Photo courtesy of Auburn Athletics
NCAA FOOTBALL BOWLS PAGE
(Sports Network) - Kiehl Frazier had two touchdowns to help Auburn take a 43-24 victory over Virginia at the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
Onterio McCalebb had 109 yards on the ground and a score and added a receiving touchdown, while Barrett Trotter went 11-for-18 with 175 yards and a score for the Tigers (8-5), who improved to 4-1 in this bowl game.
Michael Rocco passed for 312 yards on 26-of-41 passing with two touchdowns and an interception, while Kris Burd caught six balls for 103 yards and two scores for the Cavaliers (8-5), who dropped their final two games of the season.
The first score of the game went to Virginia as Rocco went deep and Burd came down with the diving catch in the end zone for a 27-yard score and a 7-0 lead with 8:05 left in the first.
Auburn's special teams came up with the big play as Garrett Harper blocked a punt to give his team the ball at the Virginia 15. Two plays later, Frazier bulled his way in from three yards out to tie the game with 4:02 left in the first.
Following a 44-yard field goal attempt that Cody Parkey missed to the left, the Cavaliers took a 14-7 lead on a drive that spanned the first and second quarters.
The 10-play, 73-yard march was capped on a six-yard catch over the middle just inside the goal line by Burd with 12:59 left in the second.
The first play of the Tigers' following touch saw McCalebb take a handoff to the right and break a couple of tackles before bouncing out to the left for a 60-yard run. Five plays later, McCalebb took the ball in on a three-yard score with 10:33 to play.
Auburn got another big special teams play as Parkey recovered his own onsides kick to give his team the ball back at its 41. Three plays after a 50-yard catch by Emory Blake, Frazier took the ball in from a yard out for a 21-14 lead with 8:44 to play.
Virginia got down to the Auburn 15 and lined up for a field goal on 4th-and-6, but tried for the fake and Jacob Hodges came up short.
That led to seven more points for Auburn as the team took the ball 88 yards over nine plays with the score coming after Trotter faked a pass to the left, rolled out to the right and hit McCalebb for a 25-yard score and a 28-14 lead with 59 seconds left.
However, that was plenty of time for Virginia to put more points up as completions of 25 and 29 yards by Rocco led to a 24-yard field goal from Robert Randolph as time expired to make it a 28-17 game at the break.
Auburn started the second half with the ball and went 80 yards over nine plays with Tre Mason taking a handoff up the middle and into the end zone on a 22- yard score for a 35-17 lead with 11:09 left in the third.
The Cavaliers answered with a long march of their own as a 10-play, 79-yard drive was capped on a one-yard plunge into the end zone by Kevin Parks to make it a 35-24 game with 6:20 to play in the third.
Auburn had to punt on its ensuing possession, but pinned Virginia at its own six.
On 3rd-and-8, Rocco was sacked just in front of the end zone to set up a fourth down that saw a Jimmy Howell punt blocked for the second time in the game with the ball going out of the end zone for a safety.
Quan Bray took the ensuing kick 62 yards down to the Virginia 15, but Auburn moved backwards and had to settle for a Parkey 45-yard field goal for a 40-24 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Parkey made a 37-yard field goal with 8:09 to play to seal the victory.