College Football: Auburn 16, South Carolina 13
Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 1, 2011
COLUMBIA, S.C. ó The defending national champs aren’t done yet.
Auburn and its maligned defense bounced back in a big way on Saturday, defeating No. 10 South Carolina 16-13. The Tigers (4-1, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) overcame a spotty offense to wear down the Gamecocks at the end. Barrett Trotter found Phillip Lutzenkirchen for the go-ahead, 9-yard touchdown with 1:38 left.
It’s been a rough go for the BCS champions since beating Oregon for the title last January.
Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton and defensive tackle Nick Fairley jumped to the NFL, leaving big holes on both sides of the ball. They lost their 17-game win streak and their aura of invincibility two weeks ago at Clemson, which ran up 624 yards.
Plus, the Gamecocks had plenty of motivation to succeed, losing twice to Auburn a year ago, including a humiliating 56-17 loss in the SEC championship.
Instead, it was the Auburn defenders who shut down South Carolina star tailback Marcus Lattimore and gave the offense enough time to pull out its 11th straight win against SEC opponents.
The Tigers were down 13-9 in the fourth quarter and couldn’t break through on South Carolina’s swarming defense. But Gamecocks assistant coach Ellis Johnson said Auburn’s fast pace wore down his defenders. That was apparent down the stretch when Barrett led Auburn on a 12-play, 57-yard drive that ended with a pass to wide open Lutzenkirchen in front of the goal line. The junior fumbled the ball into the end zone, then recovered it just before sliding out of bounds to put Auburn ahead.
South Carolina advanced to Auburn’s 29 on its final possession before time expired, though Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier argued that clock should have stopped with 1 second left after a completed pass for a first down.