COLLEGE STATION, Texas — After slow starts the past three weeks, No. 8 Auburn got off to the fast start its been looking for all season Saturday afternoon at Kyle Field.
The Auburn defense overwhelmed Kellen Mond and Tigers' head coach Gus Malzahn went into his bag of tricks to jump on the Aggies early, grabbing a 28-20 win over No. 17 Texas A&M to open SEC play.
Each of the first two touchdowns for the Auburn offense came with a touch of trickery, catching the Texas A&M defense off guard and unprepared. On the first drive of the game, Anthony Schwartz took a reverse play 57 yards for a touchdown to cap a 4-play, 75-yard scoring drive. And two possessions later, Joey Gatewood added his first touchdown pass of the season, finding a wide-open John Samuel Shenker for a 6-yard touchdown on a play-action pass to put the Tigers up 14-0 early.
After allowing a field goal, Auburn entered halftime with a 14-3 lead. The Aggies had just 12 yards rushing in the first half, and 154 yards of total offense.
The second half didn't start much better.
The Auburn defense immediately set the tone out of the locker room. Daniel Thomas forced and recovered a fumble on the first play of the second half, which would have been the Aggies' largest run of the game, setting the Tigers up with a short field for their first possession of the third quarter, which would eventually lead to a touchdown.
After the turnover, freshman quarterback Bo Nix led the offense down the field and found Seth Williams, in his first game back from a shoulder injury, on a 9-yard slant to give the Tigers a 21-3 early in the third quarter.
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Texas A&M scored its first touchdown of the game with a 27-yard touchdown pass from Kellen Mond to Quartney Davis to open the fourth quarter, which trimmed the Tigers' lead to 21-10. Auburn answered back with a 12-play, 69-yard touchdown drive that was capped off by an 8-yard rushing touchdown by JaTarvious Whitlow that made it 28-10.
A 23-yard field goal and a late scoring drive by the Aggies made it 28-20, but Auburn recovered the onsides kick and the offense picked up a first down to seal the road win to improve to 4-0 on the season.
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