Tre And A "Tough QB" Power Tigers Past Pigs

Tre Mason rushed for four touchdowns as Auburn won its eighth football game knocking off Arkansas on the road by a 35-17 score.

Fayetteville, Ark.--Tre Mason rushed four touchdowns and 168 yards as the Auburn Tigers won a fifth straight game, defeating Arkansas 37-17 on Saturday to improve to 8-1 overall and 4-1 in the SEC.

Mason credited what he called "best offensive line" in college football allowing him to have his big night and noted the wide receivers and fullback Jay Prosch played key roles, too.

"It feels excellent and I am just happy to get another win," Mason said. "We are just trying to get better every week."

Tre Mason runs through a big hole.

The junior running back carried the load on a night when quarterback Nick Marshall came into the game with just one day of practice throwing the football after suffering a shoulder bruise the previous week. Marshall didn't throw a football until Thursday evening's practice.

Gus Malzahn said the game plan was to attack the Razorbacks on the ground and that is how the Tigers rolled at Razorback Stadium.

Auburn threw just nine passes in the entire game, but one of the eight completions was the most spectacular play of the evening when Marshall hooked up with wide receiver Sammie Coates on an 88-yard bomb.

"There was just one safety back on that play so I had to look him to the middle of the field to keep him out of the play," Marshall said. "After that Sammie caught the ball and made a great run."

Coach Gus Malzahn had high praise for his quarterback after getting backup Jeremy Johnson ready to play if needed.

"Nick is one tough customer," Malzahn said. "We didn't know really if Nick was going to play. We felt like he had a chance on Thursday, but we really didn't know he was going to start until we got out there and saw him throw in pre-game and all of that.

"He is a tough guy," Malzahn added. "I think his toughness carries over to our team--especially our offense."

The Razorbacks kept the football for 34 minutes and 14 seconds and 74 snaps, nearly nine more minutes and 19 more plays than the Tigers.

Auburn managed to win the total offense battle 366-346 even though the Razorbacks finished with 25 first downs, seven more than the Tigers.

"Arkansas came out and was ready to play," said Malzahn. "They kept ball away from us a lot in the first half. We were able to run the ball and I feel like a big play in the game was that fourth down stop by our defense."

Malzahn downplayed the coming home aspect of the victory even though he was 0-3 on previous trips to Fayetteville, twice as Auburn's offensive coordinator. "It was just about getting our eighth win," he said.

"I have a lot of friends and family here, but you separate that," he said. "I have a job to do. I am just very proud of our team coming in here and getting the victory.

"We will enjoy this victory because they are hard to come by," the coach added. "Arkansas had a week off to prepare. They are a solid team. It was a tough victory."

First Half Highlights:

Arkansas won the toss and opted to receive. The Razorbacks moved the ball steadily into AU territory with the running game.

Three plays after starting quarterback Brandon Allen was hurt on a scramble run play as he tried to slide to avoid a hit, Cassanova McKinzy got his first Auburn interception after Dee Ford tipped a pass thrown by A.J. Derby.

Auburn changed the field position with its hurry-up offense, but had to punt. Steven Clark's punt was downed at the two by Coates.

The Razorbacks got the ball off the goal line, but turned it over on a fumble recovered by Kris Frost at the 29-yard line.

Mason raced around right end for 20 yards on the first play of the possession and then on a read option he scored at left guard from nine yards out to make the score 7-0 with 2:35 left in the opening quarter.

A penalty on Chris Davis set up an Arkansas field goal early in the second quarter. Davis got a 15-yard dead ball foul after the Razorbacks were unable to convert a third down screen pass.

Zach Hocker hit a 34-yard field goal to cap the drive that covered 58 yards on 12 plays.

Arkansas then tried to catch the Tigers off guard with an onside kick, but Auburn was alert and Javiie Mitchell fell on the ball at the Arkansas 43. The Tigers started the possession at the 38 after a five-yard penalty was added to the play.

Nick Marshall runs the football vs. the Razorbacks.

With six plays, including five runs, the Tigers were on top 14-3 when Mason raced in at left guard untouched from the four-yard line. With Cody Parkey's PAT the Tigers led 14-3 with 10:53 left in the second quarter.

Auburn's defense got pushed around most of the first half, but made another big play on fourth and goal at the one when linebacker Mitchell stuffed running back Jonathan Williams for a one-yard loss with 2:40 left in the half. Williams, a redshirt freshman who plays on the goal line defenses, also stopped Williams for no gain on the third down play.

Halftime Numbers:

Arkansas dominated time of possession holding the football for 21 minutes and 43 seconds in the opening two quarters while Auburn held the ball for just eight minutes and 17 seconds.

The Razorbacks rushed for 139 yards on 31 carries and hit 5-16 passes for 60 yards.

The Razorbacks held a 199-124 edge in time of possession vs. the Tigers, who rushed for 116 yards on 19 carries and completed 2-3 passes for eight yards.

Mason carried the ball 13 times in the half for 93 yards while Alex Collins led Arkansas with 58 yards on 11 carries.

Second Half Highlights:

The third quarter could not have started much better for the Tigers, who put together an 11-play drive to cover 65 yards in 4:08 after Hocker's kickoff went out of bounds.

The Tigers mixed in passes on the drive, including a 15-yarder from Johnson to Coates. The freshman quarterback was in for three plays on the drive.

Mason, on second and goal from the five, ran through a large hole in the middle of the defense to put the Tigers up 21-3.

Auburn's defense finally forced the first Arkansas punt of the game on the Razorbacks' opening possession of the third period.

Three plays later, on a third down and six call, Marshall faked a handoff and threw a deep sideline route to Coates, who caught the slightly underthrown ball vs. single coverage. The sophomore kept his balance and raced to the end zone on an 88-yard play. That put the Tigers up 28-3 with 6:39 left in the third quarter.

A big play in the kicking game then set up a touchdown for the Razorbacks. Jonathan Williams returned a kickoff out of the end zone and took the ball all the way to the 13 before being stopped by Jonathon Mincy, who was shaken up on the play, but returned to action later.

Two plays later Keon Hatcher caught a 13-yard fade route over Ryan White, who replaced Mincy at cornerback. That cut Auburn's lead to 28-10 with 6:11 remaining in the third period.

With the help of a pair of highly questionable pass interference calls the Razorbacks scored again, moving the ball 73 yards on 10 plays.

Auburn responded with a long drive of its own, moving 75 yards on nine plays. Mason once again put the pigskin in the end zone on a third down and nine call, racing around left end for 12 yards on a draw play. That put the Tigers on top 35-17 with 10:17 left in the game and ended the scoring for the night.

Arkansas fell to 3-6 overall and 0-5 under first-year head coach Bret Bielema despite 104 rushing yards from Williams and 92 more from freshman standout Alex Collins.

Stat Of the Game:

Auburn did not have a turnover while the Razorbacks were intercepted once and lost two fumbles.

Worth Noting: Senior defensive end Dee Ford was helped off the field by his teammates at the end of the game. After the game Ford was walking and said the problem wasn't serious.

Game Statistics


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