Auburn coach Gus Malzahn wanted to see how his team handled tough times.
In that regard, especially, Malzahn says his debut as the Tigers' coach was a success. They trailed three times before beating Washington State 31-24 on Saturday night. Malzahn says he "saw our guys hustling on and off the field no matter what the score was. "
That was a big deal for a team trying to rebound from a 3-9 season.
The game also marked the Auburn debut for quarterback Nick Marshall. The Tigers mostly relied on a running game that produced 297 yards, but Marshall didn't turn the ball over.
Malzahn says he "liked the way he handled himself."
Next up is a visit from the coach's former team, Arkansas State.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)