ATLANTA — Former Auburn Heisman Trophy-winning running back Bo Jackson embraced tailback Tre Mason after the game.
“He told me he was proud of me,” Mason said.
Jackson couldn’t have been more happy with the current Auburn running back’s performance. Mason, a Heisman hopeful himself, ran amuk through the Southeastern Conference record books on Saturday, en route to Auburn’s 59-42 win over Missouri.
Mason rushed for 304 yards on 46 carries for four touchdowns. The offensive output was enough to set an SEC Championship Game record and was a mere three yards shy of Auburn’s school record.
“I wasn’t surprised,” Mason said. “(The offensive line) opened up some of the biggest holes I’d ever seen. It was a blessing to have those players around me.”
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said Mason is one of the best running backs in college football and that best player on the best team usually wins the Heisman.
“You can see that look in his eye,” Malzahn said. “He was a warrior today. It was unbelieveable.”
Missouri senior cornerback E.J. Gaines agreed.
“He’s very good,” Gaines said.
Perhaps more unbelievable is Auburn itself. The team went 3-9 last season and didn’t win a single conference game. Auburn’s offense scored a mere 16 rushing touchdowns last season.
Tonight, Auburn scored eight touchdowns on 677 total yards for the SEC Championship victory.
“We came a long way,” Malzahn said. “It’s been very unique.”
With a loss from Ohio State or Florida State tonight, Auburn could advance to the BCS Championship Game in Pasadena, Cali.
Auburn did give up 534 yards and 42 points to Missouri. Malzahn said, though, that he’s proud of his team.
“This team finds a way to win,” Malzahn said. “And it’s really bizarre (sometimes).”
The victory clearly moved Mason.
“Words can’t describe how I feel,” Mason said. “To be put in the same conversation as (Bo Jackson) is a blessing.”