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Auburn avoids upset bug

Demond Washington returns a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown to give Auburn a 31-17 lead in the second quarter at Mississippi.

Associated Press

Demond Washington returns a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown to give Auburn a 31-17 lead in the second quarter at Mississippi.

OXFORD, Miss. — Don't call Cam Newton a dual threat. That sells Auburn's quarterback short.

Newton flashed another skill when he lined up at receiver, streaked down the sideline and outfought a much smaller defensive back for the ball in the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown.

Newton also threw for two scores as the No. 3 Tigers powered past Mississippi 51-31 Saturday night.

"We practice that play a lot of times," said Newton, a Heisman Trophy candidate. "(Offensive coordinator) Gus Malzahn challenged me, that he was going to call it this game because of what we've seen throughout the week in the film. This was a perfect time to call it, and it worked."

Just about everything else did, too, as the Tigers, atop the BCS standings for the first time, easily sidestepped the string of upsets that struck the No. 1 team in either the Associated Press poll or BCS standings in each of the previous three weeks.

They did it with Newton's catching and passing, and the running of Mike Dyer and Onterio McCalebb. "Everybody on this team wants to continue to fight," said Dyer, a freshman who ran for a career-high 180 yards. "We like where we're ranked, and we just want to stay humble and find ways to keep winning."

It was the Tigers' most points ever against Ole Miss, which has dropped three straight.

NO. 17 S. CAROLINA 38, TENN. 24: Alshon Jeffery calls it "game speed," the ability to break away from defenders even if you're not that quick.

Jeffery showed some of that with a 70-yard touchdown catch to help the host Gamecocks escape a Tennessee comeback and stay in control of the East.

Jeffery caught a routine pass over the middle with the score tied at 24, moved toward the right sideline and outran several defenders to for a key touchdown.

"I try to work on that all the time," said Jeffery, smiling. The lanky 6-foot-4 sophomore leads the SEC in catches and receiving yards per game.

The Vols erased a 14-point deficit on two touchdown passes from backup quarterback Tyler Bray to tie it. But that was when former Jefferson High star Stephen Garcia found Jeffery for the go-ahead score.

Jeffery "makes it easy," Garcia said. "It's good to lean on him."

Tennessee yanked starting quarterback Matt Simms, the younger brother of ex-Tampa Bay Bucs quarterback Chris Simms.

"I wish I could say that I'm definitely the starting quarterback," Simms said. "It's unfortunate they took me out. I felt like I played really well."

NO. 19 ARKANSAS 49, VANDY 14: Ryan Mallett threw for a school-record 409 yards and three scores for the host Razorbacks. Mallett topped his record of 408, set last year against Georgia. The Commodores gained 140 yards on their first two drives to take a 14-6 lead but gained 13 yards the rest of the game, their first under new offensive coordinator Des Kitchings. Last week he replaced Jimmy Kiser, who stayed on as quarterbacks coach.

NO. 23 MISS. ST. 24, KY. 17: Vick Ballard rushed for 103 yards and a touchdown, and the host Bulldogs relied on their running game and defense to beat Kentucky. The Wildcats threatened to tie it in the final minute, but quarterback Mike Hartline's pass was intercepted by defensive back Johnthan Banks at the goal line to seal a sixth straight victory for Mississippi State, its longest streak since 1999.

No. 3 Auburn 51

Mississippi 31

Auburn avoids upset bug 10/31/10 [Last modified: Sunday, October 31, 2010 1:28am]

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