Run game fuels Auburn’s amazing turnaround

Tre Mason has scored 14 touchdowns to help lead Auburn to an 8-1 record, after winning three games in 2012. (Getty)

Tre Mason has scored 14 touchdowns to help lead Auburn to an 8-1 record, after winning three games in 2012. (Getty)

Full disclosure here: I thought Auburn might win five games this year.

Five, if they managed to beat Tennessee or Mississippi State, in addition to sure wins against Washington State, Arkansas State, Western Carolina and Florida Atlantic.

I never thought the Tigers would not only beat Mississippi State, but also Ole Miss, Texas A&M and Arkansas, and should be favored at Tennessee and at home vs. Georgia.

That would give Auburn a record of 11-1 heading into the Iron Bowl against what could be an undefeated Alabama team on the hunt for its fourth national title in five years.

It’s amazing to think how far Auburn has come since last year, when the Tigers won three games, went winless in the SEC and were shut out in the final two SEC games.

Out goes Gene Chizik. In comes Gus Malzahn.

Malzahn has worked miracles with the program.

The Tigers are 8-1. They shocked Johnny Manziel and his Texas A&M buddies. They were efficient in victories over other SEC teams during their five-game win streak. And they’re poised for one of the biggest one-year turnarounds in SEC history.

“I’m just proud of the guys,” Malzahn said Saturday. “They play together, they do what the coaches ask, they play for each other. And they’re finding ways to win.”

Auburn wins with a simple formula: Run the football. A lot.

Tre Mason was selected as the SEC’s offensive player of the week after running for 168 yards and four TDs in the win over Arkansas. He’s third in the SEC with 921 yards rushing and leads non-kickers in scoring with 14 TDs.

QB Nick Marshall has 520 yards rushing and Cameron Artis-Payne has 515 to help Auburn lead the conference with 306.2 yards rushing.

“Our key is our mindset,” Mason told AL.com Saturday. “We’re going to pound it down their throat, and you got to try to stop it. And if you don’t, you got to like it.”

33 comments Add your comment

Hollywould

November 4th, 2013
1:06 pm

War Eagle!! I was with you on the 5 wins. Still a year away but nice to be competitive again.

GTBob

November 4th, 2013
1:20 pm

They are a little better than I expected but they have been helped out by a pretty easy schedule. Either way, good for Gus on turning that thing in the right direction.

poopdawg

November 4th, 2013
1:49 pm

Auburn has won only 1 game that was surprising, Texas A&M. Big turn around but not ready to assume they will win the rest.

ATLTiger

November 4th, 2013
2:22 pm

Considering where the Tigers were last year this is quite a turnaround considering that it is the same nucleus of players. Their schedule is comparable to shedules of other SEC teams so I would consider 8-1 a success. Possible final record of 9-3, which is better than the 8-4 that I was hoping for!! With Chizik that record would not have been possible.

ftadawgs

November 4th, 2013
2:43 pm

F**k the redneck “DAWGGGGSSS” F’ing inbreds…..

jim bob

November 4th, 2013
3:00 pm

The better story would be how much did the Auburn faithful pay for Nick Marshall and what SEC felon kicked off another a school’s team will be added to Auburn’s roster too play qb? Auburn represents everything that is wrong with college football, they need and hopefully will soon get the “death penalty” concerning the Cam “laptop” Newton incident.

Hollywould

November 4th, 2013
3:40 pm

Death penalty for LAPTOP. Idioit, that happened at Florida.

Leg Humpers

November 4th, 2013
4:23 pm

The bigger surprise was last year. Not the “turn around” this year. The team was not devoid of talent it was devoid of coaching and leadership.

Class of '98

November 4th, 2013
4:37 pm

This is why we love college football. in August,who would have thought Auburn would be so good? Who would have thought UGA would have beaten South Carolina, LSU and Florida and be UNRANKED?!?!

UGA and Auburn are 54-54-8 all-time. It’s time for the Dawgs to lead the series for the first time in a long time.

Sic em.

george

November 4th, 2013
6:45 pm

jim bob. you are a complete and utter idiot. I know it is tough to do but look at the FACTS and you will see how idiotic you are. Poop dawg- is that a joke? Vegas had auburn as an underdog for EVERY sec game at the start of the year.

george

November 4th, 2013
6:47 pm

gt bob. look at your own schedule then we can talk about easy.

george

November 4th, 2013
6:49 pm

Hollywood- you are exactly right with almost all skill positions returning auburn should be very stout next year. However, the schedule is BRUTAL. Think next years team will be considerably better but may have a worse record than this year.

poopdawg

November 4th, 2013
8:00 pm

George , no that was not a joke . Auburn should be no worst than a 2 loss team. Congrats on A&M but the rest the tigers should have won. Miss st should have beaten AU and did except the last drive by auburn. Get over it !

bitter?

November 4th, 2013
10:11 pm

fecaldawg, it sounds like it’s you who needs to get over it. You can’t stand that Auburn is having another of it’s underdog cinderella seasons, while Ga has yet another of it’s many cinderella seasons.. You know, the part of the story where she has sold herself as this beautiful woman in the preseason, The clock strikes midnight and she turns into her scrubby self again while the rest of the party-goers are nearing the climax of the party. Don’t worry, we’ll enjoy the end of the party while Ga fights for a December bowl.

bitter?

November 4th, 2013
10:14 pm

leghumpers would lose to almost every team in the West btw

RTR MFers

TigerTunes

November 4th, 2013
11:44 pm

Auburn 45, leghumpers 24

A glorious day for the men from the loveliest village.

jim bob

November 5th, 2013
6:38 am

If Autisticburn is winning you know there cheating again down there on the “lovely ghetto on the plains” Just need one slip up to connect Rev Newton’s remodel to Autisticburn’s slush fund and it will be death penalty!!!!
It couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch!!!

