Auburn 45, Texas A&M 41: Initial thoughts on the Tigers' win over the Aggies.

Thomas B. Shea

The Tigers are back.

Auburn went in to Kyle Field as 12.5-point underdog, and the Tigers left with a 45-41 win over the No. 7 Aggies. There were highs; there were lows. But in the end, Gus Malzahn's team gutted out a victory that left fans with a feeling not felt since 2010. Initial thoughts:

  • Ellis Johnson's strategy of using a deep rotation on the D-line to keep players fresh has turned out to be brilliant. Against Ole Miss, the Tigers snuffed out the Rebels final drive with sacks. That happened again against A&M.
  • Auburn did exactly what it needed to in order to win: force turnovers and execute on offense. The Tigers went through an offensive lull in the second half, but they finished with 615 yards, 379 on the ground. The two Johnny Manziel interceptions resulted in 10 Auburn points.
  • The end of the first half -- essentially a 14-point swing -- was brutal. That Auburn was able to come back from that was impressive.
  • Tre Mason: 27 carries, 178 yards, game-winning touchdown. Incredible performance. We love this man.
  • Nick Marshall: 236 yards passing, 100 yards rushing, four total TDs. Couldn't have one it without him. Hopefully, anyone calling for Jeremy Johnson to start over a healthy Marshall is quieted. Marshall will have his issues with accuracy, but his poise and confidence is a big reason Auburn is winning.
  • Mike Evans: Really glad Auburn doesn't have to play him again.
  • Johnny Manziel is tough as nails. Coming back from that shoulder injury to almost lead his team to a win was pure guts. A tip of the hat to him.
  • 615 yards of offense. My goodness.
  • Auburn is back. Who knows what will happen during the rest of the year, but Auburn can win every game left on the schedule. The Tigers probably won't run the table, but after this, it's time to start dreaming.
  • It's hard to believe, but 3-9 seems long, long ago. Thank you, Gus.

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