PHOTO: USA Today Sports
Auburn's Tre Mason has been a workhorse for the Tigers this season. He came into the SEC Championship Game as the SEC's leading rusher in terms of total yardage (1,317 yards), rushing TDs (18) and yards/game (109.75).
Even with those great stats, he was flying under the radar because of how Auburn was winning games. The Prayer at Jordan-Hare against Georgia and the missed FG return to beat Alabama were just better stories than talking about how Mason was having an outstanding season.
Mason got off to a slow start this season as the Tigers searched for their offense under new coach Gus Malzahn. Mason has really come into his own since the LSU game (where he had 132 yards) and he ran for 100 yards or more in 7 of 9 games to close the regular season. The only games in which he did not reach 100 yards was a blow-out of FAU where he only got 10 attempts and an 8 point win over Ole Miss. Over those last 9 games, Mason averaged 123 ypg and had 16 TDs in those games.
In Auburn's biggest games, Mason has led the way for the Tigers. He had 132 yards and 2 TD against #14 LSU, he had 178 yards and 1 TD against #22 Texas A&M, he ran for 115 yards and 1 TD against #25 Georgia and he gained 164 yards and a TD against #1 Alabama.
In the SEC Championship Game, Mason really started to make his mark on the National level. In the first half he ran 23 times for 194 yards and 2 TDs. With his second run of the second half, Mason broke the SEC Championship Game record for most rushing yards in a game which was previously held by LSU's Justin Vincent (201 yards in 2003).
Mason became the first Auburn RB with a 200 yard rushing game since 2005 (Kenny Irons). In the third quarter of the SEC Championship game, Mason also passed Rudy Johnson (1567 yards in 2000) for second on the all-time list of best rushing seasons in Auburn football history. Bo Jackson's Heisman Trophy winning season of 1985 is first on that list with 1,786 yards (including the SEC Championship Game, Mason currently has 1,620). Jackson had 17 TDs in 12 games that season. Mason now has 22 this year including the SEC Championship Game.
Mason finished the SEC Championship game with 303 rushing yards and 4 TDs on 45 carries as Auburn beat #5 Missouri 59-42.
With a lack of contenders for Jameis Winston, Mason might have just punched his ticket to Manhattan with his biggest game of the season on a huge stage and I think there are some people out there who will agree with me.
Thinking #Auburn RB Tre Mason may run his way onto A LOT of Heisman ballots today. Ran for 132 at LSU, 164 on Bama & headed for 350 today— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) December 7, 2013
Gave up the Heisman vote after the switch to business. But I'd be finding room for Tre Mason on the ballot right now.— Chris Bahn (@cbahn) December 7, 2013
Tre Mason almost set the SEC champ game rushing record in a half. At least deserves a trip to NYC for Heisman.— Tony Barnhart (@MrCFB) December 7, 2013
Can't think of a dude who vaulted so suddenly onto so many Heisman ballots on the final day like Mason likely is now.— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_CJ) December 7, 2013
Tre Mason needs to be in NYC next Saturday, along with Winston, Braxton Miller, McCarron and Andre Williams— Mark Schlabach (@Mark_Schlabach) December 8, 2013
Take a bow Tre Mason. #AUBvsMIZZ— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) December 8, 2013
Tre Mason earned his way to New York for the Heisman ceremonies today. No doubt in my mind.— David Pollack (@davidpollack47) December 8, 2013