No. 21 Auburn 38, NE Louisiana 14
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) _ Despite injuring a knee on his fourth carry of the game, Stephen Davis rushed for 111 yards and two touchdowns Saturday as No. 21 Auburn beat Northeast Louisiana 38-14.
Davis left the game with a strained left knee during Auburn’s second possession, limping off the field between two trainers. But doctors determined the knee wasn’t too loose, and he returned midway through the third quarter for touchdown runs of 17 and 21 yards.
Temporarily losing Davis didn’t stop Auburn (6-3) from scoring on an 89-yard drive capped by Eric Tucker-Hines’ 8-yard touchdown TD run.
Auburn failed to capitalize on some early possessions, but the defense held strong, limiting Northeast Louisiana to 92 yards rushing.
The day began inauspiciously for the Tigers, with Corey Sampson intercepting Patrick Nix’s first pass _ the second play of the game _ at Auburn’s 20.
After a delay of game penalty, the Indians (2-9) moved to Auburn’s 8 on an 11-yard pass to fullback Eric Foster, but they weren’t able to convert from there.
A fake field goal attempt went awry when quarterback Raymond Philyaw _ who holds for placekicker Cory Babineaux _ missed on a pass to Keith Gardner in the end zone.
Auburn’s young and often criticized defense responded well to Northeast Louisiana’s talented passing game, holding Philyaw to 11 yards passing and 20 yards total offense in the first half.
The Indians’ offense showed brief signs of life in the second half, with Philyaw orchestrating an 80-yard touchdown drive sparked by David Smith’s 24-yard reception.
But mistakes doomed the Indians’ efforts, despite Auburn penalties that could have been costly.
For instance, a promising Northeast Louisiana drive appeared dead when Philyaw was sacked for the third time, but a face mask penalty on Auburn gave the Indians a first down at Auburn’s 23.
Yet after driving to the 9 for a first-and-goal, running back Pete Miles fumbled the ball.
Philyaw, who was 17-of-36 for 186 yards and one interception, was sacked four times.
Hines-Tucker rushed for 100 yards, including the touchdown. Nix went 12-of-19 with one interception for 100 yards.
Auburn nose tackle Jimmy Brumbaugh blocked a field goal and recovered a fumble.