Bo over the top

November 5th, 2013
7:29 am

GTBob……pretty easy sch. AU is not in the ACC. You might want to count the rank teams we play. dufus

tiger7_88

November 5th, 2013
8:22 am

Some good comments in here (Leg Humpers, Class of ‘98), but also sooooooo much stupid… lol. Oh, and Andy? No problem underestimating Auburn. We all understand that such an attitude is programmed into the sports journalists at the AJC.

tide roll

November 5th, 2013
9:52 am

Defenses having to deal with the threat of Nick Marshall at Quarterback is the reason Auburn’s running game goes. Marshall is the catalyst for that, and Auburn’s amazing turnaround.

When is the AJC going to address what UGA, Richt and Bobo truly represent?

Cam Newton’s a tight end. Because Marshall wants to play basketball, he can’t play Quarterback.

The best high school quarterback in AMERICA, Deshaun Watson, from Gainesville, Ga. is headed to Clemson.

LSU’s soon to be starter at Quarterback, Anthony Jennings, whose ‘father played at UGA, and whose mother attended here as well, is from Marietta,

Tennessee’s future at quarterback, Josh Dobbs, starred at Alpharetta High,

Vanderbilt, the team the kicked UGA’s butt, will start Creekside’s Jonathan McCrary, whose father Greg, played for the Falcons, and whose uncle is the Director of Athletics for DeKalb County high schools.

And URBAN Meyer, who kicked UGA’s butt while at Florida, will sign only one Quarterback this year for Ohio
State, and it happens to be Stephen Collier, from of all places Lee County, GEORGIA!

Notice a pattern here? UGA should be ashamed and brought to task for this embarrassing pattern.

But until the media, such as the AJC, exposes Richt, Bobo, and the athletic board for what’s truly going on here, nothing will change.

You think that little yes man AD, McGarity, is going to take steps to rectify things? Yeah right. Hell, he’s all for it.

What a football program. What is

it now, 35 years since a National title?

With the attitude that prevails at UGA. they deserve every one of them.

Dman

November 5th, 2013
10:01 am

Enjoy it before you play UGA and Bama…

Billy

November 5th, 2013
11:09 am

Ellis Johnson. Enough said.

Desert Fox

November 5th, 2013
12:24 pm

With all the injuries to GA’s offense and the woes on defense (can’t stop the run) it looks like this game may be a repeat of last years smack down in Columbia SC for the dawgs when they play AU in J-H stadium. CTG can’t find the answer w/the bend and snap defense he plays. The guys up front do a decent job but the ends are always open and no one seems to be able to contain. AU running game will control the clock and tempo unless CTG plays close to the line of scrimmage. If he can it’ll be up to GA’s CB’s to do the rest. Maybe w/some help from the D, AM and the rest of the walking wounded can pull this one out. go dawgs.

Dawg

November 5th, 2013
12:57 pm

Tide Roll, what pattern are you talking about. Just say what you want to say and stop skating around what ever issue you’re talking about. If you think QB issues this year or for that last 3 are the reasons why UGA hasn’t won a NC then you are an IDIOT! In the last 10 years, UGA has had a QB that was the #1 pick in the draft and a QB that is breaking almost every SEC passing record. It isn’t a QB issue. By the way, Marshall didn’t play QB as a FR at UGA because he didn’t want to redshirt, he wanted to play right away and the only way for him to do that was as a DB. Also, McCrary went to Cedar Grove, not Creekside. A couple of those kids didn’t WANT to go to UGA even though they were offered by the Dawgs because they knew they weren’t going to play ahead of Murray. So, 1) get your facts right 2) stop trying to make it a black/white thing.

Dave

November 5th, 2013
1:22 pm

UGA – all the injuries? That is what all those top 5 recruiting classes are for. FYI – if Auburn loses its top two running backs, we are 2 more 4 star recruits backing them up.

george

November 5th, 2013
3:06 pm

poopdawg- every time you open your mouth you make yourself sound like more of an idiot

Getting Older

November 5th, 2013
4:27 pm

I think the UGA/Auburn game should be a fantastic game, assuming Gurley is still healthy. I agree with some of the above, who said that Auburn’s schedule hasn’t been exceedingly tough to this point. The win over Tx A&M was good, Ole Miss also, but the others aren’t anything special. (And I know their last recruiting class was really special, but when you start crowing about beating Ole Miss…) UGA’s defense has been terrible all year, but when healthy, the offense can score enough to keep them in most any game. This should be a fun game with lots of scoring on both sides.

TigerTunes

November 6th, 2013
8:07 am

Auburn is plenty good enough to take down the leghumpers this year, Girly or no Girly. Their defenders are salivating over the prospects of picking off a few of Murry’s errant passes and fumbles.

GO TIGERS!

[...] Run game fuels Auburn’s amazing turnaround [...]

DAWGS RULE

November 7th, 2013
2:00 am

WHAT YOU GONNA DO AUBURN WHEN GURLEY AND THE DAWGS RUN ALL OVER YOU !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bo over the top

November 7th, 2013
7:24 am

We will do like Vandy and WIN!!!!!!!

[...] Run game fuels Auburn’s amazing turnaround [...]

Clarisse Dubois

November 15th, 2013
8:02 am

Auburn will hang at least 50 points on Georgia. It’s going to be a very long game for the Preacher Man’s minions.