Scores

Final

Kansas State 13

(0-1, 0-1 away)

Auburn 23

(1-0, 1-0 home)

7:45 PM ET, September 1, 2007

Jordan-Hare Stadium, AUBURN, AL

1 2 3 4 T
KSU 3 0 10 013
AUB 0 6 3 1423

Top Performers

Passing: B. Cox (AUB) - 229 YDS, 1 TD, 2 INT

Rushing: B. Tate (AUB) - 23 CAR, 82 YDS

Receiving: J. Nelson (KSU) - 9 REC, 90 YDS

Auburn gets two late touchdowns, survives Kansas State

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) -- Auburn didn't win it with talent, style or grace.

"We gutted it out. That was a gut win," Tigers coach Tommy Tuberville said.

Brandon Cox threw a touchdown pass to Gabe McKenzie with 2:01 remaining and Antonio Coleman returned a fumble for a score moments later to give No. 18 Auburn a 23-13 win over Kansas State on Saturday night.

Auburn players jumped around like they'd won the national championship after the game, and coach Tommy Tuberville was hopeful the come-from-behind win would pay dividends later in the season.

Auburn's offense struggled all night, and Kansas State seemed poised for its 18th straight season-opening win, the first against a ranked opponent on the road.

But Auburn finally wore down the Wildcats. Cox -- who spent most of the game on his back or trying to escape pressure -- found McKenzie alone in the left corner of the end zone from the 3 to cap a 57-yard, seven-play drive.

"Everybody was fired up," Cox said. "We were going to do whatever we had to do to get in the end zone."

The Wildcats got the ball back but Quentin Groves sacked Josh Freeman, forcing a fumble that Coleman returned 34 yards for a touchdown.

Freeman completed 32 of 57 passes for 268 yards and was intercepted twice, including on Kansas State's final possession after Coleman's fumble return.

Kansas State players were stunned afterward. As Auburn fans went wild in a stadium that was nearly all orange, the Wildcats gathered in a tight group in front of their bench and walked off the field in formation. A few thousand fans dressed in purple cheered.

K-State coach Ron Prince said his team "just didn't get it done."

"You would like to be able for the kids to go away and know that they can play with Auburn. You don't come to a place like this and expect them to give you the game. You have to take it," he said.

They nearly did.

With the Wildcats trailing 6-3 after a first half dominated by defense, Kansas State's Marcus Watts intercepted Cox at the Wildcats 31 on the first play of the third quarter. Freeman directed the offense to the Auburn 21, and it was time for a trick.

Freeman took the snap and turned left, tossing a lateral to wide receiver Jordy Nelson on a third-and-6 play. Nelson heaved the ball deep to Leon Patton, who was all alone in the right side of the end zone for the first touchdown of the game.

Kansas State's Brooks Rossman kicked field goals from 20 and 40 yards, but he missed from 47 yards.

Auburn freshman Wes Byrum also had field goals of 20 and 31 yards.

Auburn only returned one starter on the offensive line, and it showed. Cox was sacked five times -- four times in the first half -- and spent most of the game trying to escape Wildcats defenders coming at him from all directions.

Cox was 17-of-30 passing with two interceptions for 229 yards.

Kansas State held Auburn to only 62 yards rushing. The Tigers weren't helped by the suspension of Brad Lester, who led Auburn runners last season but was held out for unspecified academic problems.

Auburn's Ben Tate ran for 82 yards.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
KSU
AUB
1st Downs1617
Total Yards316291
Passing289229
Rushing2762
Penalties16-1418-71
3rd Down Conversions5-183-15
4th Down Conversions1-21-1
Turnovers32
Possession27:4432:16

Passing Leaders

Kansas StateC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTQBR
Freeman32/572684.702-
Nelson1/12121.010-
AuburnC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTQBR
Cox17/302297.612-

Rushing Leaders

Kansas StateCARYDSAVGTDLG
Johnson7142.008
Murphy2136.5011
AuburnCARYDSAVGTDLG
Tate23823.6022
Stewart571.404

Receiving Leaders

Kansas StateRECYDSAVGTDLG
Nelson99010.0026
Johnson7405.7016
AuburnRECYDSAVGTDLG
Rodriguez67312.2018
McKenzie44210.5120

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERKSUAUB
FG10:31BROOKS ROSSMAN 20 YD FG
Drive info: 13 plays, 61 yards.
30
SECOND QUARTERKSUAUB
FG14:07WES BYRUM 20 YD FG
Drive info: 9 plays, 69 yards.
33
FG6:29WES BYRUM 39 YD FG
Drive info: 11 plays, 44 yards.
36
THIRD QUARTERKSUAUB
TD13:06LEON PATTON 21 YD PASS FROM JORDY NELSON (BROOKS ROSSMAN KICK)
Drive info: 6 plays, 69 yards.
106
FG7:31BROOKS ROSSMAN 40 YD FG
Drive info: 11 plays, 52 yards.
136
FG1:46WES BYRUM 31 YD FG
Drive info: 4 plays, 1 yards.
139
FOURTH QUARTERKSUAUB
TD2:01GABE MCKENZIE 3 YD PASS FROM BRANDON COX (WES BYRUM KICK)
Drive info: 6 plays, 57 yards.
1316
TD1:11ANTONIO COLEMAN 34 YD FUMBLE RETURN (WES BYRUM KICK)1323