Tre Mason returned a kick 100 yards and Corey Grant scored on a 75-yard run to lead Auburn to a 31-24 victory over Washington State Saturday night in Gus Malzahn's debut as the Tigers coach.
Robenson Therezie also picked off two passes, including one in the end zone with less than five minutes remaining, for the Tigers (1-0). They had managed just two interceptions during last season's 3-9 debacle.
The Malzahn-versus-Mike Leach matchup of offensive innovators produced plenty of big plays and drama.
The Cougars (0-1) had two chances to tie it in the final five minutes, but Therezie's interception and an incompletion on fourth down ended the threats.
Grant gained 146 yards on nine carries. Junior college transfer Nick Marshall was 10 of 19 passing for 99 yards in his starting debut.
Connor Halliday was 35 of 65 for 344 yards and a touchdown but was also intercepted three times.