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Reese Dismukes and company give Auburn room to run
Oct. 29, 2014

Rain or shine, Auburn's Reese Dismukes is protecting quarterback Nick Marshall

By Charles Goldberg

AUBURN, Ala. -- Gus Malzahn had nice things to say about how quarterback Nick Marshall ran the zone-read run game and, indeed, there the Tigers put up some big numbers in last Saturday's win over South Carolina.

Three-hundred-and-ninety-five yards on the ground were shades of 2013, and give No. 3 Auburn some spring in its step as it prepares No. 4 Ole Miss for a Saturday game in Oxford.

"We were able to do what we wanted out there," said center Reese Dismukes. "Obviously, anytime you rush for over 300 in this league you are doing well. It was a little different from last year, but then again we felt some of the same things."

Auburn picked up its running game in the second half of last season and turned the corner with its best rushing performance of this year against South Carolina. It started with an offensive line that had the same four starters for the third straight week.

"I saw good things at times," Dismukes said. "Obviously, there is room for improvement. It wasn't great, it wasn't terrible. We've got to get better this week."

In the middle of it all is Dismukes, who made his team-high 44th start. The senior is also up for the Rimington Award, which goes to the nation's best center. So are some other guys...

"Whatever game I'm watching on TV I'm usually looking for the center," Dismukes said. "I don't look up film of them and see what he's doing throughout the weeks. All of that stuff will take care of itself if we keep winning football games."

"With what we do," said coach Gus Malzahn, "our center is like another quarterback. He makes all the calls up front. Everything is on him, especially when you go pace. The center directs everything. He's a very good athlete. He's a tough guy. He's been our leader. He's been one of our leaders around here for a long time."

That will have to continue at Ole Miss. Auburn and the Rebels both landed a coveted Top 4 spot in the new College Football Playoff standings Tuesday night, though one will surely drop after Saturday's game.

Dismukes said the challenge is big, for Ole Miss' defensive line is "probably one of the best in this league. They do a lot of good stuff. They play with an edge and have fun out there."

The stats back up Dismukes' assessment. Ole Miss leads the league in scoring defense and is second in total defense. Auburn counters with the SEC's best running game.

"I don't think you really change anything," Dismukes said. "You go into this game as you do any other game. 

"In big games like this it can come down to one or two plays and you never know which play is going to make the difference. You've got to play every play like it's your last."

Auburn changed its offensive line around when right tackle Pat Miller suffered an injury in the third game. The last three games has been a line of Dismukes, Devonte Danzy at left guard, Shon Coleman at left tackle, Chad Slade at right guard and Avery Young at right tackle.

 "I think throughout the weeks we've put different mismatches here and there. The guys are getting used to each other," Dismukes said. "We'll continue to gel as this season gets toward the end. We'll continue to get better."

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:



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