Jason Caldwell writes about Tre Mason, Nick Marshall and the 2013 Auburn football team's focus on…
With Mason leading the way with an average of 102.3 yards per game, the Tigers are leading the SEC in rushing at 306.2 yards per contest, which ranks No. 6 nationally.
Mason carried the football a career-high 32 times vs. the Razorbacks and scored on runs of nine, four, five and 12 yards as the Tigers improved their record to 8-1 overall and 4-1 in league play.
The junior noted that the victory in Fayetteville was one he and his teammates enjoyed. "Our coaching staff has a lot of ties with Arkansas and it was a statement game--we had to make a statement for the coaches with our play so we just continue to get better every week," he said.
With Mason a key factor the Tigers lead the SEC in red zone offense converting on 89.2 percent of those opportunities with 27 touchdowns and six field goals.
Asked what makes the Tigers effective when they get into scoring territory, Mason said, "We try to be the best offense in America. Every time we touch the ball we try to score.
"I know when we get down to the end zone we are going to play hard-nosed football and punch it in. We have been pretty consistent at that and we are going to continue to do that."
His final touchdown of the night vs. the Razorbacks came on an interesting call. On a third down and 10 play at the 12 the running back scored on a smoke draw play in what would normally be a passing situation.
"My O-line they did their job," Mason pointed out. "They blocked them all one way and I ran the other. I felt like Coach had a lot of trust in me to put the ball in my hands and make something happen.
"I have a little slogan and it is called GUMP," the junior added. "A lot of guys from Florida know what it means. It is called Great Under Major Pressure. When the game is on the line you have to be the one to make that play."
Mason now has 2,084 career rushing yards, moving into a tie on the Auburn all-time rushing list with James Bostic (1991-93). In the process Mason passed Secdrick McIntyre (1,916 from 1973-76) and Lionel James (2,068 from 1980-83).
The junior topped the 100-yard mark for the fourth time this season and seventh time as an Auburn football player. His 13 rushing TDs in 2013 rank seventh on the AU all-time single-season list and are the most for a running back since Kenny Irons finished with 13 in 2005. They are the most for any player since Cam Newton finished with 20 rushing scores in 2010.