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Auburn Vs. Virginia, 2011 Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Tre Mason Gets His Big Break

Freshman speed back Tre Mason has been relegated to situational duty this season for the Auburn Tigers, toiling behind start running back Michael Dyer and backup Onterio McCalebb. But with Dyer suspended for the Chick-Fil-A Bowl against Virginia on New Year's Eve, Mason has the chance to breakout as the next superstar of the Tiger backfield.

The Columbus (Ga.) Ledger-EnquirerAnniston (Ala.) Star and Opelika Auburn News all have profiles on Mason, who will likely take the bulk of Dyer's carries against the Cavaliers. In the regular season Mason saw most of his time as the speed back in the Tigers' Wildcat formation (97 total yards on 17 carries). Running backs coach Curtis Luper cited Mason's development in strength and conditioning - the speed back has added 10 pounds since arriving on campus - as a benefit to his ability to suddenly handle the carries of the bruising starter Dyer. 

In addition to Mason's increased role and McCalebb, Luper also hinted at a "mystery" third option:

"It’s a big surprise," Luper said. "There’s a couple versatile guys on our football team that can help us out. We do have a No. 3 and it’s someone we've moved around a little bit. It’ll be exciting to see him get out on the field."

For more on Auburn, check out Track 'Em Tigers. For everything Virginia, vist Streaking The Lawn. For all things college football, visit SB Nation's college football news hub.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.