ATLANTA, GA (Sporting Alert) — After stunning Alabama last week to hit the headlines in back-to-back weekends, No. 3 Auburn now turn their attention to beating No. 5 Missouri in the SEC championship on Saturday night.
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4:00 PM ET, December 7, 2013
Georgia Dome, ATLANTA, GA
No one had predicted this would have been the matchup at the Georgia Dome, but the Tigers’ (11-1, 7-1 SEC) 34-28 victory over the two-time defending national champion and then top-ranked Crimson Tide, showed that anything is possible when it comes to college football.
Saturday the Auburn Tigers face the Tigers of Missouri (11-1, 7-1 SEC) and head coach Gus Malzahn, who watched his team stunned the college football fraternity last week to earned its trip to Atlanta, is happy to see how things have worked out.
“We’re playing a very good Missouri team that’s very similar to us,” Auburn coach Malzahn said. “I think about both teams being very hungry.
“We were both kind of down at the bottom at the start of the year. But we’ve improved. I feel like we’ve improved each game. They would probably say the same thing.”
The star-man last weekend was Chris Davis, who returned a field goal for a long 100-plus yard touchdown in the win over Alabama, but Malzahn says the senior cornerback has already put that behind him.
“Chris has put that behind him,” revealed Malzahn. “He’s focused on the Missouri Tigers.”
Malzahn also wants his entire team to refocus on what is ahead of them this weekend.
“The big key is putting last week behind us,” he said. “We’re facing a Top 5 team. When we’ve turned the film on, it got our guys’ attention.
“We’re playing for the SEC Championship. If you can’t get fired up for that, there’s something wrong with you. Our guys have had a solid week of practice. They’ve been locked in.”
Auburn will also be hoping No. 2 Ohio State can slip up against No. 10 Michigan State, who square off in the Big Ten championship, as they look to make a strong push for a spot in the BCS title game.
Missouri, since losing to the then-#21 South Carolina in October, has been improving every since and head coach Gary Pinkel is enjoying it.
“We just kept getting better,” he said last week. “Our kids played hard every single game at a very high level.
“I’ve been around a lot of good football teams, but I’ve rarely been around a team like that, playing at the level they did on a consistent basis.”