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'We're going to stick together,' says Gus Malzahn
Nov. 8, 2014

Auburn's Sammie Coates gets ready to make a play

By Charles Goldberg

AUBURN, Ala.  Coach Gus Malzahn said Auburn will keep the faith in the midst of one of the most disappointing losses around.

Texas A&M 41, Auburn 38 will not end the Tigers' season after an excruciating final 2½ minutes when the Tigers fumbled at the Aggies' 3 and then again at the 29 with 54 seconds left.

"We've got a lot of disappointed players in that locker room. I just told them we're going to stick together," Malzahn said.

Auburn will drop from one of the coveted Top 4 spots in the College Football Playoff standings. But the Tigers are 7-2 overall and 4-2 in the league, have rival games with Georgia and Alabama, plus Samford, in the next three weeks.

"We had goals and dreams, and we didn't get it done," Malzahn said. "It's unfortunate. You have to be a big boy. You've got to man up, and you've got to be better for it. We've got a lot of champions. We've just got to improve. It's not going to affect us in a negative way the rest of the year."

Auburn trailed 35-17 at the half and 38-24 heading to the fourth quarter. Then things got wild, with Auburn outscoring the Aggies 14-3, and coming with a few yards of perhaps winning the game.

"Obviously, we're disappointed with the way this thing finished," Malzahn said. "We fought back. We got in a hole early. They had a lot of momentum."

The first half didn't go Auburn's way with freshman quarterback Kyle Allen throwing four touchdown passes and with A&M turning a blocked field into a touchdown on the final play of second quarter.

"That was a definite impact play," Malzahn said.

"We were down quite a bit at halftime. Our guys fought back."

But Auburn kept coming back. A bad exchange from quarterback Nick Marshall and Cameron Artis-Payne cost Auburn a scoring chance at the 3 when A&M recovered a fumble, though Artis-Payne said he landed on it first. Then Auburn fumbled again at the 28 when the ball was snapped while Marshall was still making his checks.

"The fumble going in was big," Malzahn said.  "The last one we trying to check to the communication."

But… "We're not going to blame one person. We fought hard. We just didn't get it done at the end."

Auburn outscored A&M 17-6 in the first half, but the Tigers couldn't get past the first half.

"I thought the first part of the game they were getting quite a few yards. The second half, we held them to two field goals," Malzahn said.

There were other good things: Cameron Artis-Payne went over 1,000 yards rushing for the season with an impressive 221 yards and two touchdowns. But there was this: Leading receiver Duke Williams injured his knee in the second quarter and did not return. Malzahn said he didn't have an update on Williams' condition.

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



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