OXFORD, Miss. — Auburn quarterback Cam Newton added something new to his Heisman Trophy résumé Saturday night against Mississippi: a touchdown catch.
Newton lined up as a wide receiver and hauled in a 20-yard touchdown pass from quarterback-turned-receiver Kodi Burns.
The 6-foot-6, 250-pound Newton split out wide near the end of Auburn’s first drive in the first quarter, matching up against Rebels cornerback Jeremy McGee, who is 5-foot-10, 186 pounds.
After taking the snap in the wildcat formation, Burns faked a handoff and lobbed a fade pattern to the corner. Newton gave a slight push just before it arrived and managed to catch it with a foot in bounds for the touchdown, tying the game at 7.
Newton’s catch made him the third player in school history to have touchdowns passing, rushing and receiving in the same season. Running back Carnell Williams did it in 2004 and Burns did it in 2009.
It wasn’t the first time Burns and Newton have hooked up this year.
Newton caught a 22-yard pass across the field from Burns against Mississippi State after Burns got the ball on a lateral.
Saturday’s touchdown pass was Burns’ first in four attempts this season. He has seven for his career.
A kick start
Demond Washington tripped over his own feet on two kickoff returns that looked as if they could have gone for big yardage.
He maintained his balance going through a scrum of players just before halftime, however, breaking free for a 95-yard kick return for a touchdown that gave Auburn a 31-17 lead.
The senior, who intercepted a Jeremiah Masoli pass at the 2-yard line earlier in the quarter, has two career kick returns for a touchdown. He took back a kick 99 yards for a score against Georgia last season.
Washington had three returns for 140 yards in the first half, breaking Auburn’s single-season record for kick return yardage. He had 770 kickoff return yards at halftime, breaking the record of 756 set by Tristan Davis in 2006.
Washington’s touchdown was also Auburn’s second long return in the past three weeks. Onterio McCalebb got tripped at the 1-yard line after returning a kick 99 yards against Arkansas.
Eat his dust
McCalebb got loose for his second long touchdown run in as many weeks, sprinting 68 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter.
Auburn faced a third-and-1 at its 32-yard line with the game tied at 7. The Tigers huddled close to the line of scrimmage and raced into formation for a quick snap.
Newton faked an inside handoff and pitched it to the left side to McCalebb, who sprinted to the edge. The sophomore, who had a 70-yard winning touchdown run against LSU, got a block from wide receiver Darvin Adams and raced down the field untouched for the touchdown.
It was the Tigers’ seventh play that has gone for 50 or more yards this season. McCalebb has three of them.
No Bates, Bell
Linebacker Daren Bates and cornerback T’Sharvan Bell did not make the trip because of injuries.
Bates, a starter at outside linebacker, missed the second half of the LSU game last week after injuring his right shoulder. Bell, the team’s third cornerback, has now missed two games with a hamstring injury.
Sophomore Jonathan Evans started in Bates’ place. He had three first-half tackles.
It seemed strange that Mississippi requested Auburn wear blue jerseys for Saturday’s game after the Rebels came out for warmups wearing red uniforms.
But they changed into all-gray uniforms before kickoff to honor the 50th anniversary of the school’s 1960 national championship team.
It is believed to be the first time in their history the Rebels wore a jersey that was not red, white or blue.
Auburn left tackle Lee Ziemba extended his consecutive starts streak to 47 games, two shy of Will Herring’s school record. … The Tigers’ 98-yard scoring drive in the second quarter is tied for the fourth-longest in school history. Auburn has four scoring drives of 90 or more yards this year. … The Tigers’ 34 first-half points are the most they scored in an SEC game since 2003 against Mississippi State. … Auburn has scored 30 or more points by halftime four times this season.