By Jake Winfrey
The Cullman Times
Tre Mason just booked his ticket to New York City.
Well, maybe not yet.
After all, he’s got some celebrating to do.
However, it won’t take too long for the media and — more specifically — Heisman pundits around the country to find out just what kind of performance Mason doled out in Auburn’s 59-42 SEC title game win over Missouri.
A quick flip over to ESPN should do the trick.
Go ahead, I’ll wait.
If you aren’t in front of your televisions right now, that’s OK. I’ll lay it all out for you in simple chapter and verse.
Mason turned in a game for the ages, rushing for 304 yards — just three yards short of tying the all-time, single-game Auburn record — as well as four touchdowns. He did so carrying the ball 46 times — a new Tiger record for totes in a game.
He also passed Rudi Johnson on the Orange and Blue’s all-time, single-season rushing list and will have a chance to break Bo Jackson’s record of 1,786 with a solid showing in Auburn’s bowl game.
His accolades don’t stop there.
The junior also set SEC championship game records in yards — eclipsing the 201 mark set by LSU’s Justin Vincent back in 2003 — and carries. Auburn also earned the title-tilt record for rushing yards in a game with 545.
Coming into Saturday’s contest, Mason ranked first in the SEC in rushing and 19th in the country with 1,317 yards. His exemplary output against Missouri vaulted him all the way to sixth nationally, while his touchdown total — 22 — trails only Colorado State’s Kapri Bibbs (28).
In a year where there hasn’t been a clear-cut Heisman favorite — sans perhaps Florida State’s Jameis Winston — Mason certainly deserves a look.
If nothing else, he deserves — and has earned — a spot among the finalists when the prestigious award is given out next week.
I’ll leave you with this.
When Alabama’s Mark Ingram struck the pose back in 2009, his stats through 13 games were as follows: 249 carries, 1,542 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Mason’s, you ask? 283 carries, 1,621 yards and 22 touchdowns.
To put those stats in perspective, Auburn’s 2012 squad rushed for only 15 scores, while Vanderbilt — an eight-win team this season — has collected a mere 1,596 yards on the ground all season. In 12 games.
There’s no doubt the Heisman has shifted from "best player in college football" to "best player on the best team."
Even with that, Mason is one of the elite running backs in the country on the No. 3-ranked team in college football.
The stats are resounding, as is the on-field performance.
Go ahead, Mr. Mason, enjoy your visit to New York City.
% Jake Winfrey can be contacted at 256-734-2131, ext. 136 or at email@example.com.