The Auburn defense couldn’t do much to stop the Texas A&M offense on Saturday, allowing 509 yards of total offense, including 313 on the ground.
“We couldn’t stop the run and we couldn’t get off the field,” said head coach Gus Malzahn. “They kept the ball away [from us].”
The Aggies had four touchdown scoring drives of 75 or more yards in the game. Quarterback Kellen Mond had 196 passing yards and two touchdowns, adding 60 yards on the ground and a rushing score.
On Saturday, Mond became the third quarterback in SEC history with 9,000 passing yards and 1,500 rushing yards in a career, joining Tim Tebow and Dak Prescott.
“[Mond] is a good quarterback,” said defensive end Big Kat Bryant. “He sees things and he takes advantage of them.”
The 313 rushing yards allowed against the Aggies are the most since Mississippi State's 349 rushing yards against the Tigers in 2018. Texas A&M finished the game with three rushers having more than 60 yards on the ground.
“That’s pressure, especially with us,” said safety Jordyn Peters. “We always pride ourselves on stopping the run first.”
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The run defense, or lack thereof, ended up being a key in Auburn's loss.
“It was just a matter of stopping the run,” Malzahn said. “It’s pretty simple, we just didn’t stop them.”
The Tigers had a chance to turn things around defensively early in the fourth quarter as they were up six with the Aggies driving down the field. A tipped pass by linebacker Zakoby McClain bounced out of McClain’s hands and into Texas A&M’s Jalen Wydermyer for his second score of the afternoon.
“When you're playing a good team, it’s going to come down to a few plays for a chance to win,” Malzahn said. "We thought we picked it off, it got tipped and [Wydermyer] made a touchdown. It went from one extreme to the other, and it gave them a little distance to go up by eight.”
The lack of defensive stops was most prevalent in the fourth quarter as the Aggies scored 17 points and held Auburn scoreless.
In the fourth quarter, the Tigers gave up 168 yards of total offense to the Aggies and allowed A&M to convert on 4-of-5 third-down attempts. A&M led in time of possession in the fourth with 10:59 compared to Auburn's 4:01.
The Tigers will travel to Starksville, Mississippi, next Saturday to take on Mississippi State in the regular-season finale. Several players mentioned how important it is to them to finish the season with a win.
“[We need to] finish,” Peters said. “I don’t care what the record says … I want to play with my brothers. I want to win with my brothers."
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