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No. 20 Texas A&M blows 10-point lead in fourth quarter as Auburn stuns Aggies

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No. 20 Texas A&M was not able to close out Auburn on the road on Saturday afternoon. The Aggies failed to protect a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter and lost to Auburn, 28-24, on the road in the SEC West Division matchup.

Texas A&M had some chances to slam the door on Auburn but could not do it. With a 24-14 lead in the fourth quarter, Texas A&M missed a field goal from 36 yards and Kellen Mond was intercepted on Texas A&M’s next offensive series. That set in motion the rally for Auburn that turned a double-digit deficit into a big division win for the Tigers.

After Auburn cut the Texas A&M lead to 24-21 in the fourth quarter, the Aggies moved the ball to midfield when their drive stalled. A 41-yard punt was returned by Christian Tutt for 28 yards and immediately followed by a short pass from Jarrett Stidham to Ryan Davis that turned into a 47-yard gain. With the ball suddenly at the Texas A&M 11-yard line, Stidham connected with Seth Williams for a go-ahead score.

With the ball one last time, the Aggies failed to get into a position to get a better shot at a game-winning touchdown and relied on Mond to toss it deep in the final seconds. His deep Hail Marry pass fell out of bounds as time seemingly ran out, but officials cleared the field to put one second back on the clock for one more play for the Aggies. The one second added merely gave Nick Coe a chance to get a sack on the final play of the game to seal the win for Auburn.

Stidham passed for 239 yards while completing 18-of-29 attempts with two touchdowns. Darious Slayton was Auburn’s leading receiver with eight catches for 107 yards, but Seth Williams led all players with two touchdown receptions in the Auburn win.

Texas A&M let a solid performance by running back Trayveon Williams go to waste. Williams rushed for 107 yards and two touchdowns on 17 rushing attempts and he added five receptions for 74 yards and a score in the game. Williams was the star of the first half but Auburn played him better defensively in the second half.

Texas A&M will finish up the regular season with three home games beginning next week against Ole Miss. The Aggies are 3-1 at home this season, with the only loss coming back in Week 2 against Clemson by just two points. If Texas A&M can clean up the schedule at home, the Aggies will have a chance at their first 9-win season since 2013, the school’s second season in the SEC. The Aggies need to win out and win a bowl game in order for that to happen.

Although the win feels good and can be a confidence boost, it won’t get much easier for Auburn down the stretch. Auburn travels to Georgia next week and ends the regular season on the road against Alabama with a home game against Liberty sandwiched between. Auburn beat both Georgia and Alabama in the regular season last year, but they also got the Bulldogs and Crimson Tide at home. This year could be a different story with both games being played on the road.

Trayveon Williams scores two touchdowns to give Texas A&M halftime lead at Auburn

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If you are not already familiar with Texas A&M running back Trayveon Williams, perhaps he has grabbed your attention this afternoon. Williams has rushed for 88 yards and a touchdown and added a 14-yard touchdown reception off a screen pass to push the Aggies to a halftime lead at Auburn, 17-14. With both teams jockeying for position in the SEC West standings and for the opportunity to clinch bowl eligibility, Auburn’s defense will have to find a way to clamp down on Williams in the second half.

Texas A&M picked up a field goal off the leg of Seth Small from 35 yards on their first offensive series of the game, capping a 13-play drive that was fueled by running the ball but ultimately stalled when attempting to throw the ball. A fumble by Kellen Mond on the next offensive series for the Aggies gave Auburn a short field to work with from the Texas A&M 20-yard line.

Sal Cannella gave Auburn a 7-3 lead by hauliong in a 20-yard pass from receiver Ryan Davis immediately following the A&M fumble, but Texas A&M responded with a Trayveon Williams touchdown run of 38 yards on the ensuing possession.

Texas A&M headed to halftime with an advantage in offensive yards, 233-127, and the Aggies have been averaging 6.8 rushing yards per attempt while Auburn is struggling with just 1.5 yards per rushing attempt. This one is still upfor grabs, but the Auburn offense needs to find a spark to counter what Williams has been capable of providing for Texas A&M.

With Auburn’s bowl outlook becoming tense, Gus Malzahn sticks with Jarrett Stidham for better or worse

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If any Auburn fan was even thinking that the time has come for Auburn to make a change at quarterback after the Tigers suffered their second loss at home and their third loss overall this season, Gus Malzahn isn’t having it. Malzahn confirmed this week Jarrett Stidham will remain the starting quarterback for the Tigers as they look to turn things around in the second half of the regular season and try to avoid finishing the year in the bottom half of the SEC West.

Jarrett Stidham will be our starting quarterback,” Malzahn said this week, according to Al.com. “He needs to protect the football better; he understands that, but I do have confidence in him and I think he’ll lead us in the right way moving forward.”

