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AUBURN –The grades for Auburn following its 13-10 win in a defensive slugfest with Texas A&M.
Robby Ashford’s scrambling heroics nearly saved Auburn last week, but on Saturday the offense did not rely on his legs as much, which exposed some of his deficiencies as a passer. He finished the game with six completions on 13 attempts for 60 yards, with two interceptions and one fumble on a miscommunication with Tank Bigsby.
Running Backs: A+
The duo of Tank Bigsby and Jarquez Hunter has been one of the best running back duos in the nation, and they showed why with a complete performance from both backs. They combined for 242 of the Tigers' 341 total yards and each had 121 yards on the ground. Bigsby was also the team’s leading receiver with 20 yards on two catches.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: C
With such a limited passing game, the wide receiving corps has not been called on much lately, but they have also avoided making many costly mistakes in the limited action. Ja’Varrius Johnson’s one catch was the lone touchdown of the game, and that was the one real highlight for the group with Tank Bigsby having the most receiving yards on the team.
Offensive Line: B
The injuries along the offensive line continued as Auburn lost its third center in Brandon Council, forcing the staff to turn to Jalil Irvin in relief for Council. Still, the line had its best game of the year in all phases, with 270 total rushing yards and solid pass protection when the team did throw the ball.
Defensive Line: B+
Auburn’s best unit made the play of the game again as Colby Wooden’s strip sack of Conner Weigman all but sealed the game for the Tigers. A&M’s running game was nonexistent for most of the game and the front was in Weigman’s face for most of the game.
Auburn’s linebacker position, like many others throughout this season, has been a revolving door of players. This week, the team settled on Cam Riley and Owen Pappoe as the two starters, and they delivered with a physical performance in the run game and shutting down the check down options for a struggling A&M passing game.
Defensive Backs: C+
Conner Weigman was 14-of-36 on the night, and the defensive backfield had a lot to do with it. Missing Zion Puckett once again, the group came to play and forced four pass breakups. They only gave up one passing touchdown late in the game, a solid performance from a unit that has been a lot better in recent weeks.
Special Teams: B
Oscar Chapman was consistent and reliable once again, but the lack of Anders Carlson essentially killed Auburn’s chances of even attempting a long-distance field goal. The one attempt the Tigers did take on their first drive of the second half, Alex McPherson’s 54-yard attempt went wide right. McPherson bounced back with two makes from shorter distances in the second half, points that the Tigers would need down the stretch.
Carnell "Cadillac" Williams has a win as interim head coach, and while it was not always pretty, it is clear that the team is fighting for “Coach Lac.” Auburn’s offensive game plan was simple, the Texas A&M rush defense is No. 124 in the nation and the Tigers exploited that for 270 yards on the ground. On defense, they forced A&M into 36 pass attempts compared to 24 rushing attempts. It was not a dominant win, but in his second week on the job, Cadillac and company put together a cohesive game plan that ended Auburn’s five-game losing streak.
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