Game analysis: No. 24 Auburn 45, No. 7 Texas A&M 41
by Mark Edwards
medwards@annistonstar.com
Oct 19, 2013 | 1830 views |  0 comments | 38 38 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Daniel Arias, Auburn senior, chants Saturday at Toomer's Corner in Auburn. The "rolling of Toomer's Corner" came after Auburn defeated Texas A&M. (Photo by Albert Cesare/Associated Press)
Daniel Arias, Auburn senior, chants Saturday at Toomer's Corner in Auburn. The "rolling of Toomer's Corner" came after Auburn defeated Texas A&M. (Photo by Albert Cesare/Associated Press)
slideshow
Offense

This is what we expected when Auburn hired Gus Malzahn — a balanced, productive offense. The Tigers rushed for 379 yards, and Nick Marshall ran for two touchdowns and threw for two more.

There was a lost fumble in the first half, but otherwise, Auburn mostly sparkled when it had the ball.

The Tigers scored touchdowns on four of its last five possessions, including three in the fourth quarter.

Defense

Johnny Manziel worked over Auburn for 502 yards, but the Tigers managed to slow down his charge at a couple of critical times.

They picked off two of his passes in the first half, including once when it appeared Texas A&M was going in for a score.

Also, Dee Ford turned in two big sacks on the Aggies’ final drive. In addition, Jermaine Whitehead broke up what would’ve been the winning touchdown pass to Mike Evans.

Special teams

As usual, Steven Clark was terrific. On five punts, he and his coverage team allowed only 1 return yard.

Cody Parkey made his only field goal attempt, and five of his eight kickoffs went for touchbacks.

Quan Bray had a 40-yard return of a kickoff.

Coaching

Malzahn promised a new day when he arrived, but few probably expected it to happen this soon.

Before the season, even the staunchest Auburn defender would’ve accepted a 6-6 record this year. Through seven games, the Tigers already have six games, and they’ve pulled out a win at a place where No. 1-ranked Alabama had to fight for its life earlier in the season.

Overall

Nick Marshall proved again Malzahn made a solid decision by installing him as the starting quarterback. If you were one of those who said last week Jeremy Johnson’s performance might create a quarterback controversy, don’t you feel a little silly now?

Auburn still has some holes to fix, but who can argue with the results, especially after the biggest win of the year ... so far?

The Tigers are sky high at the moment, and if they can keep this up, who knows how this year might turn out?

Before the year began, the annual Iron Bowl looked like another invitation to an Alabama blowout. Now, it might end up deciding the SEC West championship.
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