September 2, 2007

Cats take positives from Auburn trip

AUBURN, Ala. - It's tradition, you know. Tee-pee only adorns the Auburn campus following a big win. Guess what? By midnight, after the crowd of 86,439 left Jordan-Hare Stadium, white streamers hung from trees lining university buildings. Only the final minutes of the Wildcats' 23-13 loss to the No. 18-ranked Tigers saved the tall trees and long streets from being bare.



The trees told a tale. So did Brandon Cox's three-yard scoring toss to Gabe McKenzie with 2 minutes, 1 second left to play. That's what the Tigers needed in order to take a go-ahead 16-13 lead. Fifty seconds later, Quentin Groves blasted Josh Freeman from behind and caused the sophomore quarterback to fumble. Antonio Coleman picked-up the loose ball and rumbled 34 yards into the end zone. That's what put the contest out of reach.



The final-minute jubilation on the Auburn sideline and collective sigh felt throughout the stadium - that was telling, too.



"When it counted we scored that last touchdown, but it was a tough game for us," said Cox, who completed 17 of 30 passes for 229 yards and one touchdown and two interceptions. "My hat is off to Kansas State. It played a great game."



K-State, a two-touchdown underdog, outplayed the Tigers for 54 minutes, rattling them and silencing the stadium. They out-gained Auburn 316-291 yards and forced it to settle for three Wes Byrum field goals. This wasn't the Auburn that had put fear into some behind its 33 wins over the last three seasons, trailing only Southern California (36) and Texas (34) in the span. The Tigers looked ordinary.



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