Auburn falls to Texas A&M, offensive struggles continue

Auburn quarterback Payton Thorne, left, is sacked by Texas A&M defensive lineman Walter Nolen,...
Auburn quarterback Payton Thorne, left, is sacked by Texas A&M defensive lineman Walter Nolen, right, and linebacker Chris Russell Jr., bottom, during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023, in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/Sam Craft)(Sam Craft | AP)
Published: Sep. 23, 2023 at 3:44 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 23, 2023 at 4:20 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

COLLEGE STATION, Tx. (WSFA) - The 3-0 Auburn Tigers went into College Station on Saturday looking to extend their win streak to 4. The Aggies had other plans, however, and the Tigers fell 27-10 Saturday afternoon.

On the game-opening drive, the Auburn defense did what they had all season so far, and that is bend but not break. They allowed the Aggie offense to move into Auburn territory, but the Tiger defense took care of business on third and short, sacking Aggies quarterback Conner Weigman. The sack forced the Aggies to kick a 51-yard field goal, which Randy Bond sent sailing through the uprights and putting Texas A&M on the board first.

The Offensive struggles continued for Auburn on the ensuing drive, and in three short plays, they were forced to punt it back to Texas A&M. The Aggies once again moved down the field into scoring range, but once again, the Tiger defense forced them to settle for three points instead of six.

The remainder of the first half became a defensive battle with six collective drives where the ball was either turned over of downs or punted away.

It was not until the final minutes of the half that either team could put together a decent offensive drive when Auburn finally found a way to put some points on the scoreboard. After Thorne was sacked on third and long, Alex McPherson and the Auburn kicking unit took the field to attempt a 53-yard field goal. McPherson nailed the long field goal, and the teams went into the locker room at the half, only split by three points.

The Tiger defense finally broke early on in the second quarter. Max Johnson came into the game at quarterback for the Aggies in relief of an injured Weigman. Johnson went to the air and four for four through the air, finishing things off with a 22-yard touchdown pass to Jake Johnson.

Head Coach Hugh Freeze sent Robbie Ashford in on the ensuing drive, looking to spark something for the struggling Auburn offense. However, the drive ended in the same result, and three plays later, the Auburn punt team returned to the field, giving the Aggies the ball back.

Texas A&M, now with all the momentum, marched 65 yards down the field, and Johnson once again connected with a receiver in the endzone. This time, Johnson found Evan Stewart for a 37-yard touchdown pass into the endzone. Suddenly, Auburn found themselves down 17 points with just over six minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Early in the fourth quarter, the Auburn defense came up with the team’s first touchdown of the day. Rueben Owens lost control of the ball as an Auburn defender hit him. Eugene Asante took the ball out of mid-air and sprinted 67 yards down the sideline into the endzone, cutting the Aggie lead down to 10.

The offensive struggles continued for Auburn, and on their next possession, they were forced to punt with under five minutes remaining in the game. The Aggies took over on their own 14-yard line, and the Tiger defense made its first big mistake of the day. Amari Daniels exploded for a 79-yard run to the Auburn four-yard line, and on the next play, Le’Veon Moss punched in a four-yard score.

Auburn’s offense was unable to make anything happen when they got the ball back, ultimately turning the ball over on downs, and the Aggies were victorious in front of their home crow.

Auburn will have to shake this loss off quickly and find a way to create some offense because next up for the Tigers is the deep south’s oldest rivalry with the Georgia Bulldogs at home next Saturday afternoon at 2:30 p.m.

Not reading this story on the WSFA News App? Get news alerts FASTER and FREE in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store!