Recappin’ a weekend of SEC football with the only must-read Monday morning article for SEC football fans…
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Auburn Runs Away With SEC Title
Auburn is going to run the football, and there is nothing you can do about it. Led by Tre Mason’s 304 yards (304 yards!) and four touchdowns, Auburn has completed an incredible one-year turnaround going from zero conference wins in 2012 to 2013 SEC Champions. They are champions because they run the football better than everyone else in the country and because they have magic in their blood and witchcraft in their bones.
Alabama and Missouri are the two best-run defenses in the SEC, and over the last two weeks Auburn has torched them for a combined 841 rushing yards. That number is insane. These are two of the best defenses in the country, and they can’t stop Auburn from running the ball down their throats. It helps that Tre Mason apparently doesn’t get tired. He carried the ball 46 times on Saturday, and in his post-game interview didn’t even appear to be sweating. If you told me after the game Tre Mason left the Georgia Dome and jogged back to Auburn, I wouldn’t be surprised.
Quarterback/athletic freak Nick Marshall executed the read option effectively all game, adding 101 yards of his own on the ground and a touchdown. Head coach Gus Malzahn is an offensive genius, and his offense is on fire heading into the BCS Championship game against Florida State.
I don’t know if there are enough complimentary words to throw at Gus Malzahn. His offense is a beautiful thing to watch. I found myself just watching his offensive lineman on the touchdown replays, not believing their speed and endurance. Yes, we’re talking offensive line speed! Gus demands that his offense plays fast, and his line never slowed down in the most critical game of the season.
Auburn fans need to realize how fortunate they are to have a season like this. The Mississippi State win on a touchdown with 10 seconds left, the hard fought A&M win against Johnny Football, the Georgia Hail Mary, the Iron Bowl Miracle, Tre Mason’s SEC Championship game performance? These represent a stunning amount of unforgettable, emotionally gratifying moments. And to cap it all off you get to go to Pasadena, the best venue in football, and play for a National Championship! Seasons like this don’t come around often, so cherish it.
I’m being told at least one Auburn fan is cherishing the moment. My buddy Rush was sitting in the KooKoo Room in Atlanta following the game when Sir Charles Barkley rolled into the bar and says, “War Motherf#$%ing Eagle! Drinks are on me!” Barkley’s the best. We should put his face on money.
Related: Tre Mason for Heisman
One hundred and one total points. One thousand two hundred and eleven combined total yards. Auburn had 545 rushing yards alone. Missouri quarterback James Franklin had 362 total yards and accounted for four touchdowns. Dorial Green-Beckham looked like he’s officially become the best receiver in college football, catching six passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns. Auburn had five players break 20-plus yard runs, including some dude named Cameron Artis-Payne, who I think came out of the stands to juke like ten dudes on his 21-yard touchdown run, before returning to his seat. This is Xbox shit. Now is this a result of great offense or bad defense? Yes.
Mizzou Comes Up Short
If you would have told Missouri that they were going to score 42 points in the SEC Championship game they would have been thrilled, until you told them they’d also almost give up 60. Missouri did a lot of things right on Saturday, including moving the football and producing turnovers, but ultimately they couldn’t stop Auburn from moving the ball. It was stunning to watch Auburn march all over a defense that has been solid all season. We were waiting for adjustments, but they just never came. It was a nice season for Missouri, coming back from an injury plagued 5-7 2012, but the Tigers ended up losing to the two best teams they played this season, while Auburn beat the two best teams they’ve played this season. That’s why Auburn is going to the BCS Championship game, and Missouri is going to the Cotton Bowl.
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Auburn did their part, convincingly beating Missouri and winning the SEC Championship, but they still needed some help from Sparty, and they got it. Michigan State’s upset over Ohio State means the world and once again is getting the National Championship game they deserve. #1 Florida State will face #2 Auburn on January 6, in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. Florida State will likely be favored by around a touchdown, but don’t sleep on Auburn. Jameis Winston is a superstar quarterback and likely Heisman Trophy winner, but Auburn has already shown they can beat elite quarterbacks. They beat Johnny Manziel, they beat A.J. McCarron, and they beat Aaron Murray. FSU has an elite defense, but they haven’t faced anyone remotely as good as Auburn. FSU is very good, but I don’t know if they will score more points against Auburn than Missouri just did, and the question is can Florida State’s defense, with a month to prepare for Malzahn’s offense, slow down the Tigers? I can’t wait to find out.
Plays That Mattered
Nick Marshall didn’t have to throw the ball a lot on Saturday, but when he did he was effective, going 9-11 on the day. He’s just getting better, and this next month of practice might do wonders for Marshall.
DGB is going to be very rich one day. He has that Lebron James-like physical skill set that can’t be coached. He’s really turned the corner over the last few weeks of the season, and I can’t wait to see him next season.
Tre Mason had a legendary performance on Saturday. He ran the ball 46 times for over 300 yards. He broke Bo Jackson’s single game rushing record with Bo in the house. He probably won’t win the Heisman, but he earned himself a trip to New York City on Saturday.
What They Meant To Say
“I honestly can’t believe how good we are. I mean, it’s crazy that we are this good. I guess I’m really, really, really good at coaching football.” – Gus Malzahn, Head Coach, Auburn University
”Did I throw the game? Maybe. I mean, people probably won’t even remember me losing to Michigan State, but they sure as hell would have remembered our 50-point loss to Florida State in the championship game. This is me avoiding getting completely exposed.” – Urban Meyer, Head Coach, AN Ohio State University
“Alabama, Texas, whatever. All I know is somebody is going to be paying me $8 million dollars a year.” - Nick Saban, Head Coach, University of Alabama