No. 5 Auburn overwhelms San Jose State 59-13
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) With Tre Mason beginning his NFL career, Cameron Artis-Payne is thriving in his new role as Auburn's go-to running back.
Artis-Payne ran for three touchdowns, all in the first half, and No. 5 Auburn used a dominant ground game to beat San Jose State 59-13 on Saturday night.
Auburn (2-0) had six touchdowns and 358 yards on the ground. Artis-Payne, who had 112 yards rushing, said he is ''more comfortable knowing that I'm going to be in the game and not having to worry about playing time.''
It was his first career game with more than one touchdown for the Tigers. Last season, Artis-Payne competed for carries behind Mason, who was one of six Heisman finalists before being drafted by the Rams.
Artis-Payne ran for 177 yards with a touchdown in Auburn's 45-21 season-opening win over Arkansas.
Quarterback Nick Marshall, making his first start of the season, ran for 103 yards, including a 27-yard touchdown on his final drive late in the third quarter.
Blake Jurich threw a 75-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Ervin in the opening quarter but had two first-half interceptions for San Jose State (1-1). Jurich left the game in the fourth quarter and had X-rays on his left arm following the game.
''He wanted to go in even after the injury,'' said San Jose State coach Ron Caragher. ''We'll see what the X-rays say.''
Caragher was upbeat after the game.
''There are some encouraging things we can learn from and go back and watch,'' Caragher said. ''But all in all, that's a good football team and when you play them you just have to play good, flawless football. It got away from us a little bit.''
Quan Bray scored on a 55- yard punt return as Auburn led 38-10 at halftime.
Marshall completed 10 of 19 passes for 101 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. Marshall and most starters were held out in the final quarter.
Marshall, suspended for the first half of last week's win over Arkansas, lost a fumble to end his first opening drive of the season as a starter. Marshall broke a tackle on a 49-yard gain before fumbling into the end zone. Jimmy Pruitt forced the fumble and safety Simon Connette recovered for a touchback.
''It was tough because that was something we work on all week with ball security,'' Marshall said. ''At the last minute I was about to get ready to celebrate and the dude came behind me and just punched it out.''
Marshall made up for the turnover on Auburn's second drive. His 27-yard pass to D'haquille Williams set up a 4-yard scoring pass to Ricardo Louis.
Artis-Payne dominated the remainder of the half, which included his scoring runs of 2, 5 and 1 yards.
Jeremy Johnson took over at quarterback for the Tigers in the fourth quarter and had a 1-yard scoring run. A fumbled snap on an attempted punt by San Jose State set up Auburn's sixth rushing touchdown - a 3-yard run by Roc Thomas.
San Jose State closed its 2013 season by beating No. 16 Fresno State 62-52. The Spartans were 31-point underdogs against Auburn and couldn't come close in their attempt for their first back-to-back wins over ranked teams.
Jurich completed 16 of 27 passes for 218 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Joe Gray took over at quarterback with about 10 minutes remaining and had a pass intercepted near the goal line late in the game.
The Spartans couldn't score after Jurich's 42-yard pass to Jourdan Soares set up a first down at the 6 in the third quarter. Austin Lopez, who kicked a 27-yard field goal in the second quarter, was wide left from 29 yards to end the drive. Lopez made a 24-yarder later in the third quarter.
Auburn extended its school record with its 12th consecutive game scoring at least 30 points.
Former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville received a loud ovation in a pregame ceremony honoring the Tigers' 2004 undefeated SEC championship team. Tuberville is now Cincinnati's coach. His son, Tucker, is a walk-on quarterback with the Tigers.