— AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Tre Mason and Onterio McCalebb produced big runs and linebacker Daren Bates showed he's still got some of his old running back moves, too.
Mason rushed for a career-high 152 yards and McCalebb added 113 and two touchdowns to help the Tigers snap a five-game losing streak with a 42-7 victory over New Mexico State on Saturday.
Bates returned a fumble for a 62-yard touchdown for the Tigers (2-7), who picked up a much-needed win in the program's worst start in 60 years with games against No. 7 Georgia and No. 1 Alabama looming. It was Auburn's longest fumble return for a score since 1969.
"There were a lot of guys that are extremely happy, coaches and players, in the locker room," coach Gene Chizik said. "It's been a little while since we've had that feeling. It was good to see everybody with a smile on their face."
The rushing outburst helped take pressure off freshman quarterback Jonathan Wallace in his first start and gave beleaguered fans something to cheer. The Tigers got season-highs in points and yards with 475 to send the Aggies (1-8) to their eighth straight defeat.
Mason had 22 carries, including a 40-yarder, and scored on a 5-yard run.
"It feels really good. I've been begging for the ball," Mason said. "I had to prove that I could do something with the ball."
McCalebb's eight rushes were highlighted by touchdowns of 38 and 7 yards.
Wallace was solid in his starting debut and provided a spark for the nation's 120th-rated offense after Mason fumbled the exchanged on Auburn's first offensive play. The freshman admitted he was a little nervous starting out.
"It's just some things you've got to get over and play ball," Wallace said. "When it comes down to it, just play ball."