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How the Auburn Tigers have performed when on the road for SEC openers

Auburn hits the road for its first true away game, and its second game in the state of Texas, this week when the Tigers travel to Texas A&M.

The eighth-ranked Tigers are 3-0 and coming off a strong win against an overmatched Kent State team. No. 17 Texas A&M (2-1) cruised past Lamar last week after losing to No. 1 Clemson the week before.

As the Tigers gear up for the Aggies, let’s take a look at how Auburn has performed in past SEC openers (dating back to 2008) in which it was the away team.

2008: Auburn beats Mississippi State 3-2

It had to be this one to start off with, right?

Led by Tommy Tuberville, the Tigers began 2008 with lofty expectations and top-15 preseason rankings from various outlets. That didn’t go quite as planned, and the Mississippi State game was one of the few bright spots — if it can be called one — in an otherwise dire season.

Auburn averaged 15 points per game in five SEC contests. Mississippi State’s offense was just as bad. Throw those two things together, and you get the 3-2 masterclass that’s memorable for all the wrong reasons.

There were eight three-and-outs and three missed field goals. Mississippi State didn’t make it to the Auburn side of the field until the third quarter. The Tigers committed 12 penalties and lost three fumbles.

The Bulldogs’ only points came from an Auburn holding penalty in the end zone.

Both teams would finish the season with losing records, and both Tuberville and Mississippi State coach Sylvester Croom were asked to resign at the end of their respective seasons.

2010: Auburn beats Mississippi State 17-14

This one will bring back better memories for Auburn fans.

2010 Heisman winner Cam Newton threw for two touchdowns and accounted for 206 yards of total offense, though the Tigers had to rely on their defense to pull out the three-point win. Nick Fairley finished with 2.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and an interception.

The Bulldogs recovered an onside kick after narrowing Auburn’s lead to 17-14, but the offense had three empty plays before punting. Then, on Mississippi State’s final drive, a Bulldogs receiver dropped a pass that would’ve put them in field goal range.

Auburn finished the year unbeaten and beat Oregon 22-19 in the BCS National Championship.

2012: Auburn falls 28-10 to Mississippi State

With the Auburn offense struggling in the first half, Onterio McCalebb returned the second half kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown to give the Tigers a 10-7 lead. It was all Mississippi State after that.

Tigers quarterback Kiehl Frazier turned the ball over five times — three interceptions and two fumbles — and the Tigers were outgained 388-216.

The loss dropped Auburn to 0-2 following a season-opening loss to Clemson in Atlanta. Head coach Gene Chizik was released following the season after the Tigers finished 3-9 and winless in conference play. They would make a national championship appearance the following season under first-year head coach Gus Malzahn.

2015: Auburn falls 45-21 to LSU

A forgettable 2015 season that saw Auburn lose to LSU, Georgia and Alabama began with a 24-point loss to the Tigers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Oh, and the Tigers needed overtime to beat Jacksonville State the week prior.

Leonard Fournette ran wild with 228 rushing yards, including a 71-yard run on his first carry of the game, and a touchdown run in which he bulldozed an Auburn defender. He scored three touchdowns and averaged a whopping 12 yards per carry.

Jeremy Johnson was the Tigers’ leading rusher with 41 yards, and threw for 100 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception.

What’s next:

Auburn faces Texas A&M Saturday at 2:30 p.m. CT (3:30 p.m. EST) at Kyle Field in College Station, Texas. The game will be televised on CBS.

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Joshua Mixon is a reporter for the Ledger-Enquirer. He covers sports (Auburn and preps) and local news, and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America. He previously covered Georgia athletics for the Telegraph. You can follow him on Twitter @JoshDMixon.
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