October 12, 2013

Still churning

AUBURN | The Tigers' run game has improved dramatically this season and has become the team's driving force on offense.

Just like coach Gus Malzahn promised when hired last December.

"We're a run, play-action team and anytime we can run the ball effectively that opens everything else up," Coach Gus Malzahn said after his team's 62-3 win against Western Carolina. "I thought our line did an outstanding job and I thought our running backs broke some tackles, and we've been talking about that."

Auburn's 511 yards on 43 carries was the third highest total in school history -- only surpassed by a 565-yard performance against Southwest Louisiana in 1985 and a 526-yard performance against Furman in 1946. Also, the team's 11.9 yards per carry now has it's own place in the Auburn record book.

"It was all together as an offense -- everybody executing and doing their jobs," junior running back Tre Mason said. "It's not solely praise to us. Our offensive line did a great job. They did great up front and our receivers blocked on the edge. We've got to continue to do our job and we'll be successful running the ball."

So what's fueling the Tigers' surge on the ground?

Senior fullback Jay Prosch thinks a new attitude and emphasis on physicality are playing a central theme.

"That's one of the things Coach Malzahn pushed on us very hard when he came back in -- bring back the toughness and the physicality of it," Prosch said. "I think the way we've been playing this year, so far, extremely physical."

Coming into the game, Auburn's 242.2 rushing yards per game ranked second in the Southeastern Conference. With Saturday's 500-yard performance, that number will only go up.

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