Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Sports

Auburn outguns Mizzou

ATLANTA — If offense was the only requirement, Auburn would have been be a shoo-in for the BCS title game. But even with a shaky defense, it will be there.

Tre Mason rushed for 304 yards and four touchdowns, leading No. 3 Auburn to a 59-42 victory over No. 5 Missouri in Saturday's SEC title game that looked more like a video game.

"You're looking at one of the top running backs in college football," Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. "He was a warrior; unbelievable."

The win combined with Ohio State's loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten title game put Auburn in the BCS title game.

"We won the SEC championship," receiver Sammie Coates said before the Big Ten title game. "What else do you want us to do?"

Mason had scoring runs of 7, 3 and 1 yards before bursting up the middle on a 13-yard score that clinched the victory with 4:22 left. He carried the ball 46 times in being named the game's MVP and had 195 yards at halftime — 6 off of the title game record.

"I've never had holes that big to run through," Mason said. "No one expected 300 yards."

In a game in which both teams barely played defense, Auburn (12-1) finally stopped Missouri (11-2) on fourth and 1, setting up Mason's final score. Chris Davis broke up the pass. It wasn't quite as thrilling as his 109-yard return of a missed field goal to beat Alabama last week or Ricardo Louis' last-minute deflected touchdown catch to beat Georgia the game before, but another huge play for the nation's biggest turnaround team.

Auburn, which was 3-9 a year ago and didn't win a game in the SEC, claimed the title in its first season under Malzahn.

"We're playing our best football right now," Malzahn said.

Missouri had its own bounce-back after going 5-7 overall and 2-6 in its first season in the SEC. But coach Gary Pinkel's team was denied a title in its new league after leaving the Big 12, unable to slow — must less stop — Auburn's dynamic offense.

"There's a real frustration that comes over you on defense when they're coming after you over and over and over again," Pinkel said. "We had trouble stopping it, obviously, and couldn't get it fixed."

James Franklin passed for 303 yards and three touchdowns for Missouri while Dorial Green-Beckham hauled in six passes for 144 yards and two scores. Missouri piled up 534 yards — the teams combined for 1,211 yards in a conference supposedly known for defense — but it wasn't nearly enough against Auburn's hurry-up spread.

Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall shook off two early fumbles, one of which Missouri returned for a touchdown. He ran for 101 yards and a touchdown and passed for 132 yards and another score.

The lead changed hands seven times. Missouri's last gasp was Franklin's 5-yard touchdown run followed by his two-point conversion run that closed the gap to 45-42 heading to the fourth. But Auburn dominated the final 15 minutes behind Mason.

Late in the game, when Auburn had finally wrapped it up, Mason got a hug on the sideline from Auburn's greatest back, Bo Jackson.

"He's one of the better players ever to wear an Auburn helmet," Malzahn said, referring to Mason, not Bo.

Said Mason: "Thanks, Coach."

Comments
Holiday hoops tournaments for Tampa Bay

Holiday hoops tournaments for Tampa Bay

Once winter break rolls around, basketball tourneys and shootouts amp up. Here are the locals ones coming up throughout Tampa Bay. Are we missing your tournament? Email details to [email protected] basketballCDS Holiday TournamentWhere: Car...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Girls soccer: Land O’Lakes 5, River Ridge 1

LAND O'LAKES – They might not have been ready to play at the very start, but Land O'Lakes came around. Sydny Nasello scored two goals as the Gators (8-2) took over first place in Class 3A, District 8 with a 5-1 defeat of visiting Rive...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 2

Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 2

The Rays have talked about a lot of things but not done much so far at the winter meetings, but that could change today.They have offers on the table for closer Alex Colome, and some of the interested teams – such as the Cardinals and Rockies &...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Warren Sapp accused of harassment; NFL Network suspends three analysts over sexual assault allegations

Warren Sapp accused of harassment; NFL Network suspends three analysts over sexual assault allegations

Warren Sapp, a former Buc and Pro Football Hall of Famer, has been accused of sexual harassment while working as an analyst with NFL Network, according to a lawsuit.NFL Network has suspended analysts Marshall Faulk, Heath Evans and Ike Taylor "pendin...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Could the Yankees’ new Death Star prompt a Rays surrender?

Could the Yankees’ new Death Star prompt a Rays surrender?

I have a theory that Major League Baseball is always way more interesting when the New York Yankees are good.Well, the Yankees got way better in the past few days.But baseball didn’t get more interesting. It got way worse.And it could get worse in Ta...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rick and Tom podcast: Piling on Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter

Rick and Tom podcast: Piling on Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter

Is there a rift between Jameis Winston and Dirk Koetter as the 4-9 Bucs are eliminated from the playoffs for a 10th straight season?In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones discuss what impact this has going forward for the Bucs and whether...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Tyre McCants, USF’s brawny bruiser of a receiver

Tyre McCants, USF’s brawny bruiser of a receiver

TAMPA — Having spent 11 games watching Tyre McCants in the flesh — all 236 pounds of it — USF coach Charlie Strong seems convinced his team’s leading receiver down the stretch could be someone’s leading rusher down the road."I think he can do a whole...
Updated: 3 hours ago
MLB ump Dale Scott retires rather than risk more concussions

MLB ump Dale Scott retires rather than risk more concussions

LAKE BUENA VISTA — As a big league umpire, Dale Scott saw maybe 1 million pitches from the field. His final call, it turned out, was the easiest of all. Rather than risk yet another concussion, Scott has decided to retire at 58. "I’m done," he told T...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Explosives? On 40-yard plays, Bucs among NFL’s worst

Explosives? On 40-yard plays, Bucs among NFL’s worst

Bucs coach Dirk Koetter has key statistics that he puts great value in, finding a close correlation between success in those areas and success on the scoreboard. Winning the takeaway battle is always first among those priorities, but he and his staff...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Eagles confirm QB Wentz is done for season

Eagles confirm QB Wentz is done for season

PHILADELPHIA — Carson Wentz got the Eagles this far. Now, it’s up to Nick Foles to deliver Philadelphia its first Super Bowl title. Wentz has a torn left ACL and will miss the rest of the season and playoffs, forcing the NFC East champions to turn to...
Published: 12/11/17