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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Auburn Football: Oh What A Year

The big news of 2013 was Auburn Football

 

As we know, the greatest turn around in college football has come to an end. We witnessed remarkable miracles and amazing plays all year long, and for the rest of the Auburn fans, we will never forget this season. Although we will never forget the previous year, this years finish we won't forget because the orange and blue faithful have hope again. We believe we can win. We believe we are back where we were in 2010 and back when Tommy Tuberville ruled most of the SEC, especially Alabama. Gus Malzahn has instilled hope back into the football program and it is clear to see what is to come. The greatest turnaround may be over, but what is to follow will be something no one would have bet on when Auburn finished 3-9 in 2012.



Remembering the Good Times:


As stated, this year has been on of the best years of offense Auburn has had in recent years. Destruction on the ground lead by Nick Marshall and Tre Mason. Mason broke records on his way through his last year as a Tiger and made it an even more hot spot for future recruits who want to be a part of what the Tigers are doing. This year has given us moments of joy and happiness. Here are a few key things about this past year I will never forget.


My Top 10 Moments of the 2013 Season:


10.  Breaking the Streak: Auburn broke the streak of consecutive SEC losses. It was a really good feeling seeing these players and coaches take a step in the right direction after an abysmal year. Beating Mississippi State at Jordan-Hare was a big deal to me and I'm sure it was to a ton of fans as well. With Auburn losing in the game, these Tigers never gave up and finished with heart. Auburn Tigers 3-9 (0-8)


9. Best in the West: After Auburn had won the title in 2010, the steep decline in the Western Division of the SEC was very hard to bear for most fans. With Alabama, LSU, and Texas A & M all dominating, Auburn wasn't even really a treat to take on either of those teams. For Auburn to get through a tough schedule actually take down Alabama and Texas A & M in the same season was pretty inspiring. After Dee Ford pulled Johnny Manziel to the ground to end that game, I knew this team could out score almost everyone. Finishing higher and winning the division over those teams was a great feeling. Season Highlights Plowing Through the SEC


8. SEC Championship: After getting destroyed by Texas A&M, Georgia, and Alabama last season, I predicted Auburn to win 8 games, not including the bowl game. For the Tigers to win the West and be in an SEC Championship above those other proven, dominant teams made me think "Did they really just run the table after LSU?". Yes, yes they did and to beat the #1 team in the nation to get there made it even more special. Not only getting there was a big part of this season, they won. Beating another top 5 team in the process. Missouri hadn't really been stopped all year and if it had not have been for Conner Shaw, Mizzou might have been the #2 in the nation coming into the game. scoring 59 points against the second best Defense in the SEC was a pretty amazing feat. Not to mention that Auburn ran for 545 yards! The 304 yard performance from Tre Mason boosted him into the Heisman race and landed him a seat in New York for the presentation. Just wow. 2013 SEC Championship Highlights


7. Freshman Dominating: Jeremy Johnson, Carl Lawson, Montravius Adams, Marcus Davis, Alex Kozan and more had an instant impact in this years game plan. Carl Lawson and Monty Adams played on the D-Line al year long and showed their 5* potential and raw talent early. Jeremy Johnson was the SEC Freshman of the week every time he had to fill in for Marshall. Marcus Davis made clutch catches throughout the year even though he made some big drops. And Kozan played on Auburn's O-Line that lead the nation in rushing. Every Freshman, redshirted or not, made a big impact on and off the field. After they way talent had not been molded in the previous year, it was really good and important for Freshman to play and play like veteran players. Great job Coach.


6. The First BIG Play: The first time all year that made all of us jump out of our seats was when Auburn trailed Mississippi State. Auburn took over on the 12 yard line with 1:56 to go. Marshall hit Marcus Davis 4 times on the final drive before hitting CJ Uzomah in the corner of the endzone with 10 seconds left to beat Miss St. at Jordan-Hare to get the first SEC win of the year. Auburn-Mississippi State Highlights


5. Nick Marshall: This isn't really a moment, but one of the most important things about this team. Nick Marshall came into an offense that couldn't pass or score hardly at all last year. He moved from DB at Georgia to a JUCO QB, then to the starting QB at an SEC school who needed a QB badly. He didn't just make al of Auburn proud of him, I found myself saying multiple times throughout the year "I believe in Marshall, I believe in Malzahn". There is no doubt that Nick Marshall has been a big factor for the Tigers and would not have been in the BCS Championship game without him. Nick Marshall Highlights 2013


