AU SEC Champs: News, Notes & Quotes, Part 1

The Auburn football Tigers put up impressive numbers in a 59-42 victory over Missouri in the SEC Football Championship Game.

Atlanta, Ga.--One of Auburn's senior leaders on the 2013 SEC championship team has been defensive end Dee Ford, who missed three games with a knee injury to open the season, but bounced back to become one of the SEC's top defenders this season.

On Saturday he was in on three tackles, including one sack, giving him a team-leading 8 1/2 this year.

The Tigers surrendered a season-high 42 points in the 59-42 victory while giving up 534 yards in the process, but with the game on the line in the fourth quarter Ford and his teammates didn't allow Missouri to score again while their offense added two more touchdowns to wrap up the SEC title.

"Both offenses were playing aggressive," Ford pointed out. "At times it seemed like there was no type of defensive being played on either side, but you really can't say that. Our defense stepped up and made the plays we needed to in the fourth quarter.

"I'm not surprised we made big plays at the end--we've been doing it all year," the fifth-year senior from Odenville said. "We were hurting ourselves earlier when they made some big plays, like that long run when we just didn't make a play we should have."

While the defense had its problems with an explosive Missouri offense, Auburn was piling up SEC title game records for points and total offense with 677 yards. Ford said the overall team effort should have been enough to put Auburn in the national championship game.

"We play in the best conference in the country and we are the best team in the SEC," he said making his case for a trip to Pasadena to close his college career. "That should be enough."

In other news and notes:

*The 59 points scored broke an SEC Championship game record previously set by the Tigers in 2010 versus South Carolina. The 59 points against Missouri also marks the third-most Auburn has scored against an SEC opponent.

*The 677 yards of total offense against Missouri sets a school record against SEC opponents and fourth most in school history.

*Auburn's 545 rushing yards is the third-most gained this season on the ground in major college football. Only Wisconsin (554) and BYU (550) have accumulated more yards in a single game.

*The 677 yards of total offense is the fourth time this year that the Tigers have eclipsed the 600-yard mark. The season-high was 712 against Western Carolina.

*The 38-yard first quarter touchdown pass from Nick Marshall to Sammie Coates was Marshall's 12th pass of the season and Coates' seventh TD reception of the year. All seven his touchdown catches have been for 36 yards or better.

Sammie Coates

*Coates' 841 receiving yards this season rank ninth on Auburn's single season list, passing Freddy Weygand (796 in 1984) and Karsten Bailey (840 in 1997).

*Marshall's nine-yard TD run in the first quarter was his 11th rushing TD of the season.

*Tre Mason is now the Auburn single-season record-holder for all-purpose yards with 2,137. He broke the record set by Bo Jackson in 1985 (1,859.

*Mason's 195 yards rushing in the first half surpassed the most rushing yards Missouri has given up to any opponent team this season (184, to Texas A&M). It was the second-most yards ever by an Auburn player in the first half and the third-best rushing half ever by an AU player.

*Mason's 304 yards is a career-high in rushing yardage with his previous best 181 vs. Alabama A&M in 2012. The junior's previous SEC high was 178 vs. Texas A&M this season.

*Mason recorded his eighth 100-yard rushing game of the season. It was his fifth consecutive 100-yard game and 11th of his career.

*Mason has scored a rushing touchdown in 10 consecutive games and in 17 of his last 20 contests. He has 22 rushing touchdowns this season, breaking the Auburn record of 20 set by Cam Newton in 2010, and also breaks the single season scoring mark set by Newton.

*Mason's 46 carries in the game broke an Auburn record held by Carnell Williams (Georgia, 2001) and Michael Dyer (South Carolina, 2011). The previous record was 41 carries.

*Mason's four rushing touchdowns tied a career-high set earlier this season at Arkansas. His attempts (46), yards (304) and touchdowns (four) set SEC Championship Game records

Mason is now in second place among Auburn single season rushers with 1,621 yards, passing Ben Tate (1,362 yards in 2009), Brent Fullwood (1,391 yards in 1986), Cam Newton (1,473 in 2010) and Rudi Johnson (1,567 in 2000). He ranks eighth among Auburn career rushers with 2,784 yards, passing Onterio McCalebb (2,586 yards from 2009-12) and Ronnie Brown (2,707 from 2000-04).­­­

*Auburn had its fourth game this season with two 100-yard rushers as Marshall joined Mason in that group with 101.

*The 55 combined points in the first half is the most in a half of an SEC title game, bettering the 42 in the 2010 when Auburn led South Carolina 28-14 at the break. The 55 first-half points is more than the combined total of 15 previous SEC championship games.

*For the first time in SEC championship game history, a quarterback's first pass attempt went for a touchdown. Marshall connected with Coates on a 38-yard touchdown pass at the 8:22 mark in the first quarter to give Auburn a 7-3 lead.

*The wide receivers coach for Missouri is Pat Washington, who was Auburn's quarterback in 1985, the year Bo Jackson won the Heisman Trophy.

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