Auburn upsets A&M, 45-41
Published: Saturday, October 19, 2013
Updated: Saturday, October 19, 2013 23:10
Despite stellar performances from wide receiver Mike Evans and the Texas A&M offense, the seventh-ranked Aggies were unable to overcome No. 24 Auburn's upset bid, falling to the Tigers 45-41 Saturday at Kyle Field.
After a record 279 yard performance during A&M's week three loss to top-ranked Alabama, Evans surpassed even his own preset notions, garnering 287 receiving yards on 11 catches for four touchdowns against Auburn.
Junior wide receiver Malcome Kennedy was speechless following the game in regard to Evans, saying that his playmaking ability is what has separated him from the rest of the nation's best wideouts.
"[Evans] is a great receiver," Kennedy said. "I don't know what to say. It's awesome to watch him and the plays he makes. When Johnny throws him jump ball, we think "they're going to knock it down this time," but no, he caught it. It's just something he continues to do, and he's become great at it. He's perfected it, really."
As for reigning Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, the sophomore signal caller finished the game 28-of-38 for 454 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. Additionally, Manziel led the team in rushing, picking up 48 yards on 18 carries for one score.
The Aggies received a scare when Manziel was forced off the field due to a injury to his throwing shoulder, which he sustained while attempting to score on a scramble. Manziel reentered the game, but was unable to lead A&M on a game-winning drive to close the fourth quarter.
Despite the loss, Kennedy remained impressed by Manziel's drive to compete and remain in the game, even with the injury.
"Johnny is like superman out there," Kennedy said. "I heard him talking to coaches and trainers saying, 'I gotta go in, I gotta play.' That's just his spirit. To see him be a leader like that, cause we know he was playing through pain, it just motivates us and drives us as a team."
Defensively, A&M was beyond subpar, allowing 615 yards total offense and 45 points to the Tigers, way above its season averages of 474.3 yards per game and 32 points per game.
According to defensive coordinator Mark Snyder, Auburn's offense "manned up" in the fourth quarter, as the Tigers scored 21 points to close the game including a lead-changing drive that ended with just 1:19 left in the game.
"The bottom line was the bottom line — they put on their big boy pads, and they knocked us off the football," Snyder said. "Period."
Following the loss, Sumlin preached to his players and coaches the importance of first learning from their mistakes against Auburn before moving on as a unit. The key, Sumlin said, is not to "dwell" on the game.
"What's important now is not what just happened, but we have to be honest with ourselves win or lose," Sumlin said. "Basically, this time of year teams go in a couple different directions. We can get back in here Monday, be honest with ourselves, and fix what we're going to fix as coaches and players, and then move on. We're in the middle of the season, and there's no telling what can happen in this league. There are a lot of people that lost today too. We have to keep playing. We can't dwell on this, we have to move on."
From a team perspective, sophomore defensive end Julien Obioha believes the team's only direction to go is up, saying the Aggies have a high propensity for recovery and resurgence.
"I think we go up [after this loss]," Obioha said. "We have to go up. That's how we have to react to something like this. We have to work harder so that we will never feel like this ever again, so that we never get another loss."