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Auburn Owns the Trenches at Texas A&M

By Dave Holcomb
SouthernPigskin.com
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Behind dominant performances from both its offensive and defensive lines, Auburn cruised to a 28-20 win at Kyle Field.

The final box score wasn’t the prettiest, and they aren’t quite getting great quarterback play like the other Top 10 SEC teams, but Auburn picked up another big victory on the road against Texas A&M.

Behind dominant performances from both its offensive and defensive lines, Auburn cruised to a 28-20 win at Kyle Field. Auburn is 4-0 at College Station since Texas A&M entered the SEC; only six other programs have won four straight games at Kyle Field in history.

Texas A&M scored 17 points on its final three possessions to make the score more respectable, but Auburn built an 18-point lead behind one of the oldest winning formula in football -- establishing the ground game and stopping the run.

Auburn posted 193 yards on the ground Saturday, which was the program’s most rushing yards in an SEC game since last October against Ole Miss. Last season, the Texas A&M defense held Auburn to 19 rushing yards, but in this year’s matchup, the Tigers ran for 68 yards on their opening possession.

Behind its rushing attack, Auburn built a 14-0 lead. Trailing by at least two possessions for basically the rest of the afternoon, Texas A&M threw its running game out the window. Not that it would have mattered because the Aggies couldn’t move the ball on the ground anyway.

Auburn held Texas A&M to just 56 rushing yards and 2.7 yards per rush. Quarterback Kellen Mond did keep the Aggies in the game, throwing two touchdowns in the fourth quarter and posting 335 passing yards. But it took him 49 attempts to reach those totals.

Texas A&M will likely have three more shots at Top 10 teams this season, but if the Aggies hope to win any of those games, they need to display more offensive balance. Despite out gaining Auburn 391-299, it never felt as though Texas A&M was close to mounting a comeback.

With under 300 yards of offense, Auburn doesn’t exactly walk away from this game without offensive improvements to make, but in the SEC, programs can win a lot of games with a stout defense, especially against the run, and a dominant running game.

Freshman quarterback Bo Nix didn’t fill the stat sheet, but he made big plays when Auburn needed them.

One of his biggest was a simple six-yard run. On third-and-5 with 1:11 left in the game, Nix pulled the ball back on the run-option and had a wide-open lane to the outside for the first down. After converting, like a savvy veteran, he slid to stay in bounds, letting the clock run. Without any Texas A&M timeouts, that ended the game.

Fellow signal caller Joey Gatewood played sparingly, but he made a couple big plays when called upon as well. Gatewood threw only one pass, and it was a six-yard touchdown.

Nix finished 12 of 20 with 100 passing yards and a touchdown. He’s already poised beyond his years, and he will continue to get better as the season goes.

A big road win in one of the most hostile crowds in the conference should give him and his entire team a ton of confidence. By the end of the season, Auburn just might start getting that elite quarterback play to go with its dominant run attack and defensive line.