AUBURN, Ala. (AP) -Suspended Auburn running back Brad Lester has been cleared by the NCAA to return to the field for the Vanderbilt game on Oct. 6.
Auburn said Friday that Lester was cleared after being on indefinite suspension since the Cotton Bowl for unspecified academic issues. He missed the Tigers' first three games.
``I'm happy to have this behind me,'' Lester said. ``I'm looking forward to moving on and playing in the Vanderbilt game.''
Lester led Auburn (1-2) with nine touchdowns last season, gaining 510 yards as Kenny Irons' backup. He will miss Saturday's game against New Mexico State and the following week at No. 3 Florida.
Without him and injured Tristan Davis, the Tigers' running game has relied almost solely on sophomore Ben Tate and redshirt freshman Mario Fannin, who has lost three fumbles in the past two games, both losses. Auburn is ninth in the Southeastern Conference in rushing offense, averaging 134 yards per game with only three total touchdowns.
``I'm proud of Brad's patience and how he's handled this throughout the process,'' Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said. ``We're excited that we'll have him back on the playing field in the near future.''

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