No. 5 Auburn routs Louisiana Tech, 45-17

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AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Nick Marshall and Quan Bray put a little extra flash in Auburn's hurry-up offense.

No. 5 Auburn twice needed only a minute, give or take a couple of seconds, to score a pair of touchdowns in Saturday's 45-17 victory over Louisiana Tech. Marshall and Bray accounted for three of them.

It was a boom-or-bust day for an offense that alternated between sputtering and exploding. Marshall threw three touchdown passes and rushed for 105 yards, while Bray scored on a 76-yard punt return and caught two touchdown passes.

One came after Marshall rolled left and reversed away from two defenders before finding Bray for a 44-yard jump ball in the end zone early in the fourth quarter.

"For some reason I had a feeling that Nick was going to be scrambling," Bray said. "When I looked back I just saw him going around in circles. I just went up and high-pointed the ball."

It was just one of several high points for the Tigers.

Marshall completed 10 of 17 passes for 166 yards for the Tigers (4-0) and threw for a pair of touchdowns in a 1:02 span late in the first half. Next up: No. 17 LSU visits to start a stretch against six straight ranked Southeastern Conference teams.

Bray's final two touchdowns — on the 44-yarder and the return — came in a 53-second span. Those plays turned a competitive game into a rout against the Bulldogs (2-3), who have also lost to No. 4 Oklahoma.

Cameron Artis-Payne rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries for the Tigers.

Auburn starting linebackers Kris Frost and Cassanova McKinzy left the game with unspecified injuries, potentially bad news for a defense that had just held Kansas State to 14 points. Right tackle Patrick Miller also was hurt. None of the three returned, but coach Gus Malzahn said he didn't know yet what their status would be against LSU.

The Tigers outgained Louisiana Tech 473-321.

The Bulldogs' Cody Sokol completed 20 of 35 passes for 216 yards with an interception. Kenneth Dixon rushed for two touchdowns despite gaining just 29 yards on 14 carries, and Trent Taylor had eight catches for 80 yards.

"We are not walking out of here to say we are excited about a moral victory," Bulldogs coach Skip Holtz said. "We came to compete and I thought our players did that. I thought they belonged out there. It is unfortunate that we make some of the mistakes that we do.

"I thought our players played well, and even though the score was very lopsided on the scoreboard I thought on the field it was a very competitive football game."

Louisiana Tech produced the only points of the third quarter to pull within 24-10 before the final decisive Auburn outburst.

Auburn went three and out on its first two possessions of the second half before Marshall and Bray produced a couple of highlight reel plays, starting with the jump ball.

"It was a scramble situation," Malzahn said. "When things break down, you have scramble rules. Nick ad-libbed there."

Then Bray, who had three catches for 19 yards in the first three games, darted into the end zone for his second score on a punt return this season. He had 91 yards on three catches and is the first Auburn player to record two punt returns for touchdowns in a season since Mike Fuller in 1974.

Marshall had 13 carries, including a 31-yarder.

"When we were watching film, they struggled with the quarterback runs," Marshall said. "Coach Malzahn and coach (Rhett) Lashlee told me to just trust my instincts, and that's what I was doing the whole game: trusting my instincts and making plays with my legs."

Bray had a 37-yard touchdown catch with 34 seconds left before halftime after D'haquille Williams made a one-handed grab of a tipped pass for an 18-yard score.

The momentum didn't carry over coming out of the locker room for the Tigers.

Auburn's defense supplied a spark with big plays, especially defensive lineman Montravius Adams.

Adams recovered a fumble to set up Marshall's 37-yarder to Bray. The 306-pounder had also set up the Tigers' first touchdown with a 37-yard interception return when the offense hadn't gone anywhere on its first two drives.

"I was just thinking score the touchdown," Adams said. "That's all I was thinking. I thought I had it."

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