AUBURN, Ala. -- Tre Mason returned a kick 100 yards and Corey Grant scored on a 75-yard run to lead Auburn to a 31-24 victory over Washington State on Saturday night in Gus Malzahn's debut as the Tigers' coach.
Robenson Therezie also picked off two passes, including one in the end zone with less than five minutes remaining, for the Tigers (1-0). They had managed just two interceptions during last season's 3-9 debacle.
The Malzahn-versus-Mike Leach matchup of offensive innovators produced plenty of big plays and drama.
The Cougars (0-1) had two chances to tie it in the final five minutes, but Therezie's interception and an incompletion on fourth down ended the threats.
Grant gained 146 yards on nine carries. Junior college transfer Nick Marshall was 10-of-19 passing for 99 yards in his starting debut.
Connor Halliday was 35 of 65 for 344 yards and a touchdown but was also intercepted three times.
Michigan State's roster is largely built of interchangeable parts, but they don't make many parts that fit the mold of Malik McDowell.
In 100 days, the ACC will face an unusually important opening weekend, with its two top national contenders facing huge nonconference tests.
Nick Chubb continued to rehab is knee but is apparently ahead of schedule. Still, the staff is going to be very cautious with his return this fall.
Michigan has a number of contenders for "most indispensable" status, but one stands out for being more difficult to replace than any of the others.
Are Oklahoma's Josh Heupel and TCU's Trevone Boykin among the top five quarterbacks in Big 12 history? A case can be made for both players.
NC State has been transfer-quarterback heavy since Dave Doeren took over, with Boise State's Ryan Finley the latest transfer to come aboard.