QB Brandon Cox, struggling all night, rallied the Tigers to a seven-play, 57-yard drive to give Auburn a 16-13 lead with 2:01 left when he found tight end Gabe McKenzie wide open in thee end zone on a short pass.
Then, with 1:11 left, senior defensive end Quentin Groves sacked KSU QB Josh Freeman and Antonio Colelman picked up the football and scored from 34 yards out on a scoop and score play sending the more than 86,000 fans at Jordan-Hare into a major celebration.
News and notes from the opener:
*Despite rain and television, a big crowd turned out for the opener. Tickets were very tough to find outside the stadium near kickoff.
*Auburn's eagle, Nova, was grounded from the pre-game flight due to heavy rain and wind prior to kickoff. The weather improved in the first quarter.
*At halftime each team had run 33 offensive plays. The Tigers ran the ball 22 times, but netted just 26 yards with Brandon Cox being sacked four times for 26 lost yards. Passing the ball the senior was 6-11 for 118 yards with one interception. KSU netted 17 yards on eight rushing plays in the first half. Josh Freeman put the ball up 25 times and completed 12 with one interception.
*Kansas State's offense came out strong, netting 91 yards on its first two possessions. Auburn's defense adjusted to the short passing game and gave up just 34 net yards on the final five KSU possessions of the first half.
*On the final play of the opening half, redshirt sophomore linebacker Tray Blackmon made his first collegiate interception.
*Eleven Tigers made their first career Auburn starts. On offense the group included tackle Pat Sims, safety Zac Etheridge, cornerback Jerraud Powers and linebacker Craig Stevens. Offensively, first-time starters included guards Tyronne Green and Mike Berry, tackle Lee Ziemba and wide receiver Prechae Rodriguez. Kicker Wes Byrum and punter Ryan Shoemaker started their first Auburn game.
*The game marked the debut of Auburn's new $2.9 million high definition video board in the south end zone.