Tigers Start Fast and Cruise to Victory No. 5

Auburn put its foot on the gas early and was able to coast to the finish line in a 52-3 football victory vs. the University of Louisiana-Monroe.

Auburn, Ala.--Scoring two touchdowns on their first four plays, the Tigers established early who was boss as Auburn improved to 5-0 with a 52-3 non-conference football victory over ULM on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Auburn racked 505 yards on offense averaging 8.9 yards per play without allowing Cameron Newton, the SEC's leading rusher, to run the football.

"It wasn't in the game plan for Cam to run the ball today," said senior preseason All-SEC offensive tackle Lee Ziemba, who like many of the regulars spent much of the second half on the sidelines while the backups got their day in the sun.

Despite Newton's role being limited to throwing passes and handing off the football, the Tigers had no problem dealing with the Warhawks of the Sun Belt Conference, who fell to 1-3 with the loss.

Ziemba credited offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn for calling a good game that allowed the Tigers to strike quickly and take immediate control of the game. "I think we executed pretty well what Coach Malzahn wanted us to do," the offensive tackle said.

Ziemba said it was a good day for his football team. "We got a lot of new guys in who got experience and the starters were able to rest their legs," he pointed out.

"We will also be able to look at this game and see what kinds of things we need to improve on as we go on the road again next week," he added.

The Tigers return to SEC play next Saturday night at Kentucky.

"Auburn has an excellent football team," ULM?head coach Todd Berry said of the 10th/11th-ranked Tigers. "Coach Gene Chizik has every reason to be proud of what he has right now and the direction that they are heading in.

"I think they played exceptionally hard and they kept us off-balance from the offensive perspective,"?Berry said. "We have a lot of young players and we could not find the football and that is because the style that Auburn runs.

"They have good athletes all around the field, but they have a better, more mature team," Berry said.

After a slow start Auburn's defense grew stronger and kept the visitors from scoring a touchdown for the first time since Ted Roof took over as defensive coordinator last season. Roof said he liked what he saw, especially from the backups who saw playing time in the first half and received almost all of the snaps in the second half.

"We were fortunate to be able to get those guys some reps and somewhere down the road it is going to help us," Roof said.

Sophomore defensive end Dee Ford, who made his first Auburn start, filled in for senior Antoine Carter, who was rested to heal his shoulder injury that he has been playing with since early in the season.

"That is the first time in like two years we haven't given up a touchdown so that means a lot," Ford said. "We would have liked to have gotten a goose egg, but I will take giving up three points."

Auburn's defense limited the Warhawks to 1.2 yards per rush on 38 carries. ULM's quarterbacks hit 29-41 passes for 232 yards.

As has been the case each week, the Auburn defensive front put a beating on the opposing quarterback. This time it was Kolton Browning who didn't finish the game as he gave way to Cody Wells, a sophomore from Hoover High who completed 4-8 passes for 29 yards with one interception.

Auburn lost the toss and got the football first after ULM deferred, but the Tigers didn't have it long.

It took Auburn just two plays to score. Onterio McCalebb had his longest run of the season on a 50-yard run at left end on a pitch from Newton. The sophomore was untouched on the play.

Auburn's second possession lasted just two plays after being backed up to its own three when Quindarius Carr failed to field a punt that should have been fair caught. However, that didn't prove to be a problem.

After a Kodi Burns run for three-yard gain from the wildcat formation, Newton found Emory Blake uncovered over the middle and calmly threw the ball to the receiver who teamed up with the quarterback for a 94-yard touchdown. "I don't remember being that open since I was in high school," Blake said.

The play was the longest in history, one-yard longer than last year's Chris Todd to Terrell Zachery touchdown pass play vs. Louisiana Tech.

With Auburn playing soft pass coverage the visitors were able to put together a long scoring drive. The Warhawks held the football for 14 plays before settling on a 35-yard field goal by Radi Jabour.

Auburn responded with three points of its own by moving 48 yards on eight plays before settling for a 19-yard Wes Byrum field goal after Newton threw two incomplete passes on third down and goal at the two. That ended the first quarter scoring with the Tigers on top 17-3.

