FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Kenny Irons rushed for a career-high 182 yards, and Brandon Cox threw three second-half touchdowns to lead No. 21 Auburn over Arkansas 34-17 Saturday night.

The Tigers (5-1, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) won for the 20th time in 21 games. They have beaten 13 straight SEC opponents.

Irons, a transfer from South Carolina, was replaced by Brad Lester as Auburn’s No. 1 tailback earlier in the week. But Lester left in the first half with a strained right groin, and Irons finished with 33 carries.

Arkansas led 10-6 at halftime, but the Tigers took control with a dominating third quarter. Cox’s 17-yard touchdown pass to Devin Aromashodu put Auburn ahead. After the Razorbacks punted, the Tigers drove 85 yards in 14 plays, taking a 20-10 lead on a 5-yard pass to Tre Smith.

Auburn went ahead 27-10 in the fourth quarter on Cox’s 9-yard pass to Cooper Wallace. Vickiel Vaughn appeared ready to intercept the ball in the end zone, but it went through his hands and right to Wallace with 12:08 remaining.

Freshman Darren McFadden ran for 108 yards and two touchdowns for Arkansas, including a 17-yard score with 9:34 remaining. But the Razorbacks (2-4, 0-3) could pull no closer. Auburn drove 82 yards in 11 plays and took a 34-17 lead on Smith’s 7-yard run with 3:37 to play.

Cox went 17-of-26 for 203 yards. He threw two interceptions in the first half, his first since Auburn’s season-opening loss to Georgia Tech.

Arkansas entered ranked third in the nation with 286.4 yards rushing per game, but the Razorbacks were outrushed 233-148 by Auburn.

Arkansas took a 3-0 lead on Chris Balseiro’s 19-yard field goal after Michael Coe’s interception in the first quarter. Auburn hadn’t allowed any points in the first half since its opener, outscoring its next four opponents 104-0 in the first two quarters.

The Razorbacks took a 10-3 lead in the second after another interception. Cox was hit by three players as he threw from his own goal line, and Vaughn easily picked off the pass at the Auburn 40. Vaughn’s return, plus a personal foul on the Tigers’ Troy Reddick, gave Arkansas the ball at the 13, and McFadden later scored on a 5-yard run.

Lester had seven carries for 32 yards before his injury.

Auburn was one of the last two teams in Division I-A to play a road game this season. The other, Nebraska, played at Baylor on Saturday night.

AP-ES-10-15-05 2230EDT

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.