How Malzahn brought Auburn back

November, 26, 2013
11/26/13
9:22
AM ET

AUBURN, Ala. -- Gus Malzahn wasn't sure what sort of team he'd have during his first year as Auburn's head coach. But he told his players before every game and during every halftime that somehow they'd find a way to win in the fourth quarter.

Auburn's dramatic 43-38 win over Georgia Saturday echoed that statement, as the Tigers needed a fourth-down prayer from quarterback Nick Marshall to shock their rivals. It gave the Tigers their 10th win of the season and kept them in the SEC Western Division and BCS hunt nearly a year removed from a disastrous 3-9 season that got former coach Gene Chizik fired.

Auburn went from near the bottom of the SEC in offense to ranking second (499.9 yards per game) and scoring 39 points a contest.

It's been a special year, and Auburn is a win over Alabama away from making it back to the SEC title game for the first time since 2010.

The Plains are oozing vitality, and Malzahn's presence has fueled that. His return has helped drive the Tigers back into the national spotlight and helped instill a confidence the program and fan base desperately needed.

"We came a long way," running back Tre Mason said.

"Having faith and being confident in your team and making sure everyone else has confidence and the faith to win -- that's a big part of us winning."

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