Aug. 31, 2000
By JOHN ZENOR
Associated Press Writer
AUBURN, Ala.(AP) - Rudi Johnson rushed for 174 yards and three touchdowns,and Ben Leard threw two TD passes to lead Auburn to a 35-21 season-openingvictory over Wyoming on Thursday night.
It was the Tigers' 26th victory in their last 27 non-conference games.
Then, Johnson busted loose for a 70-yard TD run, shedding a pair of would-betacklers downfield and dragging cornerback Sidney Lewis most of the final 10yards to score with 3:24 left.
Johnson, a junior college transfer, brought instant life to a running gamethat ranked 112th in Division I-A and didn't produce a 100-yard rusher lastseason. He rushed for a 6-yard score in the second quarter and a 33-yarder inthe third, recovering from a lost fumble on his second carry.
Johnson and most of Auburn's other starters appeared done for the nightbefore sub Ronnie Brown fumbled at the Auburn 12. That set up McGuffey's12-yarder from Stoner with 7:49 to play.
Auburn's starters returned, but Wyoming stopped Johnson for a 1-yard loss onthree carries to force a punt.
Stoner led a seven-play, 60-yard drive capped by his 8-yarder to McGuffeywith 3:52 to play. Stoner was 4-of-5 for 41 yards on the drive.
Two plays later, Johnson sealed the win for Auburn.
Leard, who finished 12-of-19 for 266 yards, threw touchdown passes of 66yards to Ronney Daniels and 15 yards to tight end Robert Johnson in the firstquarter. Leard was 9-of-14 for 228 yards before halftime.
Stoner finished 19-of-35 for 158 yards with an interception.
Wyoming's first score came on a perfectly executed trick play late in thefirst quarter. Receiver Matt Swanson, also the backup quarterback, took a pitchfrom Stoner and heaved a 55-yarder to Brock Ralph, streaking alone down thesideline.
Auburn outgained Wyoming 443-242 and held the Cowboys to minus-9 yards on 12third-quarter plays.