3 things to know about Tre Mason, Auburn's workhorse running back

Kevin C. Cox

The Auburn Tigers make their living running the ball. Here are three things you need to know about their best weapon on the ground, Heisman Trophy finalist Tre Mason.

1. He likes to run the ball. Like, a lot.

Tre Mason is the primary weapon in Auburn's run-heavy, hurry-up, no-huddle offense (wow, that's a lot of hyphens). Nick Marshall gets a lot of carries and calls the shots as the quarterback, but Mason is the biggest threat on the field. He averaged over 21 carries per game this season, racking up 1,621 yards and 22 touchdowns along the way.

It really is a tale of two halves for Mason this year. The beginning of the season was fairly productive, but pales in comparison to the second half. Before the Tigers' big win at Texas A&M on Oct. 19, Mason went over his season average in carries only once in six games.

In the final seven games of the year, Mason had at least 27 carries five times, including a mammoth 46-carry, 304-yard explosion in the SEC title game against Missouri. The Tigers have an array of weapons to turn to, but Mason keeps them on schedule.

Mason's late-season production earned him a spot as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. He didn't end up winning it, but it's a testament to just how much he does for the Tigers. It wasn't all great for Mason this year, though. He did do this:

Masonref_medium

GIF credit: CBS

That's actually pretty impressive tackling form from the ref on that play. Put his shoulder right into him. It's certainly better than most Missouri defenders did that day.

2. This isn't his first rodeo.

Auburn was dreadful in 2012, going winless in SEC conference play en route to a 3-9 record that cost Gene Chizik his job. However, Mason was still productive amidst the wreckage.

He didn't carry nearly the same workload as he did in 2013, but he managed to top the 1,000-yard mark and score eight touchdowns. The Tigers had zero passing game and a terrible offense overall, but he was still able to produce.

3. No seriously, look at the SEC title game.

Auburn defeated Missouri 59-42 in that ridiculous SEC championship game, and while the game was closer than the final score would indicate, Missouri just couldn't stop Auburn's offense. And it's not like it didn't know what was coming either. The Tigers only ran 11 passing plays, and rushed the ball 74 times for 545 yards as a team. That's a 7.4 yard per rush average against a very good defense. Mason had over half of those rushes, but only averaged 6.6 yards per rush on his 46 carries. His longest touchdown run was only 13 yards, but he did uncork a 52-yard rush in the second quarter. He then carried the ball on the next three plays on his way into the end zone, rather than take a breather on the sideline.

That's what you get with Tre Mason. The Florida State defense will present a great challenge, but Mason and the Tigers won't stop coming at them.

More from SB Nation college football:

How FSU and Auburn were built: Why recruiting matters so much

Goodbye to the BCS (which dies tonight)

College football news | Strong to Texas: 10 possible Louisville candidates

Long CFB reads | The death of a college football player

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