Oct. 20, 2013
Here comes Tre Mason, leading Auburn's running game against Texas A&M (Todd Van Emst photo)
By Charles Goldberg
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – With the game on the line, with an upset within sight, Auburn did what Auburn does best.
It ran the football.
The Tigers ran it seven of their final eight plays and upset Texas A&M 45-41 Saturday at Kyle Field. Tre Mason, last year's 1,000-yard rusher, stretched the final inches at the end of a 5-yard run for the go-ahead score.
Auburn ran up 615 yards of offense, 379 of it on the ground on 60 rushing plays. Auburn now leads the SEC in rushing, averaging 300.1 yards per game. Missouri a distant second at 234.4 yards.
"That's Auburn's identity: Tough, hard-nosed football," Mason said. "We're going to run the football, and if you can't stop it, oh well. We stuck to it."
Mason ran it 27 times for 178 yards, doing it was a sore heel.
"He's an extremely tough guy," said Auburn coach Gus Malzahn. "He was a little banged up coming up to the game. He rose to the occasion. Our offensive line did, too."
Tough guy, but the emotions got the best of him when the game was over.
"I was a little emotional at the end. Those were tears of happiness," Mason said.
Auburn and Texas A&M combined for more than 1,200 yards of offense after one big play followed another. But some of the most impressive yards came in Auburn's final drive, a methodical 13-play, 75-yard drive that won the game.
"We did something a lot of people didn't think we could do," Mason said.
"This is a statement game, and the statement we wanted to put across was that we're coming. It's just getting better from here on out."
Of course, Auburn had to hold off one final push by A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. Auburn's defense won that day, too.
"I had confidence in my defense. You've got to believe to achieve. We did that and came out with a great win," Mason said.
All the while Mason continued his march to another 1,000-yard season. He has 693 yards through seven games this season.
Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall showed he could through a little pain, too. He had missed Auburn's last game with a sore knee, but came back against Texas A&M, throwing for two touchdowns and running in two more.
"He's great with the football in his hands. He throws the football, runs with the football. He's just a great player," Mason said.
Texas A&M led more than it trailed. But Malzahn had a plan for a strong finish.
"In the fourth quarter we started going four-wide kind of spreading them out," he said. "We let Nick read it a couple of times, and after we got a first down, we just started pace running and they were tired. That's what we wanted to do."
Not Texas A&M. The Aggies ran out of options at the end.
Video: Tre Mason talks about Auburn's win:
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine