Auburn Football: Players of the Game vs Kansas State

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Sep 18, 2014; Manhattan, KS, USA; Auburn Tigers quarterback Nick Marshall (14) looks to the sideline for a call during a 20-14 win against the Kansas State Wildcats at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

After much anticipation, the Auburn Tigers earned a hard fought 20-14 victory over the No. 20 Kansas State Wildcats Thursday night in Manhattan, Kansas.

The Tigers entered the game ranked No. 5, making them the highest ranked non-conference team to play at Bill Snyder Family Stadium since 1969. Behind a strong offense that had averaged 52 points per contest coming into the top 20 matchup, the Tigers were more than a touchdown favorite to win on the road according to Las Vegas odds makers.

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Those same odds makers expected a shootout and set the over/under at 65. College football fans across the country – and Auburn football fans, in particular – expected the same. However, because of a sloppy start by both sides, as well as quality defensive performances, Kansas State held Auburn to the team’s lowest scoring output since Gus Malzahn became the head coach.

A major reason the Auburn Tigers struggled to find the end zone against K-State was the team’s inability to run the football effectively. After rushing for a combined 660 yards in the season’s first two games, the Wildcats held Cameron Artis-Payne, Corey Grant, Nick Marshall and the Tigers’ offense to only 128 rushing yards. That total is the second worst in Malzahn’s tenure as head coach, and was the fewest rushing yards by the Tigers since Week 3 of the 2013 season against Mississippi State.

The defense played very well most of the night for Auburn, particularly against the run. Kansas State could muster only 40 rushing yards on 30 attempts (an average of 1.3 yards per carry), and the Tigers forced three turnovers. Looking back at the game, a handful of players stood out Thursday against Kansas State, and have earned our Auburn Tigers Players of the Week honors.