Boat Race in College Station

By Posted on: October 18th, 2013 in Featured Article, Football 9 Comments »
AU Pouncing Tiger

Buckle up and hang on! The Tigers and Texas A&M Aggies seem destined to have a shootout in College Station this weekend, and Auburn is a far cry from  the paper target it was last season for the relentless Manziel-led Aggie attack.  The buildup to this game is a testament to the job Gus Malzahn and his coaching staff has done since arriving on The Plains of restoring confidence and competence to the football program. Conquering ‘Manziel Mountain’ will still be a daunting task, but it is at least a legitimate possibility this year as opposed to 2012.

With a trip to Baton Rouge in the back of their minds, I really like the idea of Auburn approaching this game as if they are playing with house money. The Aggie defense has been porous all season long which bodes very well for Malzahn as he prepares to dial up an attack to keep pace with Sumlin, Manziel, and company. Offense aside, I also believe that Auburn’s defense might also have a few surprises in store for Saturday as Ellis Johnson continues to impress week in and week out.

Another interesting aspect of this game is the possible addition of Jeremy Johnson to the Auburn offense. Nick Marshall earned the starting job, no doubt about it, but Johnson showed some tantalizing potential last week against Western Carolina. And yes, I understand it was inferior competition, but I’d say JJ performed as one should when facing such an overmatched opponent. I wouldn’t be surprised if Johnson is on the field for most of Auburn’s attempts to land the deep ball – something Marshall has struggled with all season. Against an offense like A&M’s, you need to take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself.

One thing that a lot of people seem to have overlooked is the line of scrimmage battle in this game and how Auburn may very well have a distinct advantage. Auburn’s offensive and defensive lines have played very well this season, and that could spell big trouble for the Aggies in the long run.

Auburn must play mistake-free, create turnovers, and be physical from the first snap to the last – it is something they are completely capable of doing. They can’t shut Manziel down, no one  would do that, but limit the damage he inflicts and keep him scrambling to keep up with the offense and the Tigers could make it two weeks in a row for the visiting team in an SEC matchup to send shockwaves through the conference. Win, lose, or draw – it is AUsome to be in the conversation again.

War Eagle! Beat Texas A&M! 

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  1. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..The thing that worries me is that A&M’s O-line might be the best we’ve played this year. Ole Miss didn’t get much done up front against them. But true, Ole Miss got even less done against Auburn’s O-line.

    …..I really didn’t give us any chance in this game, prior to the season. I did pick us to be 5-1 at this point, though!

    • Derrick Roberts Derrick Roberts says:

      I honestly believe we’ve got the athletes up front to work them. Will we dominate? No, I don’t think so. But I think the “distinct” advantage Auburn will have is we’ll be more trouble for them than many initially thought. A lot of people weren’t counting on Auburn to be able to put up much of a fight on the defensive line, but we’ve had some players emerge this first half of the season.

    • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

      We better not look past their O-Line and running game. Our D-Line and LBs are improving, but not yet consistently dominant. Our rushing profiles are not too dissimilar.

      Auburn – 275 attempts for 1722 yards (6.26 yds per carry) and 16 TDs. All fairly well distributed between 3 main ball carriers.

      A&M – 247 attempts for 1348 yards (5.46 yds per carry) and 20 TDs. Manziel is their leading rusher (Shocker) with 438 yards. Malena is second at 364 yards.

      Manziel makes things happen with sheer speed and excellent vision. Disciplined DE play will be crucial. Pursuit angles by all will be crucial. The kid will pull a Crazy Ivan on you in a second so I hope we don’t see any wanna be heroes getting their tails burned by over pursuing.

      On the other side of the ball we better not overlook their defensive capabilities. Their offense, much like ours, chews up yardage and scores quickly, so the defense spends a good bit of time on the field. Both AU’s and A&M’s defenses spend about 31 minutes on the field each game. A&M’s defense allows only a 39.5% 3rd down conversion rate. Our defense only allows a 33.3% 3rd down conversion rate. Again, not too dissimilar.

      I think the outcome of this game will hinge on turnovers and our offensive line’s ability to impose their will on A&M’s D-Line.

    • sparkey sparkey says:

      I had us at 5-1 to this point as well and I don’t expect us to have a chance against Texas A&M. I think they win by 17. I don’t like Nick Marshall as a quarterback and I like him less on the road. I can’t get over the dazed and confused look he had before the game had even started in Baton Rouge. I don’t trust him as the offense’s leader. I agree with the article that Auburn has be turnover free. I’m not sure that Marshall can be turnover free on the road. I just hope it’s respectable. I think we’re going to get dominated tomorrow.

      • KungFuPanda9 KungFuPanda9 says:

        Okay, Sparky. You have to forgive Marshall his moment of panic under fire for his first “away” fight inside the enemy’s camp. That is a big big moment for anybody.

        The point is, though, how did he respond. Did he curl up in a ball and disappear? No. He regrouped and actually outplayed LSU in the second half. That is huge. This kid is a warrior.

        And he is just the guy we need to help us run the ball down the throats of the worst run defense in the SEC.

  2. Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

    I’m hoping it’s a close game. I also hope that TAMU doesn’t get out front first. I have faith in our D, and I can guarantee that they have the fight it takes to wipe those LSU nightmares away.

    Every week, I like seeing us get better and stronger and more resilient. Johnson’s schemes have been doing a good job so far, I’m excited to see what he’s got cooked up for JFF and co.

    I am hesitant to criticize the yanking of JJ’s redshirt….mainly because it’s not only above my paygrade, but also above my expertise. CGM is an offensive wizard, so I’m more excited to see what he has cooked up vs worried what the decision actually means in terms of strategy.

    Is it 2:30pm on Saturday yet??!! War Eagle!

    • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

      …..See, I can criticize burning JJ’s redshirt, because I’m still going to be an Auburn fan in 2017, and I think a 5th year senior Jeremy Johnson might be the best Auburn has ever had. Gus won’t make it to 2017 at Auburn, unless he wins consistently the next three years, so he’s got to plan for the here and now. And if JJ is as good as we saw last week against an SEC team, he’s going to the NFL well before his 4 playing years are up, anyway.

      …..So we amateurs can speculate, but it’s really not our call on redshirts. Typically, I think conventional wisdom is to use those on guys who aren’t yet ready to contribute.

      …..This game’s going to be an interesting measuring stick, to be sure. I’m fired up!

  3. War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

    It’s nice for AU to finally have earned some respect again, just being back in the conversation is a great feeling.

    If I was the defensive coordinator I would have the ends play a wide QB contain trying to drive Manziel into the middle of the field where Therezie and a LB are spying him. But hey, I’m sure it’s been tried and failed before against Manziel.

    Also on Manziel, I wonder how his knee is holding up? I know that when I have had knee issues in the past they get worse for several days before they get better. I’ve got a feeling that his mobility will be effected more than A&M is letting on to. Not that he won’t be a running threat, just not quite as dynamic, especially on cutbacks.

    Fun prediction, If AU wins this game look for the rushing yards to be close to 300.

    • DaZeD DaZeD says:

      Containment isn’t impossible…LSU visited Kyle Field in 2012 and held JFF to 21 yards on 17 scrambles from the pocket. LSU won by a couple of points. TxAM did have 5 turnovers in that game.
      I’m excited by this game tomorrow…but I seriously hope that starting at about 2:30PM central, JFF can’t get out of his own way and is relegated to Murphy’s Law for the next 3+ hours…