Auburn Facing Big Challenge In Missouri

Auburn Coach Gus Malzahn talks about the challenge of facing Missouri following an emotional win over Alabama.

Auburn, Ala.--Coming off yet another emotional victory, this one coming on the last play of the game to defeat No. 1 Alabama 34-28, the 11-1 Auburn Tigers have to get ready for the SEC Championship Game this week against Missouri. Also 11-1 on the season following a win over Texas A&M, Gary Pinkel's Tigers will be a tough task for Gus Malzahn's club and he knows the challenge this week is a big one.

"I told our team that is our challenge," Malzahn said. "It was a great night and a great win for us and our program and all that, but we've got to put it behind us now. We have to move forward. We're playing a very good Missouri team that is very similar to us."

Much of the challenge the Tigers will be facing is on the outside with big wide receivers Dorial Green-Beckham and L'Damian Washington a load to handle for the Missouri offense. At 6-6, Green-Beckham has 49 receptions for 686 yards and 10 touchdowns, but 6-5, 220 Marcus Lucas leads the way with 50 catches for 596 yards and two scores. Throw in the 6-4 Washington and his 44 grabs for 824 yards and 10 scores and you have perhaps the most dynamic trio in the country for veteran quarterback James Franklin to throw to. With running back Henry Josey running for 988 yards and 13 touchdowns

"He looks like a very good quarterback to me," Malzahn said. "I have seen him on TV from time to time and of course the tape that I have watched so far his receivers are long and fast and they are playmakers. They definitely present challenges.

"I think they do both pretty well," he adds. "They run the football well. They throw the football well. They're balanced. That's the toughest type of offense to stop most of the time."

With a week off following the emotional victory over Georgia, Auburn was able to wind down during the bye week before ramping back up for the Iron Bowl. The Tiger won't have that same luxury this week with just three true practice days before heading to Atlanta on Friday. Malzahn says because of that this team has to continue what it has done all year, take care of the task at hand.

"Each week we present as a coaching staff a challenge to our team," Malzahn says. "Of course, it was a little easier in the Georgia win because we had an off week. We just challenged them today, Hey, we got to find a way to put that behind us. We'll talk about it after the SEC Championship game, all that. But we have our hands full with Missouri. We're playing for a championship.

"This team has risen to the challenge each time we've challenged them. But it is a definite factor, as emotional a win as that was last night."


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