. I told them at halftime that I could see the tree falling - we've just got to keep chopping wood. I knew that at one point, offensively, we would make that tree fall."
That's when Auburn's defense made yet another outstanding defensive stand to win the ball game.
South Carolina took over on its own 20 and drove the ball down to the Auburn 42 with 12 seconds remaining. Marcus Lattimore rushed for 3 yards and a first down just after a 19-yard Stephen Garcia to Alshon Jeffery completion. After an incomplete pass with 8 seconds remaining, Garcia completed a pass to the Auburn 30 as time ran out.
Lattimore, who came in as the nation's third-leading rusher with 611 yards in four games (152.75 yards/game), was limited to 66 yards rushing on 17 carries. Auburn's defense caused four turnovers on the day, two interceptions and recovered fumbles each, and held South Carolina to a season-low 289 yards.
"My hat's off to our defensive coaches and players," said Chizik. "What an incredible night for those guys. I could not be more proud of them. They needed this, especially against a great running back and a great team. This is a great start. We are 2-0 in conference play. It's huge for us."
Auburn improved to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the SEC while South Carolina fell to 4-1, including 2-1 in the league.
The Tiger defense was outstanding in the first half - and even better in the second -- as it held South Carolina to 151 yards of offense at halftime. The tone was set on the opening drive of the game.
Auburn held South Carolina on three plays, and then let the offense take over. The Tigers drove 47 yards in 10 plays as Cody Parkey nailed a 21-yard field goal to give Auburn a 3-0 lead almost five minutes into the game.
"We just wanted to go out there and execute in the game and play four quarters of football," said defensive end Nosa Eguae. "We wanted to show everyone in the nation what we can do and we did it tonight. You hear all week how your rushing defense is atrocious, it gets to you. It hurts you on the inside. It makes you want to go out and prove them wrong."
On the Gamecocks' next possession, Lattimore fumbled and Auburn's Jon Mincy recovered it at the South Carolina 36. On a second down end around trick play, Auburn freshman wide receiver C.J. Uzomah threw an interception intended for freshman Quan Bray at the South Carolina 11 that was returned 10 yards.
That led to an Alshon Jeffery 50-yard touchdown reception from Stephen Garcia to give South Carolina a 6-3 lead with 6:57 left in the first quarter. Corey Lemonier blocked the extra point.
On the first play of the second quarter, Kiehl Frazier scampered 22 yards to the 1 yard line to set up a Mike Dyer touchdown dive two plays later in the Wildcat formation as Auburn regained a 9-6 lead. Parkey's missed point after hit the right upright.
Auburn's Ryan White threw an interception on a 32-yard fake field goal attempt with just over a minute to go in the half as the Tigers' went into the locker room with a 9-6 lead.
Lattimore put South Carolina back on top, 13-9, with a 15-yard touchdown run with 5:58 left in the third quarter on a 2-play, 50-yard drive that was set up on a Garcia to Bruce Ellington 35-yard pass reception.
Neiko Thorpe intercepted a deep Garcia pass at the Auburn 31 and returned it to midfield with two minutes left in the third. On 3rd and 13, Trotter was intercepted by C.C. Whitlock at the Carolina 42. Whitlock returned it just past midfield before Philip Lutzenkirchen laid a hit on Whitlock and recovered the fumble at the Auburn 48.
"That was the Auburn defense that we are all used to seeing over the years," said Lutzenkirchen. "We challenged the defense this week by telling them that Lattimore was the best runner in the country. It made them mad, and it made our offense mad because we think we've got the two best."
The change of possession gave the Tigers a big first down. The drive ended when Trotter threw an interception in the end zone for a touchback that was nearly broken up Auburn's Jay Wisner. Whitlock made the interception laying on his back in the right back corner of the end zone three minutes into the fourth.
The win was the first time since 2007 that an unranked Auburn team defeated an Associated Press Top 10 team. In 2007, the unranked Tigers defeated No. 4 Florida, 20-17, in Gainesville. It was also Auburn's 10th consecutive conference victory and 11 straight against SEC opponents.
Dyer finished with a school record-tying 41 carries for 141 yards and a touchdown. The 41 carries ties Cadillac Williams' record set at Georgia in 2001. Trotter went 12-of-23 for 112 yards and a touchdown while Onterio McCalebb finished with 9 rushes for 58 yards and 3 receptions for 33 yards. Steven Clark pinned two punts inside the 5 yard line as Auburn won the battle of field position and time of possession 35:47 to 24:13.
The Tigers ran a season-high 92 plays for 358 total yards.
Trotter rallies Auburn against No. 10 South Carolina
Columbia, S.C. (AP) -- The defending national champions aren't done yet.
Auburn and its maligned defense bounced back in a big way on Saturday, defeating No. 10 South Carolina 16-13. The Tigers (4-1, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) overcame a spotty offense to wear down the Gamecocks at the end. Barrett Trotter found Phillip Lutzenkirchen for the go-ahead, 9-yard touchdown with 1:38 left.
