AU 38, ASU 9: News, Notes & Quotes, Part 1

Comments from Auburn players and game notes are featured from the Tigers' victory over Arkansas State.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn linebackers made up for limited production in a season-opening win against Washington State two weeks ago with big games out of starters Cassanova McKinzy and Jake Holland in Saturday's 38-9 win victory over Arkansas State at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

After only two tackles by McKinzy and none from Holland against Washington State were recorded in the official stats, McKinzy had eight tackles (five solo and three assists) with Holland contributing six stops (one solo and five assists) against Arkansas State.

The Tigers stepped up defensively in allowing Arkansas State only three field goals. It was the first time since Auburn defeated Florida 17-6 in 2011 that a Tiger defense had not allowed an opponent a touchdown.

Arkansas State had four rushers with 100 yards or more in its season-opening 62-11 win over Arkansas Pine Bluff a week before taking on Auburn.

"Our main goal was to stop the run," McKinzy said after the Tigers improved to 2-0 for the season.

"I felt we did pretty well at that as a unit," McKinzy said of the Tigers holding the Red Wolves to 150 yards rushing. "I felt like we had an edge in not wanting to let them in our end zone.

"Just like the coaches tell us, whether or not we are going to let them in the end zone has nothing to do with the play calls, it has to do with what's inside, what's in our hearts. I believe we played with a lot of heart"

It was evident that defenders were flying to the ball, something that was missing during Auburn's 3-9 season a year ago.

"That has a lot to do with our rotation on defense," he said. "Being fresh really helps us on defense as the game goes along, but the important thing is making plays within the scheme and that's easier to do when you have been rested some because of our rotation."

In other news and notes:

*After being named SEC Defensive Player of the Week for this two-interception, seven-tackle performance in Auburn's opening win over Washington State, Robenson Therezie started for the second straight game Saturday at the "star" position over injured preseason projected starter Justin Garrett, defensive MVP of Auburn's A-Day Game. Garrett suffered a foot injury in Auburn's second pre-season scrimmage. Garrett practiced this week and could be back for game three.

*Other last-minute lineup changes against the Red Wolves were junior college transfer Ben Bradley at defensive tackle ahead of first-game starter Gabe Wright and Nosa Equae at defensive end over LaDarius Owens, who made his first career start the previous week against Washington State.

*Three receivers had their first catches of the season on Auburn's opening touchdown drive that covered 67 yards in 10 plays. Quarterback Nick Marshall connected with wideout Trovon Reed for 17 yards and fullback Jay Prosch for eight yards before finding true freshman wide receiver Marcus Davis on an 18-yard touchdown strike at the goal line. None of the three had a reception in Auburn's opener against Washington State the week before.

*Marshall completed four of five passes for 49 yards on Auburn's opening drive. In the opener against Washington State the junior college transfer quarterback starting his first game for the Tigers was only 2-for-8 for 20 yards for the entire first half. Marshall's only completion in three second-quarter attempts against the Red Wolves was a 68-yard scoring strike to Sammie Coates. Marshall finished the game with 10 completions in 17 attempts for 147 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

*Arkansas State was penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct on the first play of each half. The first penalty was tacked on at the end of Tre Mason's 33-yard return of the opening kickoff. The calls were for an equipment violation brought on by the Red Wolves' failure to wear contrasting colors. Arkansas State was wore grey jerseys with red numerals which were difficult to see without binoculars. The Red Wolves were attired in black pants.

*The Auburn defense extended its streak of not giving up a touchdown to six straight quarters after limiting Arkansas State to three field goals. In last week's 31-24 win over Washington State to open the season, the Tigers gave up three first-half touchdowns, but only a field goal in the second half.

*Cody Parkey extended his SEC-leading streak of successful extra-point kicks to 58 with five against Arkansas State.

*Quan Bray's 33-yard kickoff return tied his career long set against Utah State in 2011 and wide receiver Jaylon Denson's 17-yard reception in the first quarter is his career long. His previous long was a 12-yard catch against Arkansas in 2012.

*Corey Grant's touchdown run from 17 yards in the second quarter made him the first player to score touchdowns rushing in his first two games of the season since Onterio McCalebb in 2009. Later in the game, Tre Mason matched Grant with a touchdown in his first two games this year with his coming in the third quarter.

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