AUBURN — The Arkansas State University football team saw its nation’s second-longest nine-game winning streak come to an end as the Red Wolves suffered a 38-9 loss to the Auburn Tigers this Saturday night (Sept. 7) in front of a crowd of 83,246 at AU’s Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala.
Arkansas State, which is now 1-1 on the season, battled Auburn (2-0) the entire game but the Tigers controlled the play on both sides of the ball for the majority of the non-league contest. The A-State setback was the Red Wolves’ first since a 26-13 home conference loss to Western Kentucky a season ago (9/29) and also snapped a four-game road winning streak.
Auburn started the game by scoring on its opening two possessions to claim a 14-3 lead with just under four minutes left in the first quarter. The Tigers stuck first at the 11:37 mark as quarterback Nick Marshall connected with wide receiver Marcus Davis on a third-down 18-yard scoring strike. A-State bounced back by tallying on its first possession as the Red Wolves marched 58 yards on 14 plays culminating in senior kicker Brian Davis’ 34-yard field goal at 6:54 to make the score 7-3. A 16-yard pass from senior quarterback Adam Kennedy to sophomore tight end Darion Griswold highlighted the A-State’s initial scoring drive.
On its next possession, Auburn found paydirt again when running back Corey Grant scampered 17 yards into the end zone putting the Tigers up 14-3 with 3:56 on the clock. A-State took the ensuing kickoff and would get into Auburn territory, which was aided by a 40-yard Kennedy pass completion to sophomore wide receiver J.D. McKissic. The Red Wolves’ drive would stall at the AU 20-yard line on an unsuccessful fourth-and-one rush.
A-State was able to keep Auburn off the scoreboard until 2:20 remaining in the second quarter as the Tigers went up 21-3 following Nick Marshall’s 68-yard TD pass to sophomore wide receiver Sammie Coates. At the half, the Red Wolves compiled 161 passing yards while the Tigers had 139 to go with 143 yards on the ground.
Trailing 21-3 at halftime, Arkansas State came out in the third quarter by scoring six unanswered points on a pair of Brian Davis field goals to close within 21-9. Davis booted a 21-yarder at 9:58 to finish an 11-play, 71-yard drive, which was set up on quarterback keepers of 28 yards by Kennedy and 17 yards from sophomore Fredi Knighten. Auburn would turn the ball over on its possession as A-State junior cornerback Artez Brown recovered a Nick Marshall fumble on a third-and-11 situation withunder nine minutes to go at the AU 17-yard line and the Red Wolves would capitalize as Brian Davis made a 42-yard field goal with 7:53 left in the quarter. Auburn accounted for the final points of the stanza on an 11-yard TD run by running back Tre Mason with over a minute left to claim a 28-9 lead after three quarters.
In the fourth quarter, Auburn tacked on 10 more points with a field goal and a TD. Cody Parkey split the uprights from 35 yards out with 8:46 remaining and running back Cameron Artis-Payne, who ran for agame-high 102 yards, would score on a 12-yard run at 1:43 to wrap up the scoring.
A-State rolled up 24 first downs and 422 total offensive yards while Auburn had 23 first downs to go with 468 yards in total offense. Adam Kennedy led the Red Wolves with 74 rushing yards on 12 attempts to go with 29-of-41 in passing for 272 yards. Senior running back David Oku ran for 48 yards on 16 carries and had six receptions for 70 yards. Kennedy’s favorite target was senior wideout Julian Jones, who caught a game-high seven passes for 29 yards. Darion Griswold totaled five grabs for 46 yards.
For Auburn, Nick Marshall threw for 147 yards and two TD’s on 10-of-17 passing and also ran for 53 yards. Tre Mason chalked up 99 yards on the ground as the Tigers finished with 301 as a team.
Sophomore rover Chris Humes and junior free safety Sterling Young topped A-State defensively with 12 (nine solos) and 10 tackles (seven solos), respectively. Junior middle linebacker Qushaun Lee and senior nose tackle Ryan Carrethers contributed seven stops apiece. Cornerback Chris Davis’ 10 tackles (seven solos) led Auburn defense, which limited Arkansas State to 150 rushing yards.
Arkansas State returns home next Thursday, Sept. 12, as the Red Wolves host the TroyTrojans in their Sun Belt Conference (SBC) opener at Liberty Bank Stadium. A 6:30 p.m. (CT) opening kickoff is scheduled for the contest, which will be televised live on ESPNU. Tickets for the contest and all remaining 2013 A-State home games may be purchased by contacting the ASU Central Box Office at 870-972-ASU1 (2781) or 1-888-ASU-FANS.