Auburn notebook: Dee was Ford tough Saturday
by Joe Medley and Ryan Black
Nov 16, 2013 | 2246 views |  0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Auburn defensive end Dee Ford sacks Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray. (Photo by Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
Auburn defensive end Dee Ford sacks Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray. (Photo by Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
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AUBURN — Auburn defensive end Dee Ford couldn’t be blocked Saturday.

No matter which Georgia lineman was in front of him, he blew past them. Ford sacked Georgia’s Aaron Murray only one time. But Ford was also credited with six quarterback hurries and made countless other disruptive plays in the Bulldogs’ backfield that didn’t appear in the stat sheet.

After multiple plays during Saturday’s game, Murray was seen having words with Ford. When asked about those encounters, the quarterback played coy.

“It’s a competitive nature we have,” Ford said. “Any time you get a chance to pop (someone), you better say something. But I don’t think I really said nothing to him. I don’t think (about talking) when I’m on the field.”

Regardless of how much Ford talked — or didn’t talk, depending on one’s interpretation of his previous quote — Gus Malzahn felt it would be unfair to focus on that. Instead, Auburn’s head coach felt Ford’s play spoke for itself.

“Dee Ford is an impact player,” Malzahn said. “He’s one of the best pass-rushers in our league and a veteran guy.”

Not that the Bulldogs needed to be told of Ford’s talent. They were having enough problems simply keeping him out of their backfield. It got bad enough that starting right tackle John Theus was removed in favor of backup Kolton Houston. The pair continued to rotate throughout the game, though neither had much success in their one-on-one matchups with Ford.

Mason moves up

With 115 more yards on the ground Saturday night, Tre Mason moved into 12th place on Auburn’s career list with 2,316, passing James Joseph who ran for 2,264 from 1986-90. It also upped his season total to 1,153, which is 16th all-time in school history, besting Stephen Davis (1,068 in 1995), Michael Dyer (1,093 in 2010) and Joe Cribbs (1,120 in 1979).

What was more important to the junior, however, was his lone rushing touchdown, his 17th in 2013 and tops in the conference.

It also tied him with Bo Jackson and Carnell Williams for the second-most in a single-season by a Tiger.

The only player ahead of him on the single-season rushing touchdown list is none other than Cam Newton, who had 20 scores three years ago.

With the record in his sights, Mason joked he will be touching base with the Carolina Panthers quarterback soon.

“I want to talk to him about it, too,” Mason said.

Dufner recognized

Auburn grad Jason Dufner, who won the PGA Championship in August, was recognized at halftime of Saturday’s game.

Dufner, who lives in Auburn with wife Amanda, was a special guest on “This Week in SEC Football” and talked about the coming Iron Bowl, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn and other topics.

Hare Award goes to ...

Former Auburn linebacker Ashton Richardson was honored Saturday, receiving the Cliff Hare Award, the highest award given an Auburn student-athlete.

Richardson was recently named a Rhodes Scholarship finalist and could get the opportunity to study at the University of Oxford in Britain.

Richardson, one of Auburn’s seven Rhodes Scholar finalists since 2009, was also a finalist last year and was re-nominated by Auburn this year. He’s a 2012 Auburn graduate and former walk-on who received a football scholarship before the 2011 season.

He is studying veterinary science at Texas A&M and will interview for the Rhodes Scholarship in Houston as part of District 8 on Nov. 22-23.

Up next

No. 7 Auburn (10-1, 6-1 SEC) has an open date to prepare for top-ranked Alabama in the Iron Bowl. Alabama handled Mississippi State on the road Saturday to improve to 10-0, 7-0 SEC.

Auburn has won seven straight games since its 35-21 loss at LSU on Sept. 21 and hopes to regain footing with Alabama after losing to the Crimson Tide by a combined score of 91-14 in 2011 and 2012. That includes Alabama’s 49-0 rout of the Tigers a year ago, in Gene Chizik’s final game as Auburn’s head coach.

Alabama is looking to stay on course for its third straight national title and fourth in five years.

Auburn, of course, won the national title for the 2010 season.
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