By PETE IACOBELLI
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Kevin Harris ran for two touchdowns and South Carolina turned three interceptions thrown by Bo Nix into points to defeat No. 15 Auburn for the first time in 87 years with a 30-22 victory on Saturday.
The Tigers (2-2 Southeastern Conference) had won eight straight in the series and jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the opening 10 minutes. But Nix, the sophomore quarterback, threw three picks and the Gamecocks (2-2) cashed in each time to win consecutive games for the first time in more than a year.
Shi Smith had eight catches including a 10-yard TD grab midway through the third quarter and put South Carolina ahead for good, 20-19.
Auburn was driving on its following series when Nix threw his third interception — and second to cornerback Jaycee Horn who brought the ball down the left sidelines to the Tigers’ 8. Harris was in the end zone a play later for a 27-19 lead and Auburn could not recover.
The Tigers closed to 30-22 on Anders Carlson’s 22 yard field goal with 6:39 left. Auburn got the ball back once more with 2:15 left and drove to the South Carolina 13. Nix, though, was called for intentional grounding trying to avoid a sack and the Gamecocks held on to beat the Tigers for the first time since 1933.
South Carolina had not won back-to-back games since defeating Kentucky and then-No. 3 Georgia last season. That win over the Bulldogs was the last time the Gamecocks had beaten a ranked opponent.
Auburn’s offense looked unstoppable the first half and doubled up South Carolina in yardage (243-119) the first 30 minutes — except when Nix put the ball in danger.
Nix was 8 of 14 for 94 yards on the Tigers first two drives for a 9-0 lead.
But Nix threw into triple coverage on the next series and was picked off by Horn, son of longtime NFL receiver Joe Horn.
Five plays later, Harris ran for a 4-yard TD to tighten things.
Again, Auburn restored its edge — and Nix found Seth Williams on a 44-yard pass for the Tigers’ longest throw this year — with Tank Bigsby’s 2-yard touchdown run to go up 16-7.
And again, Nix’s interception — this time by Jaylin Dickerson — got the Gamecocks back in it as Hill ended an 11-play drive with a 1-yard run.
Nix had 272 yards passing. He was also sacked three times.
Bigby, the Auburn freshman, had 111 yards rushing and went past the century mark for a second straight game.
Auburn: The Tigers have some offensive issues. Nix had thrown only one interception on the season before his three here. And Nix and receiver Seth Williams looked to have some feisty words on the sidelines in the third quarter.
South Carolina: If the Gamecocks felt good about defeating Vanderbilt last week, they’ll be absolutely giddy with this ranked win before heading to LSU to face the defending — and struggling — national champions next week.
Auburn is at Ole Miss on Saturday.
South Carolina goes to LSU on Saturday night.