Nov. 2, 2013
Tre Mason get a lift from Alex Kozan, left, and Resse Dismukes after one of his four TDs (Todd Van Emst photo)
By Charles Goldberg
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Tre Mason had six carries last week. That's OK. Auburn was saving him for something special.
Like what? Like this: Mason rushed for 168 yards and four touchdowns to help Auburn beat Arkansas 35-17 Saturday night in Razorback Stadium. His touchdown runs were of 9, 4, 5 and 12 yards. Three were through the center of the line, virtually untouched. The last one he raced everybody to the corner and won.
Who knew Mason was going to be the workhorse?
"I really didn't," Mason said. "I never know going into the game. I kind of get rolling...we run a fast-paced offense and I was getting into my zone and that's the way it panned out."
It was an strategic on-again, off-again four weeks for Mason. He rushed six times in a non-conference win over Western Carolina, then rushed for 178 yards and a touchdown in a win at Texas A&M. He ran it those six times against non-conference Florida Atlantic last week. Then went for the 168 yards in the win at Arkansas.
Mason, who somehow rushed for a 1,000 yards on Auburn's offensively-challenged 2012 team, is well on his way to doing it again. He has 921 yards and 13 touchdowns through nine games and with more to come.
Mason, as he usually does, spread the good fortune, complimenting the blocking of his offensive line, the receivers, of Jay Prosch.
Arkansas played keep-away most of the first half, but Mason still had 93 yards and two touchdowns by then, accounting for 75 percent of Auburn's offense. The Tigers led 14-3 at the half though Arkansas had run 46 plays to Auburn's 22.
The Razorbacks were apparently talking a good game, however.
"Those guys were talking a lot. I just tried to tell them, 'look at the scoreboard.' Once we get the lead, we try to keep the lead," Mason said.
Auburn coaching staff came in with plenty of ties to Arkansas, especially coach Gus Malzahn, who downplayed his homecoming. Not Mason.
"We had to make a statement for the coaches with our play," Mason said.
Auburn did it this way: The Tigers got in the red zone four times. All four times Mason scored a touchdown.
"I know when we get to the red zone we're going to play hard-nosed football. We've been pretty consistent at that. We're going to continue to do that."
Mason was the first Auburn player to score four touchdowns in a game since Heisman Trophy-winner Cam Newton did it against Kentucky in 2010. Newton, Mason said, challenged him to make his own place in Auburn history.
"That’s my guy," Mason said. "Ever since he told me ‘What is your legacy going to be here?’ I’ve been trying to make the most of mine. I look up to that guy. He’s like my big brother, and I’m glad to be in the same sentence he is.
Malzahn said "Tre is establishing himself as one of the top running backs in our league. He's a tough guy. He's durable. He's been a little banged up. He's getting a little healthier."
Video: Tre Mason talks about Auburn's win over Arkansas:
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine