Game analysis: Auburn 59, Missouri 42
by Joe Medley
Dec 07, 2013 | 1816 views |  0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cameron Artis-Payne with a 15-yard touchdown run. (Photo by Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
Cameron Artis-Payne with a 15-yard touchdown run. (Photo by Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
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Offense

In an astounding show for an SEC championship, Auburn mounted game-record 677 total yards, a game-record 545 on the ground. The rushing total bested Alabama’s record 2012 total by 195 yards.

Running back Tre Mason set a game-record with 304 rushing yards on a school-record 46 carries. His yards beat the old SEC-final record of 201, set by LSU’s Justin Vincent in 2003.

In Auburn coach Gus Malzahn’s two SEC Championship Games with Auburn -- head coach Saturday and offensive coordinator in 2010 -- Auburn scored 115 points and gained 1,266 total yards.

This in a league known for defense.

Defense

Once again, Auburn’s performance is measured not in dominance but in being as good as it had to be, factoring in the Tigers’ offense.

Auburn gave up 534 total yards and 42 points but came up with fourth-quarter stops after Missouri scored to trim Auburn’s lead to 45-42 late in the third quarter. Missouri went scoreless on three fourth-quarter possessions.

Auburn came up with fourth-down stops on Missouri’s final two possessions.

Special teams

In a game of touchbacks, Auburn’s stars were punter Steven Clark and kicker Cody Parkey.

Clark delivered three pin punts, pinning Missouri inside its 10-yard line each time.

Parkey missed a 54-yard field goal in the first quarter but hit a 52-yarder in the third to set an SEC Championship and personal record.

Missouri had no returns on three Auburn punts and only one return for 14 yards on 10 Auburn kickoffs. Auburn also recovered an onsides kick in the first quarter.

Coaching

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn has stayed the course all season and did against Saturday, mounting video-game numbers with the run-first, hurry-up, no-huddle offense that has carried him from the high school ranks to an SEC champion head coach.

It worked for 296 yards rushing against Alabama’s defense, then the SEC’s best against the run. A week later, it worked for 545 yards against Missouri, the SEC’s second-best defense against the run.

Overall

A year after going 3-9 overall and 0-8 in SEC play, Auburn is 12-1 and SEC champion in one of college football’s greatest turnarounds.

Having entered the day at No. 3 in the Bowl Championship Series standings, the Tigers look to notch into the top two after BCS No. 2 Ohio State lost 34-24 to Michigan State in Saturday's Big Ten final. Auburn will likely No. 1 Florida State in the BCS final Jan. 6 in Pasadena, Calif.
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