5 things to watch for in Auburn-Arkansas State game - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

5 things to watch for in Auburn-Arkansas State game

Posted: Updated:
Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall (14) throws a pass during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Washington State on Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill) Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall (14) throws a pass during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Washington State on Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Five things to watch when Auburn takes on Arkansas State on Saturday night:

RUNNING BACK PLATOONS:

Arkansas State became only the seventh FBS team to have four 100-yard rushers in a game in the opener against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. David Oku is the star but Sirgregory Thornton, Michael Gordon and Fredi Knighten combined for 315 yards and five touchdowns on just 16 carries. Auburn's Corey Grant (146), Tre Mason (73) and Cameron Artis-Payne (52) also rotated against Washington State.

NEW QBS:

Both offenses kept tight reins on their new starting quarterbacks in the openers. Auburn's Nick Marshall passed for 99 yards while Utah State transfer Adam Kennedy threw for 149 and attempted just 12 passes. Neither threw an interception, but they could be called on to do more in this game.

SECONDARY MATCHUP:

Auburn defensive back Robenson Therezie, making his first start, accounted for two of Auburn's three interceptions against Washington State. That's one more than the Tigers had all of last season. They'll face receiver J.D. McKissic, who had only 3 yards on two catches in the opener but collected a school-record 103 receptions in 2012. Malzahn calls him "phenomenal."

WINNING STREAK:

Arkansas State is trying to match its longest winning streak since going 11-0 in 1975. Harsin is also trying to become the program's first head coach to start out 2-0.

AUBURN RECEIVERS:

They had drops, near-misses on deep balls that could have been touchdowns and few big plays. The Tigers are clearly still searching for a go-to receiver, or just a few reliable ones. Sammie Coates and Quan Bray both had three catches in the opener. Other candidates include Ricardo Louis and Jaylon Denson.