Auburn vs. Texas A&M score, takeaways: No. 8 Tigers utilize strong defense to remain unbeaten
Gus Malzahn didn't ask much of freshman Bo Nix on Saturday to pick up the win in College Station
No. 8 Auburn jumped out in front of No. 17 Texas A&M early and never looked back, pulling away for a 28-20 win in College Station in what was one of the most significant conference results of the early SEC season.
The Tigers defensive front set the tone for the game, establishing dominance in the trenches and keeping the Aggies out of the end zone for the first three quarters of the game. Texas A&M only had about three good scoring opportunities in that stretch and each time they were left settling for field goal attempts, connecting just once.
Gus Malzahn didn't put a lot on Bo Nix's plate, even using Joey Gatewood for specialized packages that included one of Auburn's four touchdowns. Nix completed 12-of-20 passes for just 100 yards and added 38 rushing yards, but he also kept plays and drives alive and, most importantly, took care of the ball and prevented Texas A&M from getting any easy opportunities off miscues.
Texas A&M allowed Auburn to score on its first possession with a 57-yard run in part because a communication issue with the defense, according to a report from the CBS broadcast. Then at the start of the second half, an Isaiah Spiller run on the Aggies first play from scrimmage was punched out for one of three fumbles (though the only one lost).
The great position off that fumble helped set up Nix for his only touchdown pass of the game, a toss to Seth Williams on second and goal.
Texas A&M's mistakes and the speed with which this game got out of hand is going to turn a lot of the attention back on Jimbo Fisher and the expectations for 2019. No one selected Texas A&M as a potential dark horse in the SEC West because they play one of the toughest schedules in the country coming into the season. But this is a program that, with its investment in Fisher, has declared its intention to compete for championships. This was a true toss-up game against a division opponent in a season where every win is going to be huge for the final count because of its schedule, and Texas A&M didn't show up with its best football. That's a massive disappointment for those in College Station, as Auburn improved to 4-0 overall while the Aggies fell to 2-2 at the quarter pole of the regular season.
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