Dec. 17, 2013
Cameron Artis-Payne rushed for 101 yards against Arkansas State (Todd Van Emst photo)
Second in a series of stories on Auburn's journey to the BCS National Championship Game.
By Phillip Marshall
AUBURN, Ala. - It was a game Gus Malzahn had dreaded from the day he arrived as Auburn's head coach last December. On Sept. 7, Arkansas State, the school he left, visited Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Arkansas State players vowed to get revenge for Malzahn's departure. Malzahn cautioned that the Red Wolves were talented enough and good enough to win if Auburn did not play its best game. He need not have worried. The Tigers took care of business, taking a 21-3 halftime lead, coasting to a 38-9 victory and running their record to 2-0.
Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall completed 10-of-17 passes for 147 yards and the first two touchdowns of his Auburn career. Cameron Artis-Payne rushed for 102 yards and Tre Mason for 99.
"First of all it feels good to be 2-0," Malzahn said. "We beat a good football team. We talked about needing to run the ball to be successful against these guys, and I felt like we were able to do that. Overall, I'm real happy to be 2-0 and to have beaten a good football team."
Auburn rushed 50 times for 301 yards and had 468 yards total offense. Arkansas State had 422 yards but did not score a touchdown.
An 18-yard touchdown pass from Marshall to Marcus Davis, a 17-yard run by Corey Grant and a 68-yard strike to Sammie Coates put Auburn out front in the first half. In the second half, Mason scored on an 11-yard run and Artis-Payne on a 12-yard run. Cody Parkey kicked a 35-yard field goal.
Marshall said he was "way more comfortable" than he had been in his first start.
"I just went out there and did what I do best," Marshall said. "I talked to Jonathan Wallace before the game and he told me just to be cool, calm and collected, so that's what I did."
Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow Marshall on Twitter: