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Countdown to Kickoff: 40 Days

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Down two scores late in the first half, Tre Mason rose to the occasion to breathe life back into Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Alabama v Auburn Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

We’ve obviously already highlighted this game once but I couldn’t help but revisit it once again. The incredible finale to the 2013 Iron Bowl has understandably overshadowed many of the great plays that occurred before that fateful kick. There was Nick Marshall’s 45 yard touchdown run, CJ Uzomah’s 13 yard TD grab, Carl Lawson’s 4th down stop and the pop pass to Sammie Coates to tie the game. But one of my favorite plays of the day didn’t result in any immediate points but in my opinion was one of the major turning points of the game.

Down 21-7 with just under 3:30 left to go in the first half, Auburn needed something from it’s offense. After Nick Marshall’s 45 yard scamper the offense had gone cold. Alabama had scored three straight touchdowns while Auburn’s offense had punted, fumbled and punted again. It felt like Auburn’s dream season was beginning to slip away.

So down two scores to one of the best defenses in the country and needing to go 81 yards in a relatively quick amount of time what do you do? Well if you are the 2013 Auburn offense you just strap on your chin strap and run the durn ball. Auburn opened the drive with an 8 yard run and quickly hurried to the line to hit the Bama defense again. This time, Auburn would get much more than 8 yards.

I mean cmon now. This is the Alabama Crimson Tide defense. Loaded with future NFL talent, you aren’t supposed to be able to run right through em but Tre Mason and this Tiger attack didn’t care. That’s what I loved about this offense. It was absurdly arrogant. No matter what you did defensively they were going to line up and run the football when they needed to and chances were they would have great success.

The coach’s tape gives a better look at Mason’s impressive run.

Auburn’s running the read option. I think there’s a mixup on the right side of Alabama’s defense as it looks like both defenders go to play the QB. That makes the read easy for Nick Marshall who gives it to Tre Mason. Right as Mason goes to cut inside, Dismukes switches off one double team block to another while Avery Young reaches the linebacker. Mason darts through the small lane, then proceeds to break four Bama tackles and races into the open field. Give a ton of credit to Bama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen for running Mason down from behind on this play but the damage had been done.

Mason’s 40 yard run set the Tigers up in Bama territory. From there, Auburn would continue to run the football until Mason punched it in from the one yard line and all of a sudden it felt like a game again. That drive was one of the most important of the game as it gave Auburn’s offense confidence they could run against this Bama front while reenergizing the crowd. Auburn would open the 2nd half with another touchdown drive and from that point on it was a back and forth battle that the Tigers would eventually win in glorious fashion.

If you got nothing better to do tonight, rewatch that magnificent victory. Warning though it will make your heart ache with longing once again for the dynamic duo of Nick Marshall and Tre Mason.

40 days till kickoff! War Eagle!