September 7, 2013

ANALYSIS: Power surge between the tackles

AUBURN | Quarterback Nick Marshall[db] took some steps forward as expected Saturday night, but the Tigers' ground game was even more impressive.

[db]Cameron Artis-Payne earned the tough yards between the tackles while Tre Mason supplemented that with a mixture of inside and outside runs. Those two combined for 201 yards on 33 carries, which is an outstanding performance by any standard.

Strong running was only part of the equation.

The Tigers' offensive line, which was an obvious weakness during the messy 2012 season, proved against Arkansas State that progress exhibited last week is real. Though the Red Wolves' defense isn't quite Southeastern Conference caliber, that team has some playmakers up front and they were pushed around most of the night.

"There's a lot of work being done along the line right now," Mason said Saturday night. "The running backs -- we do our part and we run hard, but the line does the real work. Everybody in the stadium can tell that we're better as a group now and the credit for that, I think, goes to that line."

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