Auburn uses ground attack in 38-9 win over Arkansas State
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) -- Cameron Artis-Payne rushed for 102 yards, Tre Mason gained 99 and Nick Marshall passed for two touchdowns to lead Auburn to a 38-9 victory over Arkansas State Saturday night.
Marshall passed for 147 yards and ran for 53 for the Tigers (2-0), who halted Arkansas State's nine-game winning streak. That streak started began during Auburn coach Gus Malzahn's one-year reign over the Red Wolves (1-1) that resulted in a second straight Sun Belt Conference championship.
Malzahn's new team racked up 301 rushing yards and produced a big pass play, too. Marshall hit Sammie Coates in stride for a 68-yard touchdown after some misfires on deep balls.
Arkansas State's Adam Kennedy completed 29 of 41 passes for 272 yards and ran for 74.
The Red Wolves had four players rush for 100-plus yards in the opening route of Arkansas-Pine Bluff but totaled 150 yards on the ground in this game, much of it in the fourth quarter.
The running game continued to be the Tigers' biggest strength while Marshall settles in as the starter.
Mason, who carried 14 times, had reached 100 yards before losing yardage late in the fourth quarter and scored on an 11-yard run. Artis-Payne ran 19 times and scored on a 12-yarder late in the game.
Former walk on Corey Grant, who gained 146 yards in the opener against Washington State, scored on a 17-yard run.
Marshall capped the Tigers' first drive with an 18-yard touchdown pass to freshman Marcus Davis, making his first career catch. The junior college transfer completed 10 of 17 passes but also lost a fumble deep in Auburn territory when the ball squirted loose without apparent contact.
That time, and several others, Auburn's defense produced a big stop to keep the Red Wolves from threatening an upset. Auburn gained 468 yards and Arkansas State produced 422 yards on 80 plays in a matchup of fast-paced offenses.
Reaching the end zone, not moving the ball, was Arkansas State's problem.
The Red Wolves penetrated Auburn's 35-yard line a number of times, but were stopped three times on fourth down and had to settle for a punt and three field goals by Brian Davis.
Davis hit a 42-yarder after Marshall's fumble at the 17, making it 21-9.
Auburn, meanwhile, scored on all five of its trips inside the Red Wolves' 20-yard line.
The Red Wolves received 15-yard penalties to start each half because their dark gray and red jerseys did not have enough contrast, making the numbers hard to read.
Auburn linebacker Kris Frost was ejected late in the third quarter for targeting.