Monday, December 9, 2013
Sunday, December 8, 2013
It's completely amazing at how College Football has played out this year. It really has been breathtaking and magical. I am a HUGE Auburn supporter, but if you put any teams name beside what Auburn has been able to do it would still be simply amazing. Last second catches to beat Mississippi State, "The Prayer in Jordan-Hare" to beat a bitter rival in Georgia, and the "Kick Six" that beat the #1 Crimson Tide, on what will be remembered as possibly the best College Football finish ever, and the destruction of #5 Missouri's rush defense. After its all said and done, NO ONE in their right mind would have Auburn at 12-1, with and SEC Championship, heading to the BCS Championship Game. But here we are on December 8, 2013, and #3 Auburn posts 677 total yards and 545 of those rushing yards, 304 by Tre Mason alone, against the #5 Missouri Tigers in the SEC Championship. But more on him in a little bit. Ohio State played their first top ten team in a long time and Michigan State came out on top knocking off the second ranked Buckeyes. What does this mean? It means that the team who went 3-9 overall and 0-8 in the SEC last year is more than likely playing for the BCS Championship in Pasadena on January 6th.
(Photo by http://www.ajc.com/staff/hyosub-shin/)
Against Mizzou, Auburn ran early and often. Finishing with 282 at the half. Missouri came into this game only allowing 119 PER GAME. Meanwhile, Nick Marshall decided he wanted to throw as well. He hit Sammie Coates on the first three passes of the game with a TD. Coates ended with 6 catches and 94 out of Auburn's 132 passing. But back to the work horse. Mason, in the first half, had 195 yards in the first half, on what turned out to be the final push for the Heisman Trophy. He broke, the legend, Bo Jackson's school record for single season all purpose yards with 2,137, Bo had 1,859. Mason broke, Heisman winner and first overall pick in the NFL Draft, Cam Newton's single season rushing TD record with 22. Cam had 20 TD runs in 2010. He also carried the ball 46 times which broke Cadillac Williams and Michael Dyers previous record. Another record, most rushing yards in an SEC Championship Game set in 2003 by LSU's Justin Vincent (201). But to look at the past 4 Heisman winners. Three of the, Manziel, Newton, and Ingram, all lead the SEC in most rushing categories. Manziel also passed the ball, but he had 1,181 rushing yards with 19 TDs. Newton had 1,473 rushing yards with 20 TDs. Ingram had 1,658 rushing yards and 18 TDs. This year Tre Mason has ran the ball for 1,621 yards and has 22 TDs, ALONG SIDE of Nick Marshall who has 1,023 rushing yards, which is 8th in the entire SEC, and 11 TDs, only 3 TDs behind the second leading rushing TDs in the SEC. Also shares the ball with Cameron Artis-Payne and Corey Grant, when combined, have 12 rushing TDs and 1,059 yards. No one on this Earth can disagree with him being in New York for the trophy presentation and he should be given a fair chance to win. Back to the last three games for the Tigers. Top 25 opponent in Georgia, and two top 5 wins in consecutive weeks. Impressive as it is, Auburn now gets the #1 team in the Nation again, except this time, it will be for it all. A National Championship.
(Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Auburn finishes the final Associated Press Poll at #2 behind Florida State and one ahead of Alabama and is the same position in the Coaches Poll. Later today we will know the final BCS Standings and I will go over my Bowl Picks in a later blog. WAR EAGLE to all.
You can follow me on Twitter @austin_preiss19 for all Auburn, SEC, and many more topics. Feel free to comment and let me know what your opinion is.War Eagle!
Saturday, December 7, 2013
|Celebration! photo by: Tiffany Pyle|
I have to be totally honest, I never thought I would be writing this post, not this Fall. I had hopes of maybe writing it next December. We will now save that discussion for another time.
The Auburn Tigers came into this game as I had feared they would. Fresh off of an improbable victory the week before, the Tigers looked sloppy to start with. It wasn't until midway thru the second quarter that they got their act together, and started playing like they have the last seven games. Turnovers that came at a high cost, and the huge height advantage that Mizzou wide outs had over our DB's played out as was predicted early on.
The scoring started a little slow with a punt and a Field Goal to start the two first possessions. Then the Touchdown water faucet was turned on. It looked, for all intents and purposes, to be a Mountain West Conference game, for a while at least, trading Touchdown after precious Touchdown, until the calculators had to be brought out. Many records were broke this night. Tre Mason set new single season Auburn All-Purpose yardage record (2,137), and rushing Touchdown record (22).
Mason also set a new SEC Championship game rushing total with 304 yards on 46 carries. He was named MVP for his efforts.
Missouri's head football coach Gary Pinkel was asked during his post game press conference if he could tell people how to stop Auburn's run game. He stated simply that "I am the wrong person to ask, I'd have stopped it if I could have."
HIGHLIGHTS: courtesy of Auburn Athletics and AUHD
Many times the drives that Auburn wasn't successful on, and there weren't many, looked as if Auburn was the culprit more so than the Mizzou defense. That is not to talk lightly of the black and gold Tigers, it's that Auburn's run game was that effective.
