Over the last few weeks, the Auburn Tigers have given us some of the most exciting football we’ve seen in recent memory.
A couple of games ago, it was The Immaculate Deflection against Georgia when, with 36 seconds left and facing fourth-and-18 from the Auburn 27-yard line, this happened:
Last weekend, with Auburn facing overtime in the final seconds against the Alabama—the nation’s top-ranked team—this happened:
What makes what Auburn has done this season so amazing: a year ago the Tigers were winless in the notoriously brutal Southeastern Conference (0-8), and 3-9 overall.
This year, the Auburn Tigers ended the regular season as the nation’s second-ranked team and will play for the national championship against top-ranked Florida State. And one of the biggest reasons is Tre Mason, who’s the son of hip-hop royalty.
So you would think young Tre gets down with a little of his dad’s music as he preps for games, right?
Here’s what DJ Maseo told The War Eagle Reader on the day his son signed with Auburn in 2011:
“I know he listens to Little Wayne and Wacka Flocka. He definitely likes the current day rappers, but every now and then I’ll walk in on him and he’ll be listening to Big Daddy Kane or Slick Rick and I’m shocked, completely shocked. He’s like ‘Daddy, I like Big Daddy Kane, honestly!’
Despite what Tre likes to listen to, he’s a baller. Heading into the season, the debate around the best running back in college football centered around Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon, Georgia’s Todd Gurley, Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey, Baylor’s Lache Seastrunk and Miami’s Duke Johnson.
But if you’ve watched Auburn’s incredible turnaround this year, you know that Tre Mason has emphatically inserted his name into that “top running back” discussion.
If you watched Tre’s 45-carry, 303-yard, four-touchdown masterpiece in Saturday’s SEC Championship game against Missouri—a thrilling 59-42 victory that propelled Auburn into the National Championship game against top-ranked and undefeated Florida State— all you could do was say, “Oooh!”
This season, Tre did his best work when the stakes were at their highest in conference play. Against LSU, Texas A&M, Arkansas, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama, he ran for 132, 178, 168, 117, 115 and 164 yards respectively while piling up 12 touchdowns in those six games.
Over the past few weeks, Mason has emerged as a long-shot Heisman Trophy candidate. But his work against Mizzou’s previously stout defense should place him among the contenders for the award. Missouri hadn’t allowed more than 28 points in a game all season. But on Saturday, Mason and his buddies on the offensive line obliterated that while scoring 59.
Thankfully, with Michigan State’s win against Ohio State, we’ll get to see a real heavyweight thriller in the BCS title game, unlike last year, when a horrifically overrated Notre Dame team was bamboozled into the National Championship. And in this year’s title game, we’ll see if Mason is able to run until the break of dawn.
For Mason, it will be a challenge. The Florida State defense boasts nine players that have a chance to be chosen in the early rounds of the NFL draft. One thing is certain, with the abundance of talent on the field, there promises to be oodles and oodles of “Oh’s!”
Mason’s not the only weapon. It’s been the steady play all season from the electric quarterback Nick Marshall that has helped provide the perfect offensive balance in one of the most remarkable seasons in the history of college football.
If Tre can leave some more potholes in the Seminoles lawn like he’s done to some of the best defenses in the game this year, look for the Tigers to end the season with something that Hollywood couldn’t even imagine.
But if that fearsome Florida State defense shuts him and the running game down as you hear them barking, “Hey! How are ya doin’? Sorry you can’t get through!” look for freshman quarterback sensation Jameis Winston, explosive running back Karlos Williams and the brilliant defensive back Lamarcus Joyner to return the Seminoles to the glory days of 1993, when they won it all with a Heisman-winning quarterback, Charlie Ward.
Either way, we should be treated to a fantastic National Title game.