“Obviously, we’re very, very disappointed,” said Missouri Head Coach Gary Pinkel, following his team’s missed opportunity. “You know, it’s been a great year, and we certainly wanted to finish it better. (But), you’ve got to play better, and coach better, and do all the little things right……………………………………… We did a lot of good things, but it just wasn’t good enough to win.”
Tre Mason ran for 304 yards and 4 TDs on 46 carries, as Auburn ran for 545 yards and 7 TDs on 74 carries, allowing Auburn to pull away from Missouri in the final 20 minutes.
Missouri never really figured out how to stop Auburn Coach Gus Malzahn’s version of the Delaware Wing -T, with its read-option rushing attack, as Missouri was far too often out of position and missed too many tackles.
Offensively, Missouri didn’t do enough, either, although Missouri did take a 34-31 lead with 5:35 remaining in the 3rd quarter when James Franklin found Marcus Murphy wide open in the right side of the end zone from 10 yards out.
But, Auburn marched right back down the field, and took a 38-34 lead that they would never relinquish.
“We were battling right in there until the 4th quarter,” said Coach Pinkel. “And then, we just didn’t do well on either side of the football, and (Auburn) finished the game.”
Franklin finished the Championship Game 21-37-1 for 303 yards and 3 TDs passing, and he ran for 62 yards and 1 TD on 15 carries. Dorial Green-Beckham made 6 catches for 144 yards and 2 TDs, and Henry Josey rushed for 123 yards on 9 carries, going over 1,000 yards on the season, as Missouri scored on half of their possessions. But it wasn’t enough against an Auburn team that scored on two-thirds of their possessions.
Auburn finished with 677 yards of total offense to Missouri’s 534 yards of total offense.
Kony Ealy forced a pair of Auburn fumbles, the second of which E.J. Gaines scooped up and returned for a TD. But for most of the night, Missouri’s defense failed to set the edge, and gave up big runs between the tackles, as well as to the outside. Auburn averaged 7.4 yards/carry, and were rarely behind the chains.
“I’m proud of how we competed and battled,” said Coach Pinkel. “But at the end of the day when you’re playing a real good football team, you’ve got to make plays. And you also can’t make mistakes. We made a lot of mistakes on either side of the ball. Obviously, you give (Auburn) credit, too. They executed well……………………………………………………… They did the things necessary to win.”