By Scott Crumbly
SEC Digital Network
In preparation for the Heisman Trophy presentation this weekend, the SEC Digital Network will be taking a look at the cases for each of the league’s three players in consideration for the sport’s most prestigious award. We’ll start off with a look at Auburn running back Tre Mason, followed by Alabama’s AJ McCarron and Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel.
Mason was off the Heisman radar for most of the year, but an incredible late season burst assured that the junior a spot at Saturday’s presentation in New York City.
Mason has been an invaluable cog in an Auburn offense that leads the nation in rushing. On the season, he’s amassed 1,621 yards on 5.7 yards per carry while leading the Southeastern Conference in rushing touchdowns by a wide margin with 22. His numbers speak for themselves, but they’re even more impressive when considering that his biggest games have come against the Tigers’ toughest competition.
Against LSU in Baton Rouge, Mason ran for 132 yards and a pair of scores in Auburn’s only loss of the season. On Oct. 19, Mason went for 178 yards and a touchdown in AU’s 45-41 win at College Station. In Auburn’s dramatic Iron Bowl win over then-No. 1 Alabama, he paced the Tigers with 164 yards and a score. He then put an exclamation point on his season with a record-breaking performance in the SEC Championship Game of 304 yards and four scores that propelled Auburn to the BCS National Championship.
Mason’s Heisman push has accelerated down the stretch of the regular season thanks to a blazing five-game stretch. In the Tigers’ last five contests – at Arkansas, at Tennessee, versus Georgia, Alabama, and in Atlanta versus Missouri – Mason has ripped off 868 yards (173.6 yards per game) and 13 touchdowns. The Tigers have been featured on the national stage several times during that span, and Mason captured the attention of the country with his Herculean efforts.
While his recent success has been uncanny, Mason was a beacon of consistency all season long, even before exploding in November and December. On the year, he’s rushed for 100 yards or more eight times, including four games of 150-plus yards, and he’s notched five multi-score performances. Only eight running backs in America have carried the ball more timer per game than Mason.
On Wednesday, Mason was named the SEC Offensive Player of the Year as voted by the league's 14 coaches.