The Auburn Tigers rushed for 297 yards in Gus Malzahn's first game as head coach as they held off the Washington State Cougars, 31-24, in a non-conference bout at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Corey Grant had only nine rushing attempts but cashed them in for a career- best 146 yards and a touchdown for Auburn (1-0). Tre Mason accounted for 220 all-purpose yards with two touchdowns, one rushing and one on a kickoff return. Nick Marshall started at quarterback, completing 10-of-19 passes for 99 yards.
For WSU (0-1), Connor Halliday threw for 344 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions on 35-of-65 passing. Ten different Cougars caught a pass on the evening, led by Gabe Marks with nine receptions for 81 yards. Jeremiah Laufasa had just 10 yards rushing but scored a pair of touchdowns.
WSU got off to an lead early in the first quarter following a Laufasa four- yard touchdown run. The Tigers responded late in the frame with an eight-yard scoring rush by Mason, then took a one-point lead following a successful two-point conversion.
The Cougars regained the advantage midway through the second quarter when Halliday hooked up with Bobby Ratliff for a seven-yard touchdown, although it wouldn't last long, as Mason returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for a score.
WSU went back on top less than two minutes later when Laufasa converted another short touchdown rush, this time from one yard out.
Auburn closed out the half with 10 unanswered points. Grant ripped off a 75- yard touchdown run, then Cody Parkey converted a 47-yard field goal to give the Tigers a 25-21 advantage heading into intermission.
The squads exchanged field goals in the third quarter, with Parkey making a 26-yarder and Andrew Furney drilling a 43-yarder for the Cougars.
Another Parkey field goal (42 yards) at the 9:07 mark of the fourth quarter gave Auburn a seven-point cushion.
WSU twice drove deep into Auburn territory in the fourth quarter, but Halliday threw an interception in the end zone on one drive and the Cougars turned the ball over on downs on the other.
The Cougars lost despite winning the time of possession battle and gaining 28 first downs to the Tigers' 16.