AUBURN, Ala., Sept. 11 -- Rusty Williams ran for two touchdowns and Ben Leard threw for two more Saturday night as Auburn held off a late charge from Idaho in a 30-23 victory. The Tigers (2-0), who needed to rally past Division I-AA foe Appalachian State at home last week, scored the first 23 points and carried a shutout into the fourth quarter before nearly collapsing.
Williams put Auburn on the board with a three-yard run 5:12 into the contest. The Tigers extended the lead to 13-0 on a three-yard pass from Leard to Jack Schweiger. Leard hooked up with Markeith Cooper from 14 yards for a 20-0 halftime lead. But the Tigers let Idaho back in the game by losing three fumbles. A 23-yard field goal by Robert Bironas pushed the advantage to 23-0 before the Vandals finally got untracked offensively. Ed Dean pulled Idaho within 23-8 on a seven-yard pass to Rossi Martin with 12:39 to play. Williams' second touchdown came on an 11-yard dash 4:13 later. Idaho closed to 30-16 on its next possession as Dean fired a 20-yard pass to Ryan Prestimonico with 7:40 left. Dean capped the scoring with a seven-yard toss to Chris Lacy with 41 seconds left, but the Vandals failed to recover the ensuing onside kick. Leard completed 16 of 19 passes for 166 yards for Auburn, which intercepted three passes. The Tigers also committed 12 penalties that set them back 82 yards. Dean, who replaced an ineffective John Walsh, was 18 of 32 for 169 yards and two interceptions.