AUBURN, Ala. — Cam Newton and No. 5 Auburn are the last unbeaten team in the SEC. Not even LSU's defense could slow them down.
With Newton's mix of power and elusiveness and a huge play from Onterio McCalebb, Auburn earned a 24-17 win over No. 6 LSU on Saturday.
The league's top offense won a showdown versus the top defense. The 440 yards rushing was Auburn's most against an SEC defense.
"We knew it was … the clash of the titans," said Newton, who ran for 217 yards and two touchdowns.
Newton, who transferred from Florida after the 2008 season, broke the SEC's season rushing record for a quarterback of 1,006 yards set by Auburn's Jimmy Sidle in 1963. He also topped Pat Sullivan's 40-year-old school record of 26 touchdowns rushing and passing in a season. Newton has 1,077 rushing yards and 27 touchdowns.
But he was a decoy on the decisive score. Tied at 17, McCalebb came across on a sweep that Newton often fakes and keeps. This time, he gave it to McCalebb, who made one cut and won the sprint for a 70-yard score with 5:05 left.
"Cam just gave it to me, and I did what I have to do. But all the credit goes to the offensive line," McCalebb said.
Soon afterward, LSU coach Les Miles stirred up late-game weirdness yet again.
He opted to go for it on fourth and 6 from the LSU 30 after calling a timeout with 3:27 left. His team still seemed unsure of what it wanted to run. Jarrett Lee, the passing portion of the team's quarterback tandem, tried to scramble but was stopped well short.
Miles said the decision to go for it and call timeout was "not close at all."
"I just wanted to make sure we had the right call," he said. "I just felt like the way they were controlling the ball on the ground and then the chance of mishandling the punt … "
Miles was saved by a few inches on a fake field goal that worked against Florida and a mulligan after a Tennessee penalty allowed the winning touchdown. This time, he just gave it back to Newton and Auburn. The quarterback ran for two first downs before taking a knee twice to let the clock run out.
"Obviously, that was another great, great game," Auburn coach Gene Chizik said. "It came down to the end. And somehow or other, our football team found a way to win it."