4. "Manziel Goes Down!": Johnny Manziel made Auburn look like a JUCO team when Texas A&M throttled Auburn in 2012. After Manziel won the Heisman, more allegations and off the field incidents arose for him. Before this year, He seemed as if he had a reckless, I don't care attitude that came off arrogant and something most people didn't respect. But Manziel redeemed himself this past year, he seemed more humble and took responsibility for his actions. That or not, Auburn went back and forth with A&M all game. In the 4th Quarter, both teams traded the lead multiple times. But when Tre Mason put the dagger in A&M with a 5 yard TD run with 1:19 left in the game. Manziel had one more chance. He moved the ball all the way to the Auburn 18. Dee Ford sacked Manziel two times and Manziel was stopped on 3rd down to beat A&M at Kyle Field. Auburn-Texas A&M Highlights


3. Tre Mason's Extraordinary Year: Tre Mason played his heart out on a losing team last year. There wasn't any question that coming into this year he was the offensive leader for this team. In 2012, Mason rushed for 1,002 yards and 8 TDs on the year. In 2013, Mason set many records by rushing for 1,816 and 23 Rushing TDs, not including the 195 and TD in the Championship Game against FSU. And as stated above for moment 8 on my list, Mason rushed for 304 yards and 4 TDs against the SECs second best Defense after putting up 164 against the SECs best Defense, Alabama. Mason broke records in the SEC Championship game, and throughout the year he broke several Bo Jackson records. Simply amazing. Tre Mason 2013 Highlights


2. The Prayer at Jordan-Hare: After leading Georgia all game, Aaron Murray and the Bulldogs made a push and actually took the lead with 1:56 left in the game. Auburn had been in this situation before, A&M, Miss State, Alabama, so if there was going to be a miracle, it was possible. After one first down, Auburn had 2 negative plays and an incompletion. On 4th and 18, with 36 seconds left, Marshall stayed in the pocket and rocketed it to Ricardo Louis. The pass bounced off a UGA defender perfectly and the rest is history. As long as I live, I'll never forget watching this play happen. "Louis caught it, Louis caught it!". Chills. Auburn-Georgia Highlights


1. Iron Bowl/Kick Six: What could be better than that? I'm sure you know the answer already. When Alabama destroyed Auburn 49-0 the previous year, It was important for Auburn to not give up and play a great game to beat the #1 team and much hated Alabama. Auburn struck first and I knew it would be a good one. My wife and I actually sat in the Alabama section (She is a Semi-Bama fan) and when McCarron hit the 99 yard pass my heart dropped, but posed with the same situation as normal, Auburn losing, had another chance to make a 4th Quarter comeback, as they have throughout the year. Auburn took over with 2:32 left in the game down 28-21. After 6 consecutive carries by Mason, Marshall ran the read option, kept it, ran left and right at the line he pulled up after a Bama defender bit on the run and hot Sammie Coates for the TD to tie the game with 32 seconds left. Alabama had one last shot or the game would go into overtime. McCarron moved the ball down to the Auburn 39 yard line. As Yeldon ran out of bounds the clock hit 0:00. One of the best Iron Bowls EVER would be defined in OT. What a fitting way to end the regular season. Wait? Saban is on the field? One second left? After a review Alabama would have one last shot and as long as I live, this WILL be my number one moment in Auburn history. When Chris Davis crossed the goal line on our side to beat Alabama after the missed field goal, I'll never forget the rush and happiness of what happened in front of my eyes. Being on the field with all of the Auburn faithful was an amazing feeling! "There goes Davis!Davis is gonna run it all the way back!", I can still hear the call as I close my eyes and imagine it all over again. Chasing Him Forever Kick Six


So What's Next: With Auburn returning 9 players on offense, the future looks bright. Also with most players on defense returning, Auburn will have the most experienced team in the SEC. The heavy hitters such as Alabama, LSU, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas A&M, and Missouri are all losing their QBs, leaving Auburn the most experienced at that position. After an amazing year, the Tigers should use last season as a motivator. Getting that close and losing has to burn deep. I can only imagine how much more focused these players will be coming into next year. And for Nick Marshall? After making the switch to QB only a year ago and missing spring practices, this season was great for someone who hasn't developed fully. Expect Marshall to be more accurate and efficient in his senior season next year.


With NSD coming up Auburn is looking to bring in another top class. You can check below, but these guys coming in will be one great offensive class. Here is the commit list thanks to Rivals.com. 2014 Auburn Recruiting Class (as of Jan 11)


All videos on the page are via YouTube. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @austin_preiss19 for more Auburn, SEC, and much more. I will still bring you Auburn recruiting and plenty more AU Hoops. WAR EAGLE!!

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