Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall scored his third rushing touchdown of the day in the fourth quarter as the Tigers capped a shootout victory over South Carolina, 42-35 Saturday at Auburn.
Marshall ran a keeper on Auburn's bread-and-butter play, the zone-read option, around the left side for the score. Marshall completed 12 of 14 passes on the day for 139 yards and a touchdown and rushed for another 89 with three scores. Running back Cameron Artis-Payne led all rushers with 25 carries for 167 yards. But the Tigers found that they would need just about all 551 of their total offensive yardage to hold off the Gamecocks.
South Carolina quarterback Dylan Thompson gave the Auburn defense all sorts of problems, completing 29 of 50 passes for 402 yards and five touchdown passes. Thompson also threw three interceptions, however, and the second one set up Marshall's game-clinching touchdown.
South Carolina star running back Mike Davis carried 21 times for 88 yards, but the Gamecocks relied even more on wide receiver Pharoh Cooper, who caught seven passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns. Cooper also rushed for 10 yards and even completed a 14-yard pass.
The win keeps the Tigers in the hunt for an SEC title and perhaps the berth in the College Football Playoff that would almost certainly accompany it. Mississippi State leads the SEC West at 7-0, and Auburn is part of a logjam of one-loss teams, behind the Bulldogs; Ole Miss, which was upset by LSU on Saturday; and Alabama.
Auburn has remaining SEC games against Texas A&M, Georgia and Alabama.