Auburn made mistakes, looked completely out of sorts on offense, and had the type of game we hadn’t seen from Bo Nix in more than a month. All of that combined against a great defense turns into an affair where the Tigers fail to score a touchdown and fall 20-3 to Texas A&M at College Station.
With the loss, Auburn falls to 6-3 (3-2 in the SEC), while A&M improves to 7-2 (4-2 in the SEC). This wasn’t the type of game to make you stand in awe of either offense, tied 3-3 at halftime, but it was the type of game with hard-hitting defense and recalling the type of games we were accustomed to in the league fifteen years ago. While Auburn controlled its destiny in the SEC coming in, the Tigers now need an A&M loss to put them back in the driver’s seat for the division.
The first quarter went fairly quickly, thanks to a pair of lengthy drives keeping CBS’ money-hungry hands out of the commercial breaks, but the Tigers’ first possession went for naught. After a couple of first downs, the Tigers went backward and were forced to punt. Texas A&M proceeded to embark on a long drive, spanning 80 yards on 14 plays, and the Aggies notched a field goal from inside the 5-yard line to break open the scoring.
Auburn responded with a similar drive, moving 14 plays for a field goal of their own to tie the game at 3-3 with :20 remaining in the first quarter. After the end of the quarter, both teams alternated punts three times apiece before A&M started to make moves on a drive near the end of the second quarter. Auburn had failed on two drives starting around midfield and gotten no points, and the Aggies were trying to take advantage to take the lead just before the half. After reaching the Auburn 24-yard line, Seth Small missed a 41-yard field goal to keep the game tied 3-3.
Getting the ball right back, Auburn was able to achieve one first down on a completion from Bo Nix to John Samuel Shenker, but nothing more and they punted for the fourth consecutive time. With one final shot at the end of the half, A&M got flagged for a holding penalty and ended any chance to score, and the half ended tied 3-3.
FIRST HALF STATS
Out of the intermission, Auburn sent the Aggies backward on a quick three-and-out, and had a chance to break the 3-3 tie, and went on a solid drive to open the third quarter. Bo nix completed passes to Luke Deal and John Samuel Shenker, but the drive went for naught when Anders Carlson pushed a 33-yard field goal wide right.
A&M then rebounded, marching 68 yards on 10 plays and breaking the tie with Seth Small’s second field goal of the game, this time from 29 yards out. After another three and out, the Tigers allowed another Small field goal from 48 yards away to give the Aggies a 9-3 lead at the start of the fourth quarter.
From here, the Tigers were behind the gun needing a touchdown, and Bo Nix faltered. On a called flea flicker, Nix dropped the toss back to him before looking deep, and had to recover before flinging the ball safely away. On the next play, Nix ran to his left and dropped the ball, only to have it recovered by A&M’s Michael Clemons and run back 24 yards for the game’s first touchdown. A&M led 15-3, but Zach Calzada converted the 2-point conversion and the Aggies held a 17-3 edge early in the fourth quarter.
Auburn had to punt on the next drive, and A&M nearly put the hammer down with a Devin Achane touchdown run, but after 68 yards he fumbled and Roger McCreary recovered to give the Tigers a small sliver of life. However, the Tigers couldn’t manage to reach A&M territory on the next possession, failing on fourth down near midfield and turning the ball back over. A&M added a final field goal and kneeled out the victory shortly thereafter to win 20-3.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
This is a tough one, but we’re going to go with Ladarius Tennison. He had the penalty on the fair catch early on in the game, but after that he was one of Auburn’s best defenders. He finished with 8 tackles and a tackle for loss. We can’t with any honesty say that anyone on the offense deserves an honor here.
Auburn will return home next Saturday to take on #17 Mississippi State for an early kickoff at 11 AM CST/12 PM EST. Mississippi State will be coming in after a wild 31-28 loss to Arkansas in Fayetteville.