The No. 17 Texas A&M football team was bested as the No. 8 Auburn Tigers visited Kyle Field on Saturday. The Tigers scored on the opening possession and never looked back on the way to a 28-20 win in the Southeastern Conference matchup.
The Auburn defense controlled much of the game, not allowing A&M to convert in the end zone until midway through the third quarter. Through the first half, the Aggies were unable to find momentum on offense as they were forced to punt on seven consecutive possessions and were only able to come away with three points going into halftime.
A&M quarterback Kellen Mond said it has always been important for the team to be able to capitalize off a good start to the game so that they don’t have to work from behind so early.
“That’s always hard,” Mond said. “Even since last year, one of the biggest things that we needed to focus on is getting started early, and whether that would be in the running game or in the passing game, just getting points on the board.”
Auburn’s freshman quarterback Bo Nix did not headline the game for the Tigers’ offense but was still solid throughout when he needed to be as he went 12-of-20 for 100 yards. Fellow freshman quarterback Joey Gatewood took a few snaps and threw for one of Auburn’s four touchdowns.
A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher said Auburn played a balanced game and the Aggies were not able to match that due to their numerous miscues, which included three fumbles and one that was recovered by the Tigers, eight penalties and a pair of missed field goals.
“You have to go do your job,” Fisher said. “No matter what the situation in play is…They were better at it today than we were and that’s a very big part.”
One of those miscues came early in the third quarter.
On the opening play of the second half, freshman running back Isaiah Spiller gave the Aggies a 13-yard run in an attempt to create some early momentum. That was halted, however when Spiller fumbled and Auburn recovered.
Following the turnover, the Nix and the Tiger offense took six plays to get down the field and capitalize with a nine-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Seth Williams.
In the fourth quarter, the Aggies were able to put a couple of drives together that led to a 27-yard touchdown reception by junior wide receiver Quartney Davis. The A&M offense proved to be more productive through the final quarter of the game but were only able to convert in the red zone once more with a touchdown catch by freshman wide receiver Ainias Smith.
Junior wide receiver Jhamon Ausbon said the slip-ups on offense squashed what little momentum the Aggies managed to find.
“It’s very frustrating when you game-plan all week and you go out there and don’t see what you want to see,” Ausbon said. “When we just can’t execute down there in the red zone…It killed the drives.”
Looking forward to next week, junior linebacker Buddy Johnson said the team has to put this game behind them and clean things up in order to move on.
“Most definitely we have to look at the film and correct the mistakes,” Johnson said. “But at the same time this is a learning curve for us.”
The Aggies travel to Arlington to face the Arkansas Razorbacks in the Southwest Classicat AT&T Stadium on Sept. 28. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m.