PASADENA, Calif. -- As Florida State celebrated its BCS National Championship, Auburn running back Tre Mason faced the media holding back his emotions.
“Right now I just feel like I let the whole Auburn family down by not finishing,” said Mason, who added that his emotions were too high to make a decision about declaring for the NFL draft.
Mason had 34 carries for 195 yards and a touchdown. He scored the go-ahead touchdown with 1:19 remaining in the game. He did everything he could do to help the Tigers secure a national championship against the nation’s No. 1 team.
But it wasn’t enough.
Somehow Mason felt responsible for the Tigers' loss even though no one in their right mind would have blamed him. Mason’s stellar performance against Missouri helped get the Tigers in the national championship game. His near-200 yards against the Seminoles kept them in it.
“We told them we’d have the biggest turnaround in college football, and the biggest turnaround would be winning that crystal ball,” Mason said. “We owed them that because of the season last year. I just want them to know that I gave it all I got, but I still feel like I let them down.”
Mason finished the season with 1,816 yards, which broke Auburn’s single-season rushing record held by Bo Jackson. He also set a BCS championship game record in carries and finished second in yardage.
Defensive end Dee Ford, who was the only other player in Auburn’s postgame press conference, said he understood where Mason was coming from, but that the loss didn’t fall on one person.
“He is being too hard on himself, but he’s a competitor,” Ford said. “I don’t expect him to be any other way. But that’s why we’re a team. That’s why we’re brothers. I’m able to really talk to him. And the Auburn family is going to be able to do the same thing. But yeah, he’s down on himself. That’s expected. We’re competitors. I’m down on myself. But we just can’t really show the emotion. We wanted this thing so bad and it was so close.”
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