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Report card: Auburn earns strong marks for upset road win over Texas A&M

Michael Niziolek

mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

Auburn defensive tackle Montravius Adams (1) celebrates after sacking Texas A&M quarterback Kyler Murray, bottom, during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015, in College Station, Texas.
Auburn defensive tackle Montravius Adams (1) celebrates after sacking Texas A&M quarterback Kyler Murray, bottom, during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015, in College Station, Texas. AP Photo

Report Card

Offense B: Auburn’s ground game was impressive with six different players making an impact, five with 20 yards or more. Jovon Robinson seems to have found a role in the offense, and looked impressive establishing himself with career-high 159 yards. Jeremy Johnson made few mistakes in his return to the lineup, but the Tigers relied on a conservative approach in the passing game. Completing nine passes to start the game helped the junior establish some necessary confidence.

Defense A: Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp shrugged off the idea that all is fixed with his group, but holding Texas A&M to 10 points and 303 yards of offense is a good building block. The Tigers did a number of things well – rushed the passer, limit explosive plays, force turnovers – they had struggled with in previous losses. The emergence of true freshman Carlton Davis as a consistent playmaker in the secondary might be the most important development.

Special Teams A: Auburn did a solid job bottling up Texas A&M talented returners. Speedy Noil had a 39-yard return to open the game, but didn’t have much room to run the rest of the night. Daniel Carlson didn’t hit another 50-yarder, but on a windy and rainy night going 4 of 4 on field goals helped the Tigers stay on top.

Coaching B: Auburn dialed up a trick “Woody” play with success. It was one of the first gadget plays the offense deployed successfully this season. On the whole, the Tigers’ play-calling was much better, and kept the game plan simple for Jeremy Johnson’s return to the lineup. The coaching behind the defense was equally as important with the way Muschamp helped reverse Auburn’s struggles against mobile quarterbacks.

Overall B-plus: Auburn settling for field goals on four straight trips inside the red zone keeping it from an ‘A’ grade. One extra touchdown would have turned Saturday’s game into a blowout. The only other black mark for the Tigers were some unnecessary penalties including two unsportsmanlike conduct flags.

Michael Niziolek covers Auburn football for the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. Email him at mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com or follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+

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