ATLANTA -- Auburn ran over a Missouri team on Saturday and in doing so assured the SEC of a chance to win an eighth straight BCS Championship.
It was quite a scene at the Georgia Dome with the crowd likely 70-30 for the Auburn Tigers. I thought Missouri hung in there and in the third quarter the game was definitely in doubt. However the Malzahn offense is running like a well-oiled machine and the Tigers from the East had no answers.
Much will be written about tempo, Tre Mason and Nick Marshall. But for me, I left the Georgia Dome impressed with the Tigers offensive line. This group has no seniors and its conditioning is equal to a high-level track team. It starts in the middle with Reese Dismukes and just filters out to the best run-blocking tackle in the league in Greg Robinson. This group has no seniors in the two deep which is a scary thought for 2014.
Auburn now has its third SEC title since 2004, more than any other school in the league during that time span.
The beauty of Gus Malzahn’s offense is that it features everything players enjoy doing the most. I mentioned the offensive line and how impressed I was with it. Think about what lineman truly like to do: Run block. And in this system the line gets a lot of one-on-one battles and right now Auburn is winning them.
From a running back’s perspective you have to love this read-offense because if it’s done right by the quarterback you will always have the ball in space with a chance to make a guy miss on the second level. The quarterback is what makes the offense tick and Marshall has a natural ability to read the mesh point with Mason and make it work. He has tremendous athletic ability and combines that with his speed and he is a big-play weapon.
Finally you say, what is the benefit of the receivers? Well they have to be unselfish and block, but they get one-on-one matchups all day which is why Sammy Coates leads the nation in yards per catch. I also think Marshall has become a better passer and that development has just added to the defensive coach’s nightmares.
I would be remiss if I did not give a tip of the cap to Missouri. The Tigers hung in there, especially when it was 28-20 and looked like things were going sideways in the third quarter. Missouri had 42 points and 534 yards and still lost by 17.
Dorial Green Beckham is a legit All-American candidate for next season and this offense will still be one that needs to be dealt sternly with in 2014. James Franklin will move on but Maty Mauk showed he can play in the SEC. I wonder about the Missouri defense which had been very impressive all season. This just might have come down to a “style” match up and they don’t match up against Auburn’s run game.
Henry Josey is the best story in the SEC and his 123 yards and going over 1,000 yards for the season should not be forgotten. I think the Tigers have a lot to be proud of and let’s see if they can defend their title in 2014.
This and That
- The question to ponder over the next month is: How do you stop Auburn? In my opinion you better have a salty nose guard that can create penetration. FSU has a great tackle in Timmy Jernigan and that match up with Reese Dismukes will be a “game within a game.”
- Nick Marshall only attempted 11 passes which was an SEC Championship Game low.
- Auburn finished the season with 11 scoring drives of less than one minute.
The three best non-BCS bowls involving SEC Teams:
- South Carolina vs. Wisconsin - Capital One Bowl
- Missouri vs. Oklahoma State – Cotton Bowl
- Ole Miss vs. GA Tech - Music City Bowl