Aug 31, 2013; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers running back Tre Mason (21) returns a kickoff for a touchdown against the Washington State Cougars during the first half at Jordan Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports
The Cougars and Tigers 2nd quarter was an explosive outbreak after an 8-7 1st opened the game with intrigue but not a whole lot of points. Then the 3rd saw a whole lotta defense take place.
Washington State started the scoring off with a 7 yard touchdown pass from Connor Halliday to Bobby Ratliff after an efficient drive by the Cougars about midway through the quarter. But it didn’t last long, as Tre Mason returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards, sprinting from left to right and around the corner untouched for the score.
WSU responded quickly with a beautiful seem route to Ratliff again, this time to the 2 yard line. Jeremiah Laufasa rumbled in from there to put the Cougs back up 21-15. Again, that didn’t last long, as the next offensive play for Auburn resulted in Corey Grant going to the other sideline as Mason had just run down, tight-roping the line around the 50 and sprinting 75 yards for an apparent score. It was reviewed and Grant looked like he stepped out twice, but the officials said there wasn’t enough evidence from the angle and upheld the call.
The Cougs made a small mistake late in the first half when Mike Leach decided to go for it and Halliday’s pass bounced off of the chest of Kristoff Williams on 4th down on the Coug side of the 50. The defense held, but Auburn settled for a 47 yard Cody Parkey field goal to take a 25-21 lead into the half.
The 3rd quarter was stock-full of chances for either team, but overthrows by Auburn and a couple more crucial drops by WSU receivers helped both squads only end up with field goals. To be fair Auburn shouldn’t have been in position for their field goal, as a 34 yard streak route to the WSU 18 was clearly bobbled going out of bounds on 3rd and 9 but called a completion and never reviewed for some unknown reason. The drive actually saw a fumble when Deone Bucannon absolutely mauled Tre Mason at the 5 yard line, but Auburn recovered the fumble and then Bucannon was flagged for taunting. Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall then scooted around the corner for a touchdown but got called back for holding, prompting the eventual 26 yard field goal.
Washington State’s best drive of the 3rd also ended in a field goal, but should have been aided when Auburn defenders interfered twice with River Cracraft on corner routes on back to back plays around the 15. Halliday pleaded, but no flags were thrown and the Cougars settled for their own field goal, Andrew Furney from 43 yards out.