Peyton Barber flies over the top for an Auburn touchdown
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. ― Peyton Barber says he's always been the underdog.
Maybe not anymore.
The Auburn running back scored five touchdowns and broke the 100-yard barrier for the fourth time in five games to lead the Tigers to a 35-21 victory over San Jose State on a homecoming Saturday in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Underdog? "It's nothing new to me."
But Barber may have played himself out of that role Saturday, rushing for 147 yards to bring his five-game total to 558 yards, putting him in step to become Auburn's third consecutive 1,000-yard rusher.
Looking for the game's headline? Look no farther than Barber.
"He's the story of the game," said quarterback Sean White.
Barber came in with one touchdown this year. He quickly added to that total. His five touchdowns were the most by an Auburn player in a game since Carnell Williams scored six times in a 45-13 win over Mississippi State in 2003.
The game story.
Barber got stronger as the game went on, ripping off his longest runs in the fourth quarter when he went for 28 yards, then 36 yards for a touchdown. Barber rushed for 88 of his 147 yards in the fourth quarter on nine of his 28 carries.
"He's a beast. He just keeps coming play after play. He doesn't seem to get tired. He did a great job today," White said.
"We knew," said coach Gus Malzahn, "he had the chance to be a very good running back. The thing that stands out to me about Peyton is it is very important to him. He reminds me of Cameron Artis-Payne, about the importance of the game, the team, and everything that goes with it. He shows great toughness. He ran the ball extremely well and hard.
"He has really been the leader of our offense."
Barber scored on runs, in order, of 2, 2, 5, 1 and 36 yards. One, maybe two, Barber went up and over, a la Bo Over the Top.
"It was something I wanted to try," Barber said. "In the previous times we had gotten down there a lot of the guys had tried to go for my feet. I thought I'd go over the top."
Auburn rushed for 234 yards on 48 carries. White only threw it 10 times.
Barber said the game was about "really making our mark and showing we're a downhill team."
Barber got rest up now. Auburn has an open date next Saturday, not playing again until a Thursday night, Oct. 15, at Kentucky.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine