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Game Preview and Open Thread - #8 Auburn @ #16 Texas A&M

Huge road test today, folks!

NCAA Football: Kent State at Auburn Julie Bennett-USA TODAY Sports

Are you ready to see how much Auburn’s actually improved over the past three weeks?

I am.

It’s been an uneasy time for Auburn fans during the first few weeks of the season as the Tigers have struggled at times to a 3-0 record. However, all that really matters is that Auburn is 3-0. We’ve got a win over a conference title contender in Oregon, and one of the top Group of Five opponents in Tulane. Thankfully we had an easy time last weekend with Kent State and hopefully got some good work in on the way to improvement.

Today’s different. Auburn heads out to the Lone Star State for the second time this year already, and it’ll probably be the biggest test of the young season. Texas A&M is going to try to white out our guys, but Auburn’s bringing in the full-on Stormtrooper uniforms as Gus looks to take the overall lead in his battle against Jimbo Fisher.

For Auburn, today’s largely about Bo Nix and the offensive line. If we can see a continuation of what the line did last week against Kent (apples to oranges, yes), then today might be a ton of fun. Give Bo some time to throw, and it could be a really promising afternoon. We will need to worry about the wide receivers, though, as Seth Williams and Anthony Schwartz won’t be 100% even if they play. Thankfully, Eli Stove, Sal Cannella, and Will Hastings have made good strides this season, and today could be a huge opportunity for Matthew Hill to make his presence known.

The running game did what it was supposed to do last week, running for over 460 yards, and I think Gus may have found a bit of a groove. You know it takes him a few weeks to figure out exactly what he wants to do, and it looked like we may have gotten a couple of running plays down pat. Last season Auburn ran for 19 yards against Texas A&M — and won — but we’ll need some more support in that aspect today if the Tigers expect to win in College Station.

Defensively, I’m not super worried. I fully expect the Aggies to roll down the field and score on the opening drive, but adjustments will be made and the defense will clamp down after that. If Texas A&M scores more than two touchdowns, our chances for the win diminish greatly. However, I don’t think they’re going to have much success on offense. A&M scored 3 non-garbage time points against Clemson, and I have a feeling that Auburn’s on a similar (or advanced) level compared to the relatively young Dabo D.

For the season as a whole, this game could be indicative of how things will turn out. If Auburn shows a listless effort as a slight road dog today, then trips to Baton Rouge and Gainesville might not be fun. If they show improvement, then latter road excursions could turn into landmark Saturdays when we look back at 2019. Of course it all builds to November, when the biggest games appear on the schedule. There’s a ton of time between now and then, though, and today’s going to be one of those afternoons that we point to just like in 2013. It’s time for Auburn to turn 2019 into a season for the ages.


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