"This was a game they willed to win," Auburn coach Gene Chizik said.
It's been a rough go for the BCS champions since beating Oregon for the title last January.
Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton and defensive tackle Nick Fairley jumped to the NFL, leaving big holes on both sides of the ball. They lost their 17-game win streak and their aura of invincibility two weeks ago at Clemson, which ran up 624 yards.
Plus, the Gamecocks had plenty of motivation to succeed, losing twice to Auburn a year ago, including a humiliating 56-17 loss in the SEC championship.
Instead, it was the Auburn defenders who shut down South Carolina star tailback Marcus Lattimore and gave the offense enough time to pull out its 11th straight win against SEC opponents.
"It was a great atmosphere and all those kind of things and to come out with the win the way we did was great," Trotter said.
It also got Auburn off to the right start in an October filled with powerful opponents and critical contests. The Tigers travel to Arkansas next week before playing Florida and LSU their next two games.
When "you beat a top-10 team, I feel that is pretty evident what that does for you moving forward," Chizik said.
In Auburn's case, it may have saved a season teetering on the edge.
The Tigers were down 13-9 in the fourth quarter and couldn't break through on South Carolina's swarming defense. But Gamecocks assistant coach Ellis Johnson said Auburn's fast pace wore down his defenders. That was apparent down the stretch when Barrett led Auburn on a 12-play, 57-yard drive that ended with a pass to wide open Lutzenkirchen in front of the goal line. The junior fumbled the ball into the end zone, then recovered it just before sliding out of bounds to put Auburn ahead.
South Carolina advanced to Auburn's 29 on its final possession before time expired, though Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier argued that clock should have stopped with 1 second left after a completed pass for a first down.
Spurrier said he was told that receiver Bruce Ellington's knee touched the ground when the clock had run out. "That's what he told me. I said, `Wait a minute now, don't you review that?"' Spurrier said.
They did not, giving the Gamecocks their seventh straight defeat against Auburn.
"It doesn't matter now," Spurrier said. "It's in the history books. So it's all over. We got beat. Still haven't beaten them."
The SEC issued a statement saying a review of the end showed game officials followed correct procedure.
Auburn used Michael Dyer like Spurrier had used Lattimore this season--a clock-controller who can't be stopped.
Dyer ran for 141 yards on a career-high 41 carries. Dyer, a sophomore like Lattimore, had come into this one with 45 fewer carries than Gamecock standout, who was the SEC's rushing leader.
Lattimore ended with 66 yards on a season-low 17 rushes.
"The defense played good, the offense didn't," Lattimore said. "But we left it at that. We've got to put it behind us."
It looked like South Carolina's defense would be enough to bail it out of trouble as quarterback Stephen Garcia again had problems putting up points against an Auburn defense that was ranked last in the SEC.
Instead, the Tigers D rose and held the Gamecocks to 54 yards and one first down in the final period. And Trotter and the Tigers found their groove just in time. They converted four third downs in the go-ahead drive, including the touchdown to Lutzenkirchen.
"Holding (Lattimore) to under 100 yard and getting three or four turnovers were the goals this week and we did it and got the win," Auburn linebacker Jake Holland said.
Still, when Lattimore broke through for a 15-yard TD run midway through the third quarter, it appeared it might hold up the way South Carolina's defense was playing.
Melvin Ingram had 3 1/2 sacks and one of four South Carolina interceptions.
Trotter was 12 of 23 for 112 yards with two interceptions.
This one looked like a contest of who'd crack first: Auburn's last-in-the-SEC defense or South Carolina's can't-move-the-ball-too-well offensive attack that has struggled to score the past two weeks.
In the first half, it was the Tigers' D that came up bigger than it had this season. They held Lattimore to 36 yards on nine carries and the Gamecocks managed only four first downs on nine first-half possessions.
Garcia, a lightning rod for Gamecock criticism for his inconsistency, was at it again. He was 9 of 23 for 160 yards and two interceptions. Garcia also had a 50-yard scoring throw to Alshon Jeffery.
Garcia didn't speak to the media. His grandfather had passed away earlier this week, South Carolina said, and he wanted to be with family.
Usually, it's Lattimore who bails the Gamecocks out but even he didn't look like himself. He fumbled on one drive and could not fight his way through Auburn's charged up defense.
Not that the Tigers had much success with South Carolina's defense, led by Ingram and safety Antonio Allen. Ingram had two of the Gamecocks three first-half sacks and picked off Auburn's chance to extend a 9-6 lead right before halftime.
The Tigers' reliable kicker Cody Parkey was lined up for a 32-yard field goal try with 1:06 left when holder Ryan White took the snap, rolled right and threw toward Lutzenkirchen near the goal line. But defensive end Ingram had dropped back in coverage to end the threat.