Mason Trying To Carry The Load For Tigers

Auburn running back Tre Mason talks about the running game, his game on Saturday, and offensive identity.

Oxford, Miss.—Leading up to Saturday's game against the Ole Miss Rebels, one of the points of emphasis for the struggling Auburn offense was to be physical in the running game. That happened at times during the 41-20 loss with sophomore Tre Mason running for 82 yards on 18 carries, but the rest of the team managed just 19 yards as the Tigers again failed to finish off a game on the way to losing their sixth consecutive SEC game.

After a dreadful start, falling behind 14-0 in the first quarter, the Auburn offense began to put something together in the second quarter with its best drive of the season. Covering 74 yards in 13 plays with Mason finishing it off with a one-yard run, the Tigers looked to be getting into a groove offensively. Another touchdown r un by Mason, this one for six yards, minutes later tied the game at 14. At that point Mason said they felt very good about how things were going, but it didn't last.

"I feel like we got into a pretty good rhythm in the first half," Mason said. "We tried to maintain that, but the defense made some changes and they are also going to make plays. They are a great team and they did what they did well. The outcome is what it was."

For Mason it was a disappointing ending to a game that saw him reach the end zone twice and run through tackle after tackle for extra yards. Even though he carried the ball 18 times he said he wanted it more and more as the game went along.

"It felt great," Mason said. "That's what I'm here to do. I feel like I can continue this role. I'm comfortable with it. Of course I was hoping to get more touches in the fourth quarter and try to put the team on my back. That's just how I was raised. When all else is going wrong you can be the guy to change the situation."

It's something that the running backs as a group are hoping can carry over into the rest of the 2012 season as the offense looks to find some momentum going into the Vanderbilt game next weekend. Mason said it's a mindset at the moment to be a run-first team and one they want to keep going.

"Everyone has their personal feelings, but as a running back room of course we feel like our identity is to run the ball," Mason said. "Whatever the coaches go with we're going to go with because we trust them. We just have to execute."

That identity must start and end with Mason getting the football as he's Auburn's best legitimate threat on offense at the moment. That showed on Saturday and Mason said as far as he's concerned it's his duty to turn the offense around and get them to the promised land.

"My mindset is to score every time I touch the ball," Mason said. "That's what the play is designed for is to score. Getting in the end zone is something that we have to take that next towards winning the game for us."

Starting 0-4 in the SEC for the first time since 1980, Auburn must win at Vanderbilt to break that streak as well as the longest conference losing streak in the league at the moment. Mason said it's important that the guys keep looking forward and try to keep improving in order to break though.

"There is nothing we can do about what happened in the past," Mason said. "All we can do is week by week and day by day. We're just going to keep fighting and practice hard and try to figure out a way to get another win."

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