COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS. (WSFA) The defense for the No. 8 Auburn Tigers (4-0, 1-0) was suffocating yet again relinquishing only 20 points in a 28-20 win over No. 17 Texas A&M (2-2, 0-1).
It was the SEC opener for the Tigers, but that didn’t phase them. They jumped ahead 14-0 early via an Anthony Schwartz 57-yard touchdown run on Auburn’s opening possession of the game.
Then towards the end of the first quarter, Joey Gatewood from tossed a 6-yard touchdown pass to John Samuel Shenker to put the Tigers ahead 14-0.
The Aggies were snakebitten by two missed field goals in the first half, including one going into halftime.
The Aggies opened the second half fumbling on their first possession. It was a forced fumble recovered by Auburn’s Daniel Thomas. The Tigers then turned that turnover into points.
Bo Nix led a short seven-play drive that ended with a touchdown pass to Seth Williams on the goal line. Williams ran a slant pattern and Nix found him for the score.
The score remained 21-3 until the fourth quarter. The Auburn defense was simply too much for the Aggies in College Station. TAMU found life in the fourth quarter but by then it was too little, too late.
Aggies quarterback Kellen Mond was having a tough afternoon until he threw his first of two touchdown passes. The first was a 27-yarder to Quartney Davis.
Auburn answered back, punching it in with JaTarvious Whitlow after a 12-play drive to extend the lead back to 28-10. Auburn’s defense held strong to force a Texas A&M field goal to make it 28-13 with 5:36 left.
The Auburn offense was unable to run hardly any clock next time out and was forced to punt it back to a TAMU team that looked to be finding its way in the fourth. Mond threw his second touchdown pass to cut the lead to 28-20 and all of a sudden the pressure was thrown back on the Auburn offense.
Texas A&M went for an onside kick and failed, which meant if Auburn could gain one first down the game was over. Facing third and short and 1:20 left in the game, Malzahn called a read-option where Nix kept the ball and raced around the left end sliding in bounds to not only gain the first down, but ensure the clock would start on the next whistle.
Malzahn showed great trust in his freshman quarterback to ice the game in the team’s first SEC game of the year. The Tigers pulled out the win despite being outgained 391-299 largely thanks to a strong start to open the game. The defense held TAMU to just 56 rushing yards.
Auburn is back home next Saturday for a 6 p.m. date with the Mississippi State Bulldogs.