Auburn Tigers Control Own Destiny in SEC West

By Tim Letcher

The Auburn Tigers closed out the road portion of their schedule on Saturday, beating the Tennessee Volunteers 55-23 in Knoxville. Quarterback Nick Marshall had another big game for Auburn, which controls its own destiny in the Southeastern Conference‘s Western Division.

That being said, the last two games will not be easy for Gus Malzahn and his team. Auburn hosts the Georgia Bulldogs this weekend, and Georgia seems to be getting healthier each week. Todd Gurley is now back for UGA, and quarterback Aaron Murray is always dangerous.

Should Auburn get through Georgia, they will have a week off to prepare for their arch rivals, the Alabama Crimson Tide. The Iron Bowl, as the game is known, will be played at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 23. If both Auburn and Alabama keep winning, that game will decide the SEC West.

Malzahn has done a masterful job with the Tigers in his first year as head coach. He has seen success at Auburn before, as he was the offensive coordinator for the 2010 BCS National Champion Tigers, who had a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback in Cam Newton.

Auburn is beating teams with the ground game this season. Running back Tre Mason is one of the more underrated backs in the SEC, having rushed for 1,038 yards so far this season. That’s second to only Mike Davis of the South Carolina Gamecocks in number of rushing yards.

But it’s not only Mason that’s gaining big yards on the ground. Marshall, from the quarterback position, has rushed for 734 yards, while Cameron Artis-Payne has 568 yards rushing, and Corey Grant has 504.

If Auburn can continue to put up huge numbers in the running game, it will be interesting to see how they fare in their final two contests against SEC heavyweights.

Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.


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