The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

October 23, 2013

Malzahn leads No. 11 Auburn to huge turnaround

ATHENS — AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Auburn defensive end Dee Ford has visions of another surprising national title run.

Even if that proves a stretch, the 11th-ranked Tigers have risen from a dreadful season to the brink of the Top 10 with an about-face that's come with the rapidity of the next play in Gus Malzahn's no-huddle offense.

A road upset of Johnny Manziel and then-No. 7 Texas A&M vaulted Auburn (6-1, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) 13 spots in the rankings and made the Tigers perhaps the chief challenger to No. 1 Alabama in the Western Division.

Ford's ambition goes beyond that. Way beyond.

"I think we can win it all. You know?" he said. "There's no reason to say that we can't. We said we wanted to have the biggest turnaround in college football. Why not win it all?

"But we're going to keep getting better every practice, every game, every week, and look and see where it can take us. We can definitely win it all if we do that."

It would be an even bigger surprise than the Tigers' 2010 national title. Only this time there's no Cam Newton leading the way.

Auburn is certainly in an unexpected position after Saturday's 45-41 win over the Aggies, who won last year's meeting by six touchdowns.

The Tigers have already doubled their win total from last season when they lost all eight SEC games, many of them in ugly fashion.

Malzahn set about installing his fast-paced offense, run by dual-threat junior college transfer Nick Marshall, and repeatedly preaching his "it's a new day" theme.

His latest refrain, uttered after most games, is "We haven't arrived." Malzahn trotted it out twice on Tuesday.

"You look across college football, the teams that don't keep improving throughout the year, it's relevant," Malzahn said on Tuesday. "There's a lot of ups and downs and that's our challenge. We've got to keep rolling, take it one game at a time and stay focused."

Text Only
Sports
Poll

A recent national telephone survey found 75 percent of respondents believe the sale and use of pot will eventually be legal nationwide. Do you think marijuana should be legal in Alabama?

Yes
No
No, but I don’t think pot smokers should go to jail
Yes, but only for medical use
Yes, but only for personal adult use
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee