Auburn got a balanced effort on offense, a couple big special teams plays, and overcame a sleep first quarter on the road to beat Texas A&M 42-27 to improve to 7-2 on the year.
Texas A&M broke a big play to begin the game, with Trayveon Williams bursting for 40 yards to move the Aggies into Auburn territory, and the drive ended with a 39-yard field goal by Daniel LaCamera to give A&M a 3-0 lead early on.
Auburn’s first drive came up empty after the Tigers had a successful fake field goal called back on a holding penalty, and Daniel Carlson’s 48-yard attempt was blocked. The Tigers forced a quick three and out, and got the ball back for their second possession trailing 3-0.
After both sides stalled offensively for the rest of the first quarter, Auburn started a drive just after the second period began, and went 75 yards on 12 plays, scoring on a 2yd TD pass from Jarrett Stidham to Kerryon Johnson. The score put Auburn on top 7-3 with eleven minutes to play in the half. However, A&M countered. With Kellen Mond ineffective, the Aggies turned to Nick Starkel, and he immediately drove 80 yards in 9 plays, and Texas A&M went back on top with a two-yard touchdown run from Keith Ford with four minutes to play in the half.
Needing something good to happen on offense after the passing game had seemingly stalled, the Tigers went quickly. They loosened up the A&M defense with a couple good runs around the end from Kerryon Johnson, and then Stidham got the protection he needed to complete the deep bomb to Darius Slayton for a 53-yard touchdown. The score put Auburn back on top 14-13 with 1:35 to go in the second quarter.
Trying to take a lead before Auburn got the ball back to start the second half, A&M began a drive but was forced to punt quickly with just 20 seconds left in the half. Nick Ruffin broke through the line and blocked the kick, and it was recovered in the end zone for another touchdown to give Auburn a 21-13 lead as we hit the intermission.
The third quarter was eventful, to say the least. After three-and-outs for each side, Jarrett Stidham found Ryan Davis for a short touchdown to cap a 64-yard drive. Stidham’s third touchdown of the game gave Auburn a 28-13 lead, which then became 35-13 after a terrible punt gave Auburn a short field. Stidham hit Slayton down to the 2-yard line, and Kerryon Johnson scored his second touchdown one play later.
A&M did get one back on a quick-hitter from Nick Starkel to Damion Ratley. Ratley took a slant 62 yards for a touchdown to cut the lead down to 35-20 midway through the third quarter. Then Daniel Carlson had his second field goal attempt of the day blocked from 52 yards out, and the Aggies had momentum and the ball in Auburn territory.
Texas A&M drove down inside the Auburn five-yard line, but decided not to kick the field goal on 4th and 2, and Auburn held, denying the Aggies the scoring opportunity as the fourth quarter began. Auburn got a bit of a bailout on third down to begin the drive from their own four-yard line as a pass interference gave the Tigers a first down, but they slowly moved down the field and capped a 96-yard drive with a short Eli Stove touchdown run to take a 42-20 lead. The possession took 8:17 off the clock, effectively icing the game.
Texas A&M did score again, on a 4th down pass with around three minutes to play to cut the lead down to fifteen, but Auburn ran out the clock on its next possession.
Overall, Auburn gaines 496 total yards on the day, holding Texas A&M to 343 yards. Jarrett Stidham threw for 268 yards and three touchdowns with no picks on 20-27 passing, and Kerryon Johnson rumbled for a hard-earned 145 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries. Johnson also caught a touchdown pass, but Darius Slayton was the leading receiver on the day with 99 yards and a touchdown on two catches, while Ryan Davis caught seven passes for 80 yards and a touchdown.
Auburn will play Georgia next weekend at home, with kickoff yet to be determined. The Tigers and Bulldogs will either begin at 2:30 pm CST or 6 pm CST, depending on what the networks decide to do. The Tigers now sit at 7-2 and 5-1 in SEC play, while Texas A&M falls to 5-4, 3-3 in the SEC.