Auburn scored on its next possession moving the football 66 yards in nine plays after Zac Etheridge intercepted a pass on a fake field goal on fourth down and five at the Auburn 23. Etheridge returned the football 19 yards. Michael Dyer, who carried the ball seven times for 22 yards, capped the drive on a three-yard run at right tackle with 6:53 left in the half.

Mario Fannin makes a big gainer for the Tigers on Saturday.

Auburn's defense, playing mostly backups, had its best stand of the first half forcing a three-and-out giving the Tigers good field position at the ULM 49. From there it took the Tigers just four plays to score.

Newton hooked up with Carr on a 16-yard touchdown pass play to make the score 31-3 with 2:41 left in the half.

The Tigers got the ball back again at their own 47 with 1:18 on the clock and three timeouts. Zachery got the possession started with a 17-yard end-around run, but an illegal block on Mike Berry reduced the gain to seven yards.

Two plays later Newton then had his first carry of the game as he was sacked. On third down he overthrew a short pass to Blake and then on fourth down and two the Tigers lined up like they were going to run a play, but Newton punted the ball 22 yards for Auburn's only punt of the half.

At the break the Tigers had 343 yards of total offense on just 28 plays. Louisiana-Monroe kept the ball for 41 plays and netted 152 yards with only two on the ground.

The Tigers had a good chance to score on their first possession of the third quarter, but Auburn's only turnover of the game, an underthrown pass to Zachery, was picked off by Otis Peterson at the ULM one.

However, Auburn got the ball back five plays later when Michael Goggans forced a fumble that was recovered by true freshman Jake Holland, who won praise from Roof for his performance (three solo tackles) in Holland's college debut.

Taking over at the ULM 21 the Tigers scored six plays later on a five-yard screen pass to Philip Lutzenkirchen to make the score 38-3.

That was the final series for Newton who was replaced by Barrett Trotter, and the redshirt sophomore led the offense to a score on his first try.

The Tigers drove 56 yards on nine plays to score on the first play of the fourth quarter as Mario Fannin, who rushed for a team-high 89 yards on 10 carries, got the touchdown at right guard from three yards out.

Another ULM?turnover led to Auburn's next score as punter Aaron Munoz dropped the ball as he tried to punt it and Chris Humphries recovered at the ULM 41.

Five plays later on third and seven from the 18, Trotter rolled right to pass before pump faking and deciding to run. He kept the ball and powered in for a touchdown as he was hit by two tacklers. That put Auburn up 52-3 and ended Trotter's day.

Trotter got checked out by the team doctors, but Chizik said he wouldn't know until Sunday if the QB was hurt.

Auburn got just one more possession and redshirt freshman Clint Mosley was in at quarterback as Auburn ran five plays before running out the clock.

Kenneth Carter (92) makes a play for the Tigers as fellow freshman Jeffrey Whitaker (54) runs to the ball.

"It is great to be 5-0 and it is great to have another win and with us trying to stay on track of just taking everything one game at a time," Chizik said. "Our goal this week was really about Auburn. It was trying to get better in some little things as a whole football team. That was what we set our minds on today.

"I think we got better in some areas," Chizik said. "We started fast and I thought we lost some focus there later in the game, later in the second half and then a little bit later in the game, but they kept playing.

"I think we did improve on some things," the coach said. "I thought our discipline this week with the penalties. I think that showed up. That was a positive. Our goal was to get better as a football team. I feel like we will look at it tomorrow, and there will be some places that I think we did improve. We have to continue on that track with a tough month of October left."

Newton hit 14-19 passes for 245 yards and three touchdowns while Trotter was 3-5 for 27 yards.

McCalebb carried the ball four times for 56 yards while Newton had one carry, a quarterback sack, for minus 11 yards.

Zachery caught four passes for 50 yards, Lutzenkirchen had four for 41 and Blake's two catches netted 101 yards.

Cornerback Anthony Morgan, who also played receiver and on special teams, led the Tigers in tackles with five solos and one assists. Aairon Savage had five solo stops while T'Sharvan Bell, making his first Auburn start, had four solo tackles and an assist.

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