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Saturday, December 7, 2013
Instant analysis: Auburn 59, Missouri 42

By Edward Aschoff



ATLANTA -- Behind a monster running game headed by Tre Mason and Nick Marshall, No. 3 Auburn (12-1, 7-1 SEC) claimed the SEC title with a back-and-forth 59-42 win over No. 5 Missouri (11-2, 7-1) in what was the highest-scoring SEC championship.

The teams combined for 1,211 yards of offense. Auburn rushed for a season-high 545 yards. Mason, who vaulted his name into the Heisman Trophy discussion, rushed for a career-high 304 yards and four touchdowns on a career-high 46 carries. Mason's yards and carries were records for the SEC championship game.

With the win, Auburn has clinched a spot in a BCS bowl and is still in contention for a spot in the VIZIO BCS National Championship Game.

It was over when: Missouri quarterback James Franklin's pass to receiver Dorial Green-Beckham fell incomplete on fourth-and-goal from Auburn's 7-yard line with 1:46 remaining.

Game ball goes to: Mason broke LSU running back Justin Vincent's SEC title-game record of 201 yards set in 2003. Mason finished the day averaging 6.6 yards per rush.

Stat of the game: Auburn averaged 8 yards per play on a Missouri defense that entered the game allowing 5.1 yards per play and 385 yards per game. Auburn also ran for 545 yards on a defense that was allowing only 119 rushing yards per game.

Stat of the game II: Defensive end Kony Ealy's forced fumble that was recovered by defensive tackle Matt Hoch in the first quarter extended Missouri's takeaway streak to 43 straight games.

What it means for Auburn: The Tigers won the SEC for the first time since 2010 and will now await their BCS bowl fate. A loss by either Florida State or Ohio State would send the Tigers, who won just three games a year ago, to the VIZIO BCS National Championship Game.

What it means for Missouri: A special season ends with a No. 2 finish in the SEC. Not bad for a team that won five games in its debut season in the SEC last year. These Tigers are likely out of the mix for a BCS bowl, but with 11 wins, they could be headed to the AT&T Cotton Bowl or Capital One Bowl.