At halftime the Tigers were on pace to gain around 1,000 yards and score close to 100 points, but Chizik pulled back on the throttle and pulled his starters early as Auburn improved to 10-0 after defeating Chattanooga, which came into the game ranked No. 25 nationally in Division I-AA (Football Championship Subdivision.
Auburn set a school-record by averaging 11.6 yards per play, breaking the record of 10.3 yards per play in a rout of Kansas in 1988.
Newton said he enjoyed cheering for his teammates from the sidelines in the second half. Before watching the rest of Auburn's 19th consecutive victory on Homecoming, the junior quarterback hit 15-21 passes for 317 yards and four touchdowns. He had eight carries for 24 more yards and one score from a yard out, the only called running play in the game for the QB who said he enjoyed having the opportunity to sit in the pocket and throw the football.
Darvin Adams catches a touchdown pass on Saturday vs. the Mocs.
Mario Fannin, who did not have a carry in the first half, was the leading rusher in the game with 96 yards and two touchdowns on just eight carries after he and the other seniors were honored in a pre-game ceremony.
Fannin and the Tigers will now turn their focus to the rivalry games starting with a home test next Saturday vs. his home-state team, the Georgia Bulldogs. "These next two games are going to be very big games, especially the Georgia game for me personally," he said. "Then you have Alabama, which speaks for itself. We have to make sure we go out there and get after it every day in practice. These next two games will tell us a lot about our team."
Senior defensive end Antoine Carter said it was fun to see his team play well on their Senior Day. "It's great to be 10-0 and it was good for the team for the starters to get some rest and let the young guys play," he said.
Coach Gene Chizik said coming into the game he wanted to see his Tigers play with intensity. AU's offensive players noted that the mission was accomplished as the Tigers finished the day with 628 yards of total offense.
The Tigers became the first Auburn team to rush for 300 or more yards in five consecutive games with 303 on the ground at an average of 9.8 yards per carry despite kneeling on the ball at the end of the game when the Tigers had a chance to score another touchdown inside the Chattanooga 10-yard line.
Chizik said it was "big" to give his front-liners plenty of rest on Saturday after playing nine previous weeks without a break. "You never know how games are going to unfold, but we felt like at some point, if that was the case that we would certainly benefit from getting the guys out, not from just the health standpoint-wise, but also getting some younger guys experience. I think we got a lot of guys into the game today that are really are some backup and third team guys, but we also got some depth on some of our special teams units which was big."
Auburn's 628 yards are the sixth highest total in modern school history and marked the sixth time in 10 games the Tigers reached half a thousand in total yards.
Auburn took command of the game from the start scoring touchdowns on seven of their first eight possessions.
Newton came out throwing hitting Zachery for 32 yards on the first play and then he hooked up for a 30-yard scoring strike to Adams, who easily beat single coverage.
The Mocs kept the ball for eight plays on their first possession before punting to the Tigers.
It took Auburn six plays to score its second TD. A perfectly thrown 20-yard pass to Emory Blake put the Tigers up 14-0 with 9:33 left in the opening quarter.
After a three-and-out for the Mocs produced no gain, Auburn got the ball at its 37 and moved the football using the run game along with the pass. Newton scored a touchdown at right guard as he was untouched going into the end zone a play after hitting Kodi Burns on a 16-yard pass.
Auburn stretched the lead to 27-0 with three minutes left in the opening quarter with a quick-strike drive. After Adams dropped a bomb by Newton that could have been a touchdown, two plays later the same duo hooked up for a 39-yard TD as the wide receiver again beat the Chattanooga coverage on a deep pass. The score stayed at 27-0 when Wes Byrum's PAT was wide, ending a streak of 102 consecutive made PAT kicks.
At the end of the first period Auburn had out-gained the Mocs 249-48 with Newton hitting 9-14 passes for 193 yards.
The Tigers kept the heat on the Mocs in the second quarter to delight the soldout Jordan-Hare Stadium on a chilly, windy afternoon.
Auburn's next score was a short pass in the left flat to Zachery, who used good blocking and his speed to race 80 yards for the score to put Auburn up 34-0 after the two-play possession.
A special teams play gave the visitors their first points as Brian Sutherland found a seam in the middle of the Auburn coverage and raced 98 yards for a kickoff return score.
Auburn matched that score immediately as McCalebb took a pitch at left end and raced 49 yards for a touchdown to put the Tigers ahead 41-7 with 13:13 left in the half.
Onterio McCalebb races to the end zone for a touchdown.
Playing against backups on defense, Chattanooga scored its first offensive touchdown with 1:19 left in the half as tight end Garrett Hughes got behind middle linebacker Jake Holland for a 23-yard TD pass.
Newton's last possession was one of his most impressive. Auburn got the ball with 1:19 left at its own 32. Going to its hurry-up offense, the Tigers moved 68 yards on five plays with Michael Dyer scoring on a draw play with eight seconds left before halftime. The run covered 37 yards.
Auburn began substituting heavily in the second quarter and after halftime the Tigers pulled all of the starters with the exception of Eltoro Freeman, who led the team in tackles with three solos and five assists. Defensive coordinator Ted Roof said it was good to give the junior linebacker extra playing time to get the rust off after missing time earlier this year with an injury.
The number two tacklers were walk-on linebacker Watson Downs and freshman cornerback Ryan White, who had four solo tackles and one assist.
After two quarters the Tigers had racked up 484 total yards while limiting the visitors to 133.
Chattanooga scored on its opening possession of the third quarter moving 80 yards on nine plays vs. the AU backups, who struggled to cover the UTC passing attack that had 233 of the team's 334 total yards.
Auburn answered that score with its only points of the third quarter. Fannin's 13-yard run capped a four-play, 50-yard drive.
Auburn's defense played better the rest of the way and limited the Mocs to a field goal. Fannin scored the final points of the game with 7:26 left on a one-play drive following the Chattanooga score. The senior broke four tackles and tight-roped the sideline in front of the Auburn bench on his way to the end zone.
Chattanooga coach Russ Huesman, whose team fell to 5-4, said he realized the Tigers could have made the final score even more lopsided than it was. "They're well-coached and I believe they are a disciplined team. They are a class act and this is a great program at Auburn.
Huesman had praise for Newton and so did Chizik, who avoided talking about questions regarding an investigation of Mississippi State's recruitment of Newton out of junior college. "Here is the situation," Chizik said. "I will make it real clear like I did the other night. Unfortunately, I can't talk about the incident. Cameron Newton is eligible here at Auburn. He played today, and he played great. That is where we are going to let it lie."
Chizik wasn't reluctant to talk about what type of person he believes the quarterback is. "Let me tell you something," Chizik said. "This is a great kid. I can speak intelligently on that one. This is a great kid. You can go back and you can talk to elementary coaches, high school (coaches). This is a great kid, and he has been a great kid at Auburn University every day that he has been around me, this staff and his teammates, and you bet so I don't know what is out there, and I don't know what hits you are talking about, but I can assure you this --this is a phenomenal young man. Make no mistake about that."
Asked if he will be disappointed if Newton doesn't win the Heisman Trophy, Chizik said, "I am not that far ahead right now. We are going to take every game at a time. Cameron needs to continue to improve as a football player to help our team win, and if we continue to do those things and he continues to do those things, then all that takes care of itself."