Tre Mason and Onterio McCalebb combined for 265 rushing yards and three touchdowns, and Auburn snapped a five-game losing skid with a 42-7 Homecoming victory over New Mexico State at Jordan-Hare Stadium Saturday afternoon.
The Tigers (2-7) gained 475 total yards in the game, their highest offensive output of the season, and held New Mexico State (1-8) to 305 yards, including just 127 in the second half. A total of 311 of Auburn's yards came via the rushing game, the first time for Auburn to top the 300-yard rushing mark since gaining 315 against Georgia in 2010.
Mason carried 22 times for a career-high 152 yards and a touchdown, averaging 6.9 yards per carry. Meanwhile, McCalebb made the most of his eight touches, picking up 113 yards (14.1/carry) while scoring two touchdowns.
Freshman Jonathan Wallace made his first start at quarterback, completing 9-of-16 attempts for 164 yards and a touchdown along with one interception. Wallace also rushed three times for nine yards. Emory Blake led the Auburn receivers with four catches for 78 yards while five other receivers had one catch each.
Andrew Manley was 17-of-30 passing for 22 yards for New Mexico State, with Austin Franklin hauling in seven passes for 154 yards. Germi Morrison led the Aggies' rushing attack with 79 yards on 19 carries, and Tiger Powell had five carries for 15 yards and a touchdown.
Auburn outgained New Mexico State 475-305, including a 311-83 advantage on the ground. The Tigers also converted on 5-of-12 third-down opportunities and held NMSU to a 2-for-13 conversion rate. Auburn turned the ball over just once while the Aggies had two giveaways.
McCalebb got his first score when he broke loose on a 38-yard run around the right end for Auburn's fourth score of the day, its third via rushing touchdown, to make it 28-0 Tigers at the 2:58 mark of the third quarter. His run finished off a 96-yard scoring drive - Auburn's longest of the season by yardage - that lasted just seven plays and 3:26.
The Auburn senior would add his second touchdown of the day on a 7-yard run with 11:20 to play in the game, giving the Tigers a 35-7 lead. McCalebb's scoring run was set up by his own 45-yard kickoff return to near midfield, and a 40-yard run by Mason got Auburn in the red zone two plays later.
Trovon Reed capped off the scoring for Auburn with a 40-yard reception from Wallace for his first career touchdown, giving the Tigers a 42-7 lead with 7:19 to play.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Tigers struck first with a five-yard touchdown run from Mason that capped a 13-play, 89-yard drive to give Auburn a 7-0 lead with 4:56 to play in the half. It marked the longest scoring drive of the season for the Tigers. That would be the halftime score as NMSU would be unable to cross midfield.
The Tigers went to the ground game to open the third quarter, putting together a seven-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a Jay Prosch 1-yard dive for his first collegiate touchdown, giving the Tigers a 14-0 lead. Mason had runs of nine and 37 yards on the drive, and the Tigers gained 66 of 80 yards on the drive via the run game.
Midway through the third quarter, Auburn's first defensive score of the season gave the Tigers a 21-0 lead. Daren Bates recovered a fumble by NMSU quarterback Andrew Manley and went 62 yards, stiff-arming an Aggie defender at the 10-yard-line before diving into the end zone for the score. It was the longest fumble return for a touchdown in Auburn history and the first since Kenneth Carter recovered a fumble in the end zone for a score against Alabama last season.
New Mexico State found its way onto the scoreboard early in the fourth quarter as Tiger Powell dove in from two yards out to make it a 28-7 game with 12:36 to play. The scoring play was set up by a 51-yard completion from Manley to Franklin down to the Auburn 6-yard-line.
In Homecoming activities at halftime, Auburn women's basketball player Blanche Alverson was named the 2012 Miss Homecoming.
The Tigers will jump back into Southeastern Conference play next Saturday as they face the Georgia Bulldogs in the "Deep South's Oldest Rivalry." Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. CT at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
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