Auburn not enough for Texas A&M, loses sixth straight at home vs. SEC
New year, different result. After winning in College Station for arguably its biggest victory of the 2015 season, Auburn was unable to repeat the feat in its SEC opener on Saturday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
The loss marked the sixth straight loss for Auburn at the venue against SEC competition.
Here’s an analysis of the Tigers’ 29-16 loss to the Aggies.
• The passing game takes a step back: Sean White completed 67 percent of his passes but threw for only 126 yards. John Franklin III was 4-for-8 for 37 yards, so collectively he and White averaged only 4.7 yards per attempt, a figure that has to improve.
• The defense had its moments: Auburn held Texas A&M to five three-and-outs, including three straight to start the second half. On five possessions, the Tigers held the Aggies to five field goals, which kept the game reasonably close. However, a week after yielding 66 rushing yards to Arkansas State, AU surrendered 231 on the ground to A&M. Even though 89 of those yards came on Trayveon Williams’ touchdown run with 6:52 left in the game, the run D took a hit nevertheless.
• Kamryn Pettway has been a pleasant surprise: A week after leading Auburn with 152 yards on 15 attempts, the sophomore finished with a team-high 20 carries for 123 yards and a TD. He has emerged as the Tigers’ primary running back – not bad for a guy who started out as a fullback.
• Auburn struggled with pass protection: After being the only SEC West team to hold Myles Garrett without a sack over the last two seasons, the Tigers allowed the Aggies’ star to sack White twice, while teammate Daeshon Hall had three hurries and a fumble recovery. Even though they won’t face this type of pass rush week after week, the Tigers need to clean up their pass-blocking.
• Kyle Davis needs to be a bigger part of the offense: For the third straight game, the freshman made just one catch. His first two career receptions were each for more than 40 yards. But his third one was for only 11.
Offense: D – A week after finishing with 706 total yards, its highest total since it had 677 in the 2013 SEC Championship Game and the second-most in school history, the Tigers finished with 399 against Texas A&M. Plus, you’re not going to win many SEC games by scoring 16 points.
Defense: C – The margin of defeat would have been much larger had AU not held Daniel LaCamera to five field goals. The Tigers pressured Trevor Knight to a 50 percent completion rate on 40 passes but couldn’t prevent the transfer from Oklahoma from making enough plays to win the game.
Special teams: B – Placekicker Daniel Carlson made his lone attempt from 37 yards. Because of Auburn’s struggles on offense, Kevin Phillips and Ian Shannon had to combine for 9 punts.
Coaching: C – The staff needs to figure out how to be more creative in the passing game, otherwise Auburn will revert to having a one-dimensional offense.
Overall: D – Last week’s win was a step in the right direction. The loss to A&M is a step backwards. Still, the defense deserves credit for how it performed against a deadly offense, forcing five field goals and holding the Aggies to just 2-for-15 on third downs.
Auburn ran the ball 61 percent of the time, which led to a 31:04-28:56 time of possession edge. Plus, when they did throw the ball, the Tigers completed nearly 63 percent of their passes. Auburn can definitely improve upon its 89-play effort.
RB Kamryn Pettway: He produced his second straight 100-yard rushing game. What can he do for an encore?
WR Tony Stevens: A week after making 4 catches for 75 yards and 2 touchdowns, which were all career-highs, he had a game-high 8 receptions for 86 yards.
RB Kerryon Johnson: He rushed 15 times for 60 yards and a score and added a kickoff return for 34 yards.