Backups spark Auburn by Virginia
McCalebb compiles 162 total yards, two TDs to power Tigers
ATLANTA -- Playing without its top quarterback and running back, Auburn used tandems at each position to set a season scoring high and beat Virginia 43-24 in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on Saturday night.
Auburn was without running back Mike Dyer, who was suspended for an undisclosed rules violation. Quarterback Clint Moseley left with an ankle injury early in the first quarter.
Onterio McCalebb, who said this week he wanted to "show everybody I can do it all," scored on a 3-yard run and 25-yard catch while starting for Dyer. McCalebb had 109 yards rushing. Tre Mason added 64 yards rushing, including a 22-yard scoring run.
The offensive outburst came in Auburn's last game with offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, who has been hired as the Arkansas State coach.
Barrett Trotter passed for 175 yards and a touchdown while sharing time with Kiehl Frazier, who ran for two touchdowns.
Auburn (8-5) also had big plays on special teams, blocking two punts and recovering an onside kick.
Kris Burd caught two touchdown passes for Virginia (8-5).
One year after winning the national championship -- and losing Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton -- Auburn absorbed lopsided losses to LSU, Georgia and Alabama in the second half of the regular season. After the loss to Alabama, defensive coordinator Ted Roof left for the same post at Central Florida.
While Malzahn stayed with Auburn for the bowl game, coach Gene Chizik took control of the defense.
Moseley limped off the field with an injured right ankle after the Tigers' second possession. He did not return.
Trotter, a junior, started the first seven games before losing his job to Moseley. He made a triumphant return to prominence against Virginia, completing 11 of 18 passes for 175 yards and a touchdown.
Frazier, a freshman, had 16 carries for 55 yards and two touchdowns.
While others speculated that the loss of Dyer, an All-SEC selection, could be devastating to Auburn, McCalebb was eager to show he could be more than a change-of-pace back.
McCalebb set up his touchdown run with a 60-yard run.
Burd's 27-yard catch from Michael Rocco midway through the first quarter gave Virginia, wearing orange helmets for the first time since 1978, a 7-0 lead.
Then Auburn's special teams made the first of two momentum-changing plays in the half.
Freshman receiver Garrett Harper blocked a punt by Virginia's Jimmy Howell to give the Tigers possession at the Cavaliers' 15. Following a 12-yard run by McCalebb, Frazier scored from the 3.
Back-to-back unnecessary roughness penalties against Auburn's defense helped set up Burd's second touchdown catch from 35 yards for a 14-7 lead.
On the first play of Auburn's next possession, McCalebb broke free for a 60-yard run to the Virginia 25. He capped the drive with a 3-yard scoring run.
Chizik then called for an onside try and Cody Parkey recovered his own kick. After Trotter's 50-yard pass to Emory Blake, Frazier scored from the 1.
Auburn's Angelo Blackson blocked Howell's punt through the end zone for a safety in the third quarter. Virginia's only second-half points came on a 1-yard touchdown by Kevin Parks in the third quarter.
Parkey kicked field goals of 45 and 37 yards.
Rocco completed 26 of 41 passes for 312 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.