Rapid Reaction: Fired up Auburn tames Texas A&M, gives Cadillac Williams 1st win
A fired up Auburn team, inspired by interim head coach Cadillac Williams, showed some life in a 13-10 victory over hapless Texas A&M on Saturday night. In front of a sold-out crowd at Jordan-Hare Stadium, the Tigers moved the ball on the ground against an Aggies defense last in the SEC against the run.
Without running back Devon Achane, their leader on offense, Texas A&M struggled to find an identity. Achane was in a walking boot prior to the game. Freshman quarterback Conner Weigman struggled without Moose Muhammad III, the Aggies’ 2nd-leading receiver. Head coach Jimbo Fisher did not give a reason for not playing Muhammad, who was in uniform and on the sidelines.
Both teams entered the contest on 5-game losing streaks with identical 3-6 (1-5 in the SEC) records. And though the home team had won just 2-of-10 previous meetings between the teams, Auburn was able to come away with a much-needed victory.
Texas A&M still hasn’t won a true road game since last October at Missouri. With the loss, the Aggies (3-7) are assured of their first losing season since 2009. They’ve now lost 6 consecutive games for the first time since the 1972 season.
Auburn extended its slim halftime lead in the final minute of the 3rd quarter on a 34-yard field goal from freshman kicker Alex McPherson, who was filling in for the injured Anders Carlson. The boot gave the Tigers a 10-0 lead they took into the 4th quarter.
The Aggies finally got on the scoreboard with 10:48 to play in the 4th quarter and made it a 1-possession game with a 48-yard field goal by Randy Bond that was set up by an Edgerrin Cooper interception.
A&M pulled within 13-10 when Conner Weigman hit Jalen Preston for a 17-yard TD pass with 1:33 left. Auburn recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.
Auburn scored first late in the opening quarter when Tank Bigsby ripped off a 39-yard run and on the next play, Robby Ashford threw 16 yards to Ja’Varrius Johnson for the touchdown. The 7-0 lead held up through halftime despite the fact that every drive of the first 2 quarters, for both teams, ended on the opponents’ side of the field. But both offenses bogged down around the opposition’s 40-yard line, and 6 of the 8 total 1st-half drives ended in a punt.
Texas A&M’s offense struggled even more after intermission until finally finding the end zone with 2 minutes left.