AUBURN WINS SEC TITLE
December 8, 2013INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
AUBURN SPORTS RELEASE
ATLANTA -- Tre Mason kept running and running and running, and didn't stop until Auburn won the Southeastern Conference championship Saturday night in the Georgia Dome.
Mason rushed for an SEC title game-record 304 yards and four touchdowns and the Tigers sent a message that it was worthy of BCS title game consideration with a rousing 59-42 victory over Missouri before a roaring Auburn crowd. It was Auburn's second SEC championship in the last four years.
The Tigers smashed all sorts of SEC Championship Game offensive records in improving to 12-1 overall. They'll hope to play in the title game now, against perhaps Florida State or Ohio State, both of whom played later Saturday. Missouri fell to 11-2.
Mason scored two of his touchdowns in the fourth quarter to finally put Missouri away.
Auburn smashed Missouri's rush defense for 533 yards. Missouri was No. 2 in the SEC and No. 14 nationally in rushing defense. Auburn wasn't impressed. The Tigers raced past 670 yards of total offense.
Mason led the way on a huge Auburn day. Even Cody Parkey broke the SEC Championship Game record with a 52-yard field goal.
Mason had a remarkable first half: 190 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries, then just six yards short of the championship game record set by LSU's Justin Vincent in 2003. He just kept pouring it on in the second half.
He needed two runs into the second half to become the record holder.
The first half had plenty of big stats: Marshall hit 6-of-6 passes for 94 yards and a touchdown. But both teams played at such a frantic pace that every touchdown was answered with another.
The first series of the game ended in a punt. How could that have been? The two teams ran up and down the field after that, settling with a 28-27 Auburn halftime lead, but not before the teams combined for 680 yards with two quarters still to play.
Auburn had 376 yards of those, including 282 rushing yards, close enough to Alabama's record SEC Championship full-game total of 350 set last year.
What happened? Lots of these: Touchdown, touchdown, touchdown, touchdown and more touchdowns and an occasional field goal or two.
Missouri scored first on a 42-yard Andrew Baggett field goal. Then everything broke loose.
Marshall threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Sammie Coates, but Missouri's James Franklin threw a 28-yard TD pass to Dorial Green-Beckham. Then Marshall scored from the 9 to make it 14-10 Auburn at the end of the first quarter.
An opportunistic E.J. Gaines scooped up a Marshall fumble and scored from 11 yards out, but Mason answered with a 7-yard TD run to make it 21-17 Auburn.
But things were still just heating up. Baggett hit a 36-yard field goal before Mason scored again, this time from the 3 for a 28-20 lead with 6:26 left in the second quarter. Missouri got the ball back 70 seconds left, and that was plenty of time to score again. Franklin threw a 55-yard TD pass to Green-Beckham with 18 seconds left in the half.
Whew. Everybody tried to catch their breath then.
Not Auburn. It scored two third-quarter touchdowns on a Corey Grant 2-yard run and a 15-yard run by Cameron Artis-Payne. The Tigers kept it up in the fourth quarter, too.
|Final Team Statistics|
|TOTAL FIRST DOWNS
|THIRD DOWN EFFICIENCY
|FOURTH DOWN EFFICIENCY
|TOTAL NET YARDS
|Total Off. Plays (inc. times thrown passing)
|Avg. gain per offensive play
|NET YARDS RUSHING
|Total Rushing Plays
|Avg. gain per rushing play
|NET YARDS PASSING
|Times Thrown - yards lost attempting to pass
|PASS ATTEMPTS-COMPLETIONS-HAD INTERCEPTED
|Avg. gain per pass play (inc. # thrown passing)
|PUNTS Number and average
|TOTAL RETURN YARDAGE (Not including kickoffs)
|No. and Yards Punt Returns
|No. and Yards Kickoff Returns
|No. and Yards Interception Returns
|PENALTIES No. and Yards
|FUMBLES No. and Lost
|EXTRA POINTS Made-Attempts
|FIELD GOALS Made-Attempts
|TIME OF POSSESSION