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Texas A&M kicks its way past Auburn
Auburn's Kerryon Johnson looks for yardage against Texas A&M
Sept. 17, 2016

By Charles Goldberg

AUBURN, Ala. - Auburn's defense made Texas A&M settle for field goal after field goal. That was enough for the Aggies in Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday night.

Texas A&M beat the Tigers 29-16 in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams, thanks, mostly, to Daniel LaCamera's dead-eye field goal kicking. His five field goals gave the Aggies the edge, enough to counter Kerryon Johnson's 2-yard Auburn touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

The No. 17 Aggies improved to 3-0. Auburn fell to 1-2 with both losses coming to nationally ranked teams. Another one of those, LSU, will visit Jordan-Hare next Saturday. . 

The Tigers can point to their defense for that one. A&M converted only 2 of its 15 third-down plays and settled for field goals on four of five trips to the red zone.

The first half Saturday was indeed a battle of field goals and defense. LaCamera kicked three field goals, of 46, 35 and 31 yards. Auburn's Daniel Carlson countered with one of 37 yards.

The touchdowns were hard to come by.

"It was an extremely tough loss," said coach Gus Malzahn. "We have to find a way to get better."

Malzahn the turning point was the third quarter, saying his defense played well "and gave the offense opportunities."

But, he said, "we didn't have explosive plays."

"Our whole offense is a work in progress. We were inconsistent, to say the least."

Kamryn Pettway, the workhorse in the first half, scored on a 1-yard run for a 7-0 Auburn lead midway through the first. But a LaCamera field goal and a 5-yard touchdown pass-and-catch from Trevor Knight to Josh Reynolds provided the Aggies with a 10-7 lead with 12:07 left in the second quarter. Two more LaCamera field goals padded the lead. Auburn raced the clock, and made it, at the end of the first half to set up Carlson's field goal to cut the halftime deficit to 16-10.



A&M scored on...what else?... a LaCamera field goal in the third. That trumped Auburn's 35 yards of offense. LaCamera kicked another field goal in the fourth to make it 22-10. Auburn threatened after that, making to the A&M 12, but was stopped on fourth down with 7:22 left in the game.

The Aggies came right back on an 89-yard touchdown run by Trayveon Williams.

One of the Auburn highlights was the play of Tony Stevens, who had a career-best eight catches for 86 yards.

Pettway rushed for 123 yards. Sean White hit 18-of-27 passes for 126 yards. John Franklin III replaced White in the fourth quarter when Malzahn said he was looking for a spark. Franklin rushed nine times for 47 yards. He was 4-of-8 passing for 27 yards.

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:

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