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NCAA Game Summary - Kansas State at Auburn

(Saturday, September 1st)

Final Score: (18) Auburn 23, Kansas State 13

Auburn, AL (Sports Network) - Gabe McKenzie's three-yard touchdown reception late in the fourth quarter helped 18th-ranked Auburn avoid a season-opening loss to Kansas State as the Tigers came from behind to down the Wildcats, 23- 13.

Brandon Cox completed 17-of-30 passes for 229 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions for the Tigers (1-0), who scored 14 points in the fourth quarter en route to victory.

"I was just trying to keep everybody up and keep our confidence up," Cox said. "Like coach said, 'we just played Auburn football and found a way to win.' I really thought we had it all along. It was just a matter of when we would take it."

Prechae Rodriguez added six catches for 73 yards in the victory while Ben Tate rushed for 82 yards.

Josh Freeman threw for 268 yards with two interceptions on 32-of-57 passing for the Wildcats (0-1), who led going into the final quarter.

Jordy Nelson caught nine passes for 90 yards and also threw for a touchdown in the loss.

"We have to learn how to finish and Auburn is a team that does not quit," Nelson said.

Trailing 13-9 after three quarters, Auburn had trouble moving the ball in the early parts of the fourth and after trading punts back and forth, the Tigers got the ball back at their own 43-yard line with 4:26 left in the game.

Cox managed to get the Tigers down to the six-yard line after hitting James Swinton over the middle on a slant. After an offsides penalty on Kansas State, Cox found McKenzie open in the back, left corner of the end zone with 2:01 on the clock to give Auburn a 16-13 lead.

On the following drive, the Tigers sealed the victory after Quentin Groves sacked Freeman, knocked the ball loose, and Antonio Coleman scooped up the ball and ran 34 yards into the end zone to make it 23-13.

Kansas State managed the only points of the opening quarter as Brooks Rossman drilled a 20-yard field goal on the opening possession of the contest.

In the second quarter, Auburn responded with a pair of field goals from Wes Byrum to take the lead. Byrum's first field goal, a 20-yard chip shot less then a minute into the quarter, ended a nine-play, 69-yard drive. A 39-yarder by Byrum that put the Tigers on top was set up by a 16-yard catch by McKenzie.

On Auburn's first possession of the second half, Marcus Watts picked off Cox to set up a touchdown for the Wildcats.

Following the interception, Nelson connected with Leon Patton for a 21-yard touchdown pass on a wide receiver screen and pass to give the visitors a 10-6 lead.

After holding Auburn's offense in check following Patton's touchdown, the Wildcats went up 13-6 after Rossman drilled a 40-yard field goal with 7:31 remaining in the third quarter. The field goal ended an 11-play, 40-yard drive.

Late in the third quarter, Byrum pulled the Tigers to within 13-9 after splitting the uprights with a 31-yard field goal. The score was set up by a 57-yard punt return by Robert Dunn.

Game Notes

Auburn improved to 3-0 all-time against Kansas State...McKenzie ended with four catches for 42 yards...Groves also notched two sacks, five tackles and had three quarterback hurries...Kansas State defensive back Reggie Walker had six tackles, one interception and one sack.

09/02 04:23:20 ET

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