AUBURN, Ala. -- Making his first start, quarterback Cam Newton ran for 171 yards and two touchdowns and passed for 186 yards and three more scores to help No. 22 Auburn beat overmatched Arkansas State 52-26 on Saturday night.
Newton, a junior college transfer who started his career at Florida, brought the crowd to its feet late in the second quarter when he scored on a 71-yard touchdown run, dashing up the middle on a keeper. That made the score 35-16, Tigers, at halftime.
Freshman running back Michael Dyer ran 14 times for 95 yards and one touchdown for Auburn, while Quindarius Carr caught two passes for 87 yards and a touchdown for the Tigers.
For Arkansas State, Ryan Aplin completed 28-of-42 passes for 278 yards and one score. Dwayne Frampton caught eight passes for 74 yards and one touchdown for the Red Wolves.
Auburn tried to give the game away early in the third quarter by fumbling twice in the first two minutes of the second half. The Red Wolves cut the score to 35-23 after the first fumble on an 8-yard run by Derek Lawson.
Auburn played without linebacker Craig Stevens, the second-leading tackler for the Tigers last season. Head coach Gene Chizik said Stevens was suspended for the game for disciplinary reasons, but he would not say what Stevens did wrong.
The Red Wolves put a scare into the Tigers early, taking a 6-0 lead at 5:18 in the first quarter on a 10-yard pass from Ryan Aplin to Dwayne Frampton. The score was set up by a 61-yard completion down the sideline from Aplin to Allen Muse.
Then Newton got into gear, leading Auburn on a scoring drive that ended on a 3-yard scoring run by Kodi Burns, a former quarterback. The next time the Tigers got the ball, it took Newton just one play to find the end zone as he hit Mario Fannin with a 36-yard scoring pass.
He also scored on a 2-yard run and threw a 48-yard TD pass to Quindarius Carr.
The Red Wolves scored in the second quarter on a 13-yard run by Jermaine Robertson and a 26-yard field goal by Brian Davis.