In the fourth quarter against No. 8 Auburn, No. 17 Texas A&M scored 17 points, had 146 total offensive yards and held the Tigers to only 76 yards.
Despite the success they found to close out the game, the Aggies struggled heavily in the first quarter, both offensively and defensively. A&M had only 82 passing and 14 rushing in the first quarter, while Auburn was able to compile 135 total offensive yards to lead 14-3 going into halftime.
Junior quarterback Kellen Mond said it is critical for A&M to start faster as the team moves forward with Southeastern Conference play.
“That’s how we have to play in the first half, just like the game is on the line,” Mond said.
The Aggies lacked a sense of urgency through most of the game, especially at the start of each half, A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher said.
“We didn’t start the halves very well and that’s something we try to take pride in,” Fisher said.
In order to improve moving forward, it is crucial for the team to rely on each other and learn from this loss, junior wide receiver Jhamon Ausbon said.
“It’s really important to stay together here,” Ausbon said. “This is a time where we have to really come together and just stay a family.”
Junior linebacker Buddy Johnson said the team must put the loss behind them to be successful moving forward.
“Now is the time the team is going to have to come together and play as one and not just fall apart,” Johnson said.
Despite leading Auburn in almost every statistic, the Aggies lost the game 28-20, and the score makes it seem a lot closer than it actually was.
A&M had 391 total yards of offense, compared to Auburn’s 299, and more than tripled the Tigers’ number of passing yards 335-106.
Auburn outran the Aggies on the ground, accumulating 193 rushing yards while holding A&M to 56.
The Aggies will have to find success on the ground as they move on to play the No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 teams in the nation later in the season, Fisher said.
“We have to get the running game going,” Fisher said. “We didn’t get it going, that’s for sure.”
It ultimately came down to a few plays for the Aggies — a fumble on the first play of the second half, a reverse route that allowed Auburn to score on the opening drive and two missed field goals.
“We had some opportunities in the game on offense, defense and special teams to make some plays and we were three or four or five plays short,” Fisher said. “That’s what it comes down to when you play really good teams.”
Fisher said he takes a lot of responsibility for the way A&M struggled against Auburn.
“That’s on me,” Fisher said. “I’ll get them right. They’re playing hard. We’ve got to get them to play a little better in critical moments.”
The first step to doing that is focusing on his coaching moving forward, Fisher said.
“The guys didn’t mess up because they wanted to,” Fisher said. “We have to do a better job of coaching them.”