After seven games, Stidham is the SEC’s 10th-rated quarterback in passer rating with 1,499 passing yards and seven touchdowns with four interceptions. Last season, Stidham had 3,158 passing yards with 18 touchdowns to six interceptions. Stidham passed for 322 yards and two touchdowns but had two interceptions and a fumble in Auburn’s home loss to Tennessee last weekend.

After the loss to Tennessee, Malzahn said he would begin assessing all areas of the team and make adjustments where he feels they are needed (similar to Miami head coach Mark Richt and his approach after Miami’s second loss of the year; Miami has since made a QB change).

Stidham is overwhelmingly Auburn’s most experienced quarterback, so making any changes would have been a bit surprising. Freshman Cord Sandberg has appeared in just one game this year, attempting and completing one pass for 22 yards. Sophomore Malik Willis has appeared in three games, completing one of two attempts for three yards.

Auburn, already at 1-3 in the SEC standings, will play at Ole Miss on Saturday afternoon. The Rebels are 5-2 and could deal a tough blow for Auburn’s chances of becoming bowl-eligible. Auburn still has home games against Texas A&M and Liberty and road games against Georgia and Alabama this season. Auburn must win two of their remaining games in order to go to a bowl game, and a loss to Ole Miss could make those home games against the Aggies and Liberty must-win games.

It’s going to be Stidham’s job to get Auburn to a bowl game.

Auburn loses two turnovers but leads Tenenssee at halftime

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It has not been the sharpest half of football for the Auburn Tigers, but the home team finds themselves up 17-13 against a Tennessee team looking to score an upset this afternoon. The Tigers lost two turnovers, the second of which quickly led to a game-tying touchdown at the time, but a big touchdown play of their own has given Auburn the lead after one half of play.

Bryce Thompson‘s interception of Jarrett Stidham early in the second quarter led to a game-tying touchdown by the Volunteers five plays later. Jarrett Guarantano completed a 42-yard pass to Ty Chandler for a touchdown./

Auburn wasted no time opening the scoring in the game by driving down the field for a touchdown on the game’s opening possession, but the Vols responded with a field goal on the ensuing possessions. Auburn added to their early lead with a field goal on their next offensive series and remained up by seven when the special teams blocked Tennessee’s second field goal attempt.

Tennessee’s defense came up with a big play with the Thompson interception but the defense got burned by the speed of Anthony Schwartz on Auburn’s next possession late in the second quarter. After catching a short route, Schwartz broke a tackle and took off down the right sideline for a blazing fast 76-yard touchdown.

Stidham has passed for 182 yards, 76 of which came on that long touchdown catch and run by Anthony Schwartz, his lone catch of the game. Tennessee has managed to hang around but still has to capitalize a little bit on any opportunities given to them by Auburn in the second half. This one is still anyone’s game, but the Vols have struggled to win these types of battles.

No. 9 Auburn grinds out 21-16 win over No. 6 Washington, dealing Pac-12 early playoff punch

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No. 9 Auburn (1-0) managed to win a physical and defensive battle against the best the Pac-12 had to offer. The Tigers, fueled by three field goals by Anders Carlson and two key Washington turnovers took home a 21-16 victory over No. 6 Washington in Atlanta in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game.

Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham completed 26 of 36 passes for 273 yards and a touchdown in the victory. Washington’s Jake Browning had a rough afternoon at times, but he did throw for 296 yards and a touchdown. Browning had one pass intercepted though, and a fumbled football in the third quarter from just outside the goal line came back to bite him and the Huskies.

Washington was primed to take a lead before the Browning fumble, but it was Washington’s defense that kept the game within reach for the entire game. Auburn could never find a true knockout blow against Washington until getting a game-winning touchdown on their last full possession of the game.

With Washington working their way to a 16-15 lead following a field goal, Stidham led the Tigers on a touchdown drive traveling 76 yards over 10 plays. JaTarvious Whitlow finished the drive with a 10-yard run, putting the pressure on Washington to find their way back to the end zone. Washington’s last chance on offense ended on a fourth down with 16 yards to go with Browning being sacked by Smoke Monday.

Much will be made about how this severely damages the Pac-12’s chances of getting a College Football Playoff representative at the end of the season, and it is understandable why that would be. Washington may have needed this win more than Auburn might, given the current standings of the SEC and Pac-12. The margin for error in the Pac-12 has been pretty thin the last few seasons, and a win against a top 10 team essentially on the road would have been a nice feather in the cap for the Huskies. But it’s just one game, and the entire college football season still pretty much has to be played. But Washington may not be able to afford another loss the rest of the season, where Auburn now has one of the top wins of the very early season.

Both Auburn and Washington will play their home openers next week against FCS competition. Auburn will host Alabama State, and Washington plays host to North Dakota.