Quarter-by-quarter: Auburn beats Missouri 59-42

dmitchell@ledger-enquirer.comDecember 7, 2013 

— Auburn won the SEC championship Saturday night, beating Missouri 59-42.

Here is a quarter-by-quarter recap of the game:

Auburn 59, Missouri 42

KEY PLAYER Tre Mason. He didn’t get the kind of yards he had gotten the rest of the game, but the Auburn running back reached the end zone twice, turning a 45-42 lead into an insurmountable 59-42 lead. He finished the game with 46 carries for 304 yards and four touchdowns.

KEY MOMENT Chris Davis knocks down James Franklin’s pass on fourth down. Down to perhaps its last opportunity, Missouri went for it on fourth-and-1 from its own 13 with less than five minutes remaining. Franklin’s pass, which was intended for Dorial Green-Beckham, was batted down by cornerback Chris Davis, giving Auburn the ball. On its first play of the ensuing drive, Auburn put the ball in Tre Mason’s hands for the 44th time of the game. Mason ran 13 yards for the score to put the game out of reach.

KEY DECISION Auburn goes for it on fourth-and-goal. It was a fairly obvious decision: fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line in the fourth quarter. Malzahn sided with the other thousands of Auburn fans in the building and went for it. The result was a 1-yard touchdown run for Tre Mason, his third of the game. A failed attempt would have given Missouri the ball down 10, so the decision didn’t come without its drama. Auburn executed, though, and seized control of the game.

End 3rd: Auburn 45, Missouri 42

KEY PLAYER

Cameron Artis-Payne. The backup running back hadn’t touched the ball all game until his first carry with under a minute remaining in the third quarter. His first carry went for 22 yards, and his next, on the next play, went 15 for a touchdown to put Auburn ahead by two possessions, 45-34. Tre Mason has carried the ball 35 times, already an SEC championship game record. Artis-Payne could prove to be an integral piece to Auburn’s offense in the final quarter.

KEY MOMENT

Henry Josey’s 65-yard run. Just when you thought Auburn had seized control of the game, the Missouri tailback rushes 65 yards to the Auburn 10-yard line and gets 5 added after a late hit out of bounds. Auburn had just scored to take an 11-point lead with 31 seconds to go in the quarter, and it took Missouri only two plays and 22 seconds to get back within striking distance.

KEY DECISION

Missouri electing to go for two after its touchdown. Trailing by 11 points, Missouri decided to try a two-point conversion after a 5-yard touchdown run by quarterback James Franklin. The try was successful, another run by Franklin, and Missouri came within a field goal at 45-42. If the game goes down to the wire as it appears it is headed for, that could be an important play for Missouri.

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End 2nd: Auburn 28, Missouri 27

KEY PLAYER

Tre Mason. Tre Mason. Tre Mason. After rushing for 55 yards in the first quarter, Mason took over in the second with 13 carries for 140 yards and two touchdowns, giving him totals of 23 for 195 in the first half. Repeat: In the first half. He’s just 6 yards shy of the SEC championship record for rushing yards and has a decent chance to get to 300. On one Auburn scoring drive, he carried five times for 49 yards and a score to put Auburn up 21-17. After holding Missouri to a field goal, Mason carried four times on the next drive for 79 yards in 47 seconds, capping it with a 3-yard touchdown run to put Auburn ahead 28-20.

KEY MOMENT

James Franklin’s 55-yard touchdown pass to Dorial Green-Beckham. After Auburn’s punt landed inside the 10-yard line with 1:10 remaining in the half, it appeared it would take a 28-20 lead into the locker room. Instead, Franklin got his Tigers out of the shadow of their end zone and hit Green-Beckham for a 55-yard score to make it 28-27 at the half. The scoring drive spanned 92 yards on six plays in 52 seconds. And we’re back to square one.

KEY DECISION

Missouri electing to accept a holding penalty. On third-and 11 from the Missouri 25, well within kicker Cody Parkey’s range, Auburn was stopped to force a fourth down. There was also a hold on the play, however, and Missouri accepted the call to back Auburn up 10 yards to the 35, making any field goal attempt significantly more difficult. This time, the third down play was a minus-5-yard pass to Sammy Coates, and Auburn was forced to punt. On its possession, Missouri went 92 yards for a score to cut the Auburn lead to 28-27.

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End 1st: Auburn 14, Missouri 10

KEY PLAYER

Nick Marshall and Sammie Coates. The Auburn quarterback orchestrated two big touchdown drives, both in response to scores by Missouri. After Missouri went ahead 3-0, Marshall hit Coates for a 38-yard touchdown pass to cap off a seven-play, 75-yard drive that took just 2:28 off the clock. Missouri responded with a touchdown on its next drive, but again Marshall and Coates hooked up, this time for 54 yards on the first play of Auburn’s ensuing possession. Marshall ended that drive with a 9-yard touchdown run. In the quarter, Marshall rushed for 23 yards and a score and completed 2 of 2 passes for 92 yards, both to Coates. On the negative side, the quarterback also fumbled twice, losing one that set up Missouri’s first score, a field goal.

KEY MOMENT

Coates’ 54-yard catch. After falling behind, Auburn responded in a big way to regain all the momentum. The pass from Marshall to Coates put Auburn near the red zone, and it capped the drive with a score to take the lead back five plays later. That drive took only five plays and one minute, 31 seconds.

KEY DECISION

Missouri going for it on fourth down. After Auburn recovered an onside kick, but failed to score, Missouri regained possession but had a fourth down in its own territory. It went for it, successfully, and set itself up deep in Auburn territory two plays later.

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Auburn and Missouri kicked off at 4 p.m. today to decide the SEC championship game.

And if either Florida State or Ohio State lose tonight, the Auburn/Missouri winner could find itself in the BCS national championship game.

Check back here after each quarter for updates.

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