Nick Marshall was very accurate in the passing game, and finished 9 of 11 with 132 yards a TD and zero interceptions. No pass was more critical than the first down slant pass to Trovon Reed. That pass play was set up by a fake WR screen, that was executed perfectly by Nick Marshal, and Sammie Coates. Reed made the catch, and it kept the go ahead drive alive.
Afterwards, Quan Bray was asked what the biggest difference was between this year's team, and the team from last year. "We were hungry. The best thing that probably happened to us was bringing Coach Russell back in. Coach Russell, he gets everything out of us."
This young team with just 16 Seniors, have made the biggest turn around in Auburn football history. From winless in conference play last season to the "Champions of the best football conference in America."
The storybook ending has yet to be wrote however, as the road was paved for Auburn to play in the BCS Championship game when Michigan State took down #2 Ohio State in the B1G Championship last night. The Auburn Tigers are expected to be ranked #2 in the country, and have a shot at the National Championship. The second time in 4 years. Do you believe in miracles?
Friday, December 6, 2013
|Scoring Offense||38.6 PPG||38.8 PPG|
|Rushing Offense||318.25 YPG||236.92 YPG|
|Passing Offensive||172.8 YPG||252.6 YPG|
|Total Offense||491 YPG||489.5 YPG|
|Scoring Defense||22.5 PPG||19.4 PPG|
|Rushing Defense||158.8 YPG||119.08 YPG|
|Passing Defense||255.7 YPG||266.3 YPG|
|Total Defense||414.3 YPG||385.4 YPG|
|3rd Down Offense||45.16% (70/155)||46.95% (77/164)|
|3rd Down Defense||35.23% (62/176)||36.51% (69/189)|
|Red Zone Offense||87.5% (40 TDs, 9 FGs)||88% (35 TDs, 9 FGs)|
|Red Zone Defense||70.45% (21 TDs, 10 FGs)||81.08% (19 TDs, 11 FGs)|
(Thanks to Jon Cooper at Saturday Down South for the chart
Auburn and Missouri have both turned heads in the SEC. Who would have guessed by this time last year that both teams would be number 3 and 5 respectively in the final BCS Standings? Auburn comes into the game off of two emotional final second victories and Mizzou have downed quality opponents in the past couple of weeks to keep their spot in the SEC Championship game.
What To Watch For
Missouri is a very balanced team. They have great receivers and two QBs in James Franklin and Maty Mauk that can step in an make play upon play. They can also run the ball. Missouri has 4 players over 500+ yards, like Auburn. Henry Josey leads the way with 988 yards and 13 TD. Another big factor in the in the SEC Championship game is the receivers for Mizzou. L'Damian Washington and Dorial Green-Beckham. they are both taller than 6'4 and are very physical. Marcus Lewis is there go to receiver between the 20's, but Washington and Green-Beckham always find the ball in the endzone and space. Missouri is 42nd in the country throwing the ball and 18th in the rush game.
Auburn is going to have to stay focused and disciplined. The pass rush for Missouri has harassed opposing QBs all season long. Michael Sam has 10.5 sacks and seems like he is always in the backfield every play. The DB play for Missouri has also been high. E.J. Gaines has 4 INTs on the year and always has a hand in plays that come his way. Kentrell Brothers and Braylon Webb are both very well at defending their assignments. All there are among the leading tacklers for this Mizzou team. This defense allows only 119.1 yards a game, which is 14th best in the country.
What I'm Expecting
This is going to be a very physical game in the trenches. Expect Auburn to run the ball over and over and over. Alabama's rush defense had only allowed fewer than 108( which is their current opp. rush yards a game) before they came into Jordan-Hare where Auburn racked up 296. For Missouri, Sam needs to be in the backfield and hitting Nick Marshall. Not many teams have successfully brought him down inside the pocket. So when Auburn does throw the ball, Sam and the rest of the line have to pressure. The DBs need to stay disciplined to their assignments because Auburn WILL run the read option. With Missouri's top tacklers being DBs, they are going to make plays in the open field to keep Auburn from having chunk plays. They will bring pressure from blitzes and different looks, but if Auburn stays focused, I see many yards in the rushing game.
A Few Predictions
Auburn will rush for over 250.
Nick Marshall is elusive and fast. Once he gets a lane not many people can catch him. Tre Mason and Corey Grant will have their yards. Tre touches the ball often and well.
Marshall will throw the ball.
Auburn's rushing success will allow Marshall to throw TD passes in this one. The key is to not force passes or take sacks in the process. Marshall-2 TD passes.
I can easily see both teams trying to do too much and having a turnover a piece. I understand that Missouri is 15+ in the turnover margin, but Auburn will play smart and both teams will have only one turnover a piece.
There will be points. Auburn and Missouri both rank among the top teams in scoring offense. With two QBs that can run, expect big rushing plays on either side and expect Missouri to throw the ball. Auburn's bend don't break philosophy is going to have to hold. Auburn's pass rush is very lethal. With the rotations and depth for Auburn, that can possibly pay dividends. This game is going to be close early. Auburn's offense and rushing will be the deciding factor. Missouri 28- Auburn 42 War Eagle!
Be sure to follow me on Twitter @austin_preiss19 for Auburn, SEC, and many other topics.