No. 11 Auburn 48, Mississippi St. 20
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) _ Patrick Nix was 23-of-28 and Stephen Davis rushed for 162 yards Saturday as No. 11 Auburn unleashed a dizzying offensive display to beat Mississippi State 48-20.
In a game postponed from Thursday by Hurricane Opal, Auburn (4-1, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) blew easily through the Bulldogs’ defense. The Tigers scored 31 unanswered points, giving coach Terry Bowden a chance to fiddle with his play book with No. 3 Florida the opponent next week.
Nix made it look easy, completing 14 straight passes at one stretch. He finished with 274 yards and two touchdowns. For a long time, Nix’s only incompletion was an interception.
Davis finally became more than just a decoy in Auburn’s offense. The SEC’s top rusher last year, Davis reached the 100-yard mark for the first time this season on the second play of the second half in the Tigers’ fifth game.
Davis, a punishing runner who came in averaging only 13 carries per game, broke long runs of 19 and 28 yards and carried 20 times.
This ``Hurricane Bowl″ marked the first time Auburn’s running and passing attacks were dominant in the same game _ a combination the Tigers will need against Steve Spurrier’s high-scoring Gators next Saturday.
Auburn’s offense clicked right from the start. Nix completed his first five passes and was 18-for-19 in the first half, including a 20-yard TD pass to Robert Baker and a 7-yarder to Andy Fuller.
Fred Beasley, Dameyune Craig and Kevin McLeod added TD runs for Auburn.
Nearly everything worked as the Tigers took a 31-14 halftime lead.
Mississippi State (2-4, 0-3) led 7-3 after an 84-yard TD pass from Derrick Taite to Chauncey McGee. Taite eluded pressure and threw off the wrong foot, hitting McGee as two Auburn defenders slid into each other on the sideline.
The Bulldogs got another big play on a 31-yard run by Tony Buckhalter, but couldn’t capitalize. Mississippi State was penalized 10 times for 88 yards, and Tim Rogers missed field goals of 39 and 34 yards.
Taite was 18-for-36 for 288 yards. Eric Moulds, the top receiver in the SEC, caught 10 passes for 95 yards.
Last season, Auburn’s 42-18 victory over Mississippi State in Starkville was one of the few blemishes on the Bulldogs’ 8-4 season. This year, Mississippi State has lost three straight and has yet to win an SEC game.
Sherrill’s record in games postponed by hurricanes dropped to 0-2. As coach at Texas A&M in 1988, Sherrill had a game against Alabama rescheduled because of Hurricane Gilbert. The Aggies lost the makeup 30-10.