Oct. 3, 2009
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Wes Byrum connected on a career-high four field goals while the Auburn offense racked up more than 400 yards of offense for the fifth time this season as the Tigers (5-0, 2-0 SEC) pulled out the 26-22 win over Tennessee (2-3, 0-2 SEC) at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn.
The game was Auburn's first road game of the season and extended its winning streak to five games over the Volunteers, surpassing the previous record of four-straight victories from 1961-64. The Tigers also pulled out the win in front of a crowd 102,941, the third-largest crowd Auburn has ever competed in front of.
"I'm just really proud of our team for finding ways to win every week," said Auburn head coach Gene Chizik. "They just keep fighting. It was really good to see a very young football team come on the road and win."
Auburn scored twice in the first quarter with Byrum connecting on a pair of field goals. His first was a 29-yarder at the 5:01 mark in the quarter while the second was a 43-yarde at the 3:36 mark.
Ben Tate scored Auburn's first touchdown of the game at the 8:07 mark of the second quarter, breaking away on an 11-yard run to extend the Tiger lead. Byrum's kick put Auburn ahead 13-0.
Tennessee got on the board with 28 seconds remaining in the first half as Montario Hardesty rushed in for a yard, cutting the Auburn lead to 13-6. Auburn's Nick Fairley blocked the extra-point attempt by Tennessee's Daniel Lincoln, giving the Tigers their first blocked kick of the season.
The Tigers struck first in the second half with Byrum picking up his third field goal of the night, connecting on a 19-yard attempt with 9:34 left in the third quarter.
Auburn extended the lead to 23-6 at the 13:41 mark of the fourth quarter as Chris Todd connected with Terrell Zachary on an 11-yard touchdown reception. Byrum made good on the extra-point attempt following the touchdown.
Tennessee struck back at the 11:36 mark with a 31-yard pass from Jonathan Crompton to Hardesty. Lincoln connected on the extra-point attempt to close to the gap to 23-13.
But, Auburn and Byrum put the win away with a 22-yard field goal with 39 seconds left to play. The Volunteers marched up the field on the ensuing possession, culminating with a 32-yard pass from Crompton to Denarius Moore with no time left on the clock, but it was all for naught as Auburn held on for the 26-22 win.
Onterio MaCalebb led Auburn with 204 all-purpose yards, tallying 51 rushing yards while leading the team with 62 receiving yards and 91 kick-return yards. Tate finished the game with a team-high 128 rushing yards, marking the third time this year and eighth time in his career that he has rushed for more than 100 yards.
Todd completed 19-of-32 passes for 235 yards in the win, connecting on passes to eight different receivers. It marked Todd's fourth game this season with more than 200 passing yards.
Eric Smith finished with 45 receiving yards on three catches, trailing McCalebb's 62 yards on three receptions. Mario Fanin was the most popular target for the Tigers, catching six passes for 25 yards.
Defensively for Auburn, Craig Stevens led the team with 11 tackles, one of which came for loss, and a pass breakup. Josh Bynes was right behind him with nine tackles, two pass breakups and a fumble recovery, his second of the season. Daren Bates and Neiko Thorpe each recorded seven tackles in the win.
With the win, Auburn now leads the series against Tennessee, 27-21-3, and is 9-14-1 when playing in Knoxville, Tenn.
The Tigers will return to action Saturday, Oct. 10 as Auburn stays on the road for a game at Arkansas (2-2, 0-2 SEC) The Razorbacks are coming off a 47-19 win over Texas Tech.