Auburn defeated Missouri 59-42 to win the SEC Championship Saturday in Georgia. The Auburn victory was cemented late in the fourth quarter and, unlike the previous two games against SEC opponents, didn’t require any last-minute miracles.
Tre Mason was the catalyst for the offense. Mason ran the ball an Auburn-record 46 times for an SEC Championship-record 304 yards and four touchdowns. Mason’s record game on the ground added to the 545 total yards rushing for the night, 11 yards more than Missouri had in total offense.
Missouri, 11-2, was second in the Southeastern Conference in yards rushing allowed. That’s not the case anymore.
The game was close in the middle of the fourth quarter; Auburn led 45-42 before orchestrating a 68-yard drive to score on a 1-yard run by Mason. Missouri would then fail to convert a fourth-and-one from their own 13-yard line. Auburn would later punch it in for the final score.
The two teams traded blows early in the game, including a last-minute Missouri touchdown before halftime to put them within one 28-27. However, head coach Gus Malzahn, who agreed to a contract extension the night before the game, put the faith of his team to the test by calling for an onside kick in the first half and stuck with the running game that was so effective all night.
Auburn is now in a comfortable position to make a case for the BCS National Championship Game. At 12-1 with the most top-10 wins, top-25 wins and wins over bowl-eligible opponents, the Tigers have an impressive resume that will look better if Ohio State or Florida State lose their title games.
Sit tight, folks. It’s going to be a week full of debate.