Auburn running back Tre Mason flew under the radar last season when he rushed for 1,002 yards and eight touchdowns because the team struggled so mightily. However, even with Auburn already bowl-eligible and ranked No. 11 in the nation entering Saturday’s game, the spotlight has yet to shine on the junior from Palm Beach, Fla.
Mason had two touchdowns and 93 yards at halftime at Arkansas en route to his fourth 100-yard game in the last six games for the Tigers. He finished with 168 yards on a career-high 32 carries and four touchdowns in Auburn’s 35-17 win, and maybe now more people will start appreciate and recognize the special season he is putting together on the Plains.
In a conference loaded with great running backs like Jeremy Hill, Todd Gurley, T.J. Yeldon, Mike Davis and the two on the opposing sideline Saturday night, Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams, it’s Mason who gets lost in the shuffle. Much of the attention on this year’s Auburn team has been directed at first-year head coach Gus Malzahn, and rightfully so after the mess he inherited from Gene Chizik a year ago.
One of the lone bright spots on last year’s three-win team that was shutout in the SEC was Mason, who was the only constant on one of the nation’s worst offenses. Auburn leads the SEC in rushing and their 315.4 yards per game rank fifth in the nation, but how many people outside of Auburn or SEC country could tell you who is behind that success?
Mason is not the sole reason why Auburn has experienced a renaissance this season, but they certainly would not be where they are without him. In fact, his 178 yards on a whopping 27 carries was the reason why Auburn was able to win at Texas A&M. The ball control offense by Auburn kept Johnny Manziel and the potent Aggies offense on the sideline long enough for Auburn to ride Mason to the road upset and give Malzahn a signature win.
Auburn is used to flying under the radar, but it will be hard for Mason to fly under the radar any longer with Auburn continuing to rack up wins.
Patrick’s a college football writer for Rant Sports and radio host on Sportstownchicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt and Google and email him at SchmidtPatrick@gmail.com for media inquiries.