AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Adam Kennedy and the Arkansas State offense had no problem churning out yards against Gus Malzahn's Auburn team.
The Red Wolves (1-1) just kept getting turned back after nearing the end zone with chances to stay within striking distance before falling 38-9 to their former coach and the Tigers Saturday night.
"We were running the ball. It wasn't difficult," Arkansas State running back David Oku said. "We shot ourselves in the foot on a couple of plays. I just talked to my teammates and we take the blame for not getting the ball in.
"We got down there plenty of times."
The loss ended a nine-game winning streak, started during Malzahn's one-year reign in Jonesboro that resulted in a second straight Sun Belt Conference championship.
Kennedy completed 29 of 41 passes for 272 yards and ran for 74.
The Red Wolves had four players rush for 100-plus yards in the opening route of Arkansas-Pine Bluff but totaled 150 yards on the ground in this game, much of it in the fourth quarter.
Auburn gained 468 yards and Arkansas State produced 422 yards on 80 plays in a matchup of fast-paced offenses.
The Red Wolves penetrated Auburn's 35-yard line a number of times, but were stopped three times on fourth down and had to settle for a punt and three field goals by Brian Davis.
Cameron Artis-Payne rushed for 102 yards, Tre Mason gained 99 and Nick Marshall passed for two touchdowns for Auburn (2-0).
Marshall passed for 147 yards and ran for 53.
"It was pretty emotional," Malzahn said. "It's a pretty interesting deal when you coach against a team that you're close to players. It's a bunch of great kids over there and they're great competitors. It was interesting, but it was good to see those guys.
Malzahn's new team racked up 301 rushing yards and produced a big pass play, too. Marshall hit Sammie Coates in stride for a 68-yard touchdown after some misfires on deep balls, staking Auburn to a 21-3 halftime lead.
"That kind of gave us a sigh of relief right there," Malzahn said.
The Red Wolves' evening was made worse by 15-yard penalties to start each half because their dark gray and red jerseys did not have enough contrast, making the numbers hard to read.