AUBURN, Ala. (Sports Network) - Cameron Newton threw two fourth-quarter touchdowns and ran for three scores as No. 17 Auburn finished strong to upend 12th-ranked South Carolina, 35-27, in a key early-season SEC clash at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Newton took advantage of two costly fumbles by Gamecock junior quarterback Stephen Garcia to hit Philip Lutzenkirchen for the go-ahead score and Emory Blake with under 6 1/2 minutes remaining to forge an eight-point lead.
The junior dual threat rushed for 176 yards on 25 carries and completed 16- of-21 passes for 158 yards for the Tigers (4-0, 2-0 SEC), who outlasted Clemson in a brawl last weekend, 27-24, in overtime to open up league play.
Michael Dyer gashed South Carolina's top-ranked league rushing defense for 100 yards to further bolster the Tigers' No. 1-ranked SEC rushing offense.
Of the Tigers' 492 yards of offense, 334 of that came on the ground.
Auburn's defense came away with four turnovers, two in the fourth quarter on interceptions of backup QB Connor Shaw with the Gamecocks driving in hopes of landing a game-tying touchdown and two-point conversion.
"That is a great SEC win against a really, really good football team. Again, coming down from (13) points at one point two weeks in a row against two really, really good football teams," said Auburn head coach Gene Chizik of rallying for wins two weeks in a row against league foes. "They have the word respond that we use a lot. Our guys have just responded."
Garcia was 15-of-21 for 235 yards with three touchdown passes -- two to sophomore Alshon Jeffery, who racked up a career-best 192 yards on eight receptions.
Freshman running back Marcus Lattimore scored on the ground, but the Gamecocks' (3-1, 1-1) rushing attack was bottled up to the tune of 79 yards.
South Carolina led 20-14 at halftime and 27-21 after three quarters. Momentum was seemingly on the visitors' side after Auburn was unable to procure points at the end of a promising 16-play, 73-yard drive as Wes Byrum's 23-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right on the first play of the fourth quarter.
But Garcia ran it up the middle on the initial play of the ensuing possession and was stripped of the football. Auburn recovered at the USC 26-yard line and went ahead, 28-27, on Newton's third-down pass to Lutzenkirchen from seven yards out.
The ball was back in Garcia's hands with 13 1/2 minutes left to play, but on 3rd-and-8, the Tigers' defense had him wrapped up in the backfield for a loss. Instead of going to the ground, Garcia struggled to make something happen and fumbled near midfield.
The turnover sent Auburn on an efficient 53-yard drive that took nine plays. It featured just one third down, converted on an eight-yard rush by Onterio McCalebb, to set up a fresh set of downs from the Gamecock 14. Two plays later, Newton gave the hosts a 35-27 lead with a 12-yard strike to Blake.
"He is a competitor. Cameron is a very humble guy who just comes to work every day. I think he is getting better as a quarterback and a team leader and a guy who can manage our offense every week," Chizik said of Newton.
After the two late miscues, Shaw started the next USC series under center and moved the offense 49 yards across midfield before being picked off by Josh Bynes at the 11-yard line.
Auburn was forced to punt with 1:27 still on the clock, and Shaw had the Gamecock offense on the move again, gaining the Tigers' 18-yard line with under a minute remaining.
Shaw went to the end zone on 2nd-and-2 but overthrew his intended receiver and Demond Washington made a leaping interception for a touchback to seal the win.
"We had trouble stopping them, but we stopped them enough and then our quarterback fumbled a few times and they scored, but we still moved the ball. We had our chances," said South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier. "We had a hard time stopping their quarterback from running and we could not run well -- their defensive line got the best of us."
Auburn had turnover problems of its own in the first half. Newton ran for a 54-yard touchdown on the Tigers' first touch for an early lead at home, but South Carolina answered quickly on Garcia's 30-yard scoring toss to Jeffery.
Mario Fannin coughed up the ball on Auburn's next series, and the Gamecocks made it a 14-7 game with another efficient drive capped by Lattimore's one- yard stretch over the goal line.
Following punts from both teams, the Tigers were driving toward midfield when Dyer fumbled. South Carolina embarked on its third sub-four-minute scoring venture, with Garcia tossing a six-yard jump-ball touchdown to the 6-foot-4 Jeffery near the left pylon.
Auburn finished the first half on a positive note, as Newton took the offense 76 yards in 12 plays and took it in himself for a three-yard touchdown and a 20-14 score at halftime.
The teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter, keeping South Carolina ahead by six points. First it was Auburn, which shook off a missed 52-yard kick by Byrum early in the frame to drive 80 yards in 11 plays as Newton found the end zone for a third time on 2nd-and-goal.
The score gave Auburn a short-lived, 21-20, edge as Garcia and Jeffery hooked up for a 69-yard completion on South Carolina's next play from scrimmage. Two plays later, Garcia hit Tori Gurley for a three-yard touchdown and a 27-21 lead.