AUBURN, Ala. (Sports Network) - Junior quarterback Cameron Newton was impressive in his Auburn debut, throwing for three touchdowns and rushing for two more, as the 22nd-ranked Tigers dominated Arkansas State, 52-26, in the season opener for both schools.
Newton, a former Florida Gator who made a stop at a junior college last season, completed 9-of-14 passes for 186 yards. He also rushed for 171 yards on 15 carries for the Tigers (1-0), who went 8-5 last year and are nationally ranked to start a season for the seventh time in the last eight years.
Michael Dyer carried the ball 14 times for 95 yards and a score. Mario Fannin hauled in four passes for 65 yards and two touchdowns, while Quindarius Carr caught two passes for 87 yards and score.
Ryan Aplin connected on 28-of-42 passes for 278 yards and one touchdown for the Red Wolves (0-1), who posted a 4-8 record last season, their worst showing since going 3-8 in 2004.
Derek Lawson and Jermaine Robertson each ran for a score. Dwayne Frampton caught eight passes for 74 yards and a touchdown, while Allen Muse tallied 80 receiving yards on four catches.
Arkansas State drew first blood with over five minutes to play in the first quarter. Frampton caught a 10-yard TD pass to cap a six-play, 82-yard drive. but the extra point was blocked.
Auburn responded with a touchdown of its own on the ensuing possession. Onterio McCalebb's 35-yard dash set up a three-yard TD run by Kodi Burns.
After the Red Wolves went three-and-out on offense, the Tigers scored on their first play. Fannin hauled in a 36-yard pass from Newton to make it a 14-6 game after one quarter.
Newton's two-yard touchdown run early in the second frame gave Auburn a 21-6 margin. Arkansas State, though, fought right back with an eight-play, 55-yard drive that Robertson ended with a 13-yard TD run.
Carr's 48-yard touchdown reception gave the Tigers a 28-13 lead with just under six minutes left until half.
After Brian Davis made a 26-yard field goal for the Red Wolves, Newton took a quarterback draw 71 yards for a score and a 35-16 Auburn advantage.
Lawson got the third quarter started with an eight-yard TD run to close the gap to 35-23, but the remainder of the game was dominated by the Tigers.
Newton and Fannin hooked up for a 38-yard score midway through the period to make it a 42-23 contest. Wes Byrum added a 24-yard field goal before the stanza came to an end.
Dyer's two-yard touchdown run in the early stages of the fourth made it a 52-23 game. Davis made a 41-yard field in garbage time to account for the final score.