It was time to celebrate for Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, left, and Gus Malzahn in win at Texas A&M
By Charles Goldberg
COLLEGE STATION, Texas ― Gus Malzahn saw what you saw.
"We played our best game tonight," the Auburn coach said Saturday after the Tigers beat No. 19 Texas A&M 26-10 in most convincing way.
Auburn's 311 yards rushing and the 443 yards of total offense were both season highs. And the 10 points against a ranked SEC team on the road were the fewest since Auburn beat Tennessee 34-10 in 2004. It was also the fewest points in an SEC road game since the Tigers famously, or infamously, beat Mississippi State 3-2 in 2008.
Auburn did it by calling on former starting quarterback Jeremy Johnson to start again. The Tigers did it by letting Jovon Robinson rush for a career-best 159 yards. And they did it by intercepting three passes and stopping A&M on a key fourth down play in the second half.
Malzahn called it "a true team win. We felt like we played well in all three phases really for the first time this year."
• "Three hundred yards rushing against a solid defense." That was good.
• "The three turnovers, the big fourth-down stop in our own territory I thought was a huge play in the game."
• "We were really concerned about their returners. They have some of the best returners in our league. I thought our special teams did a good job containing those guys."
Auburn improved to 5-4 overall and 2-4 in the Southeastern Conference. Texas A&M fell to 6-3 overall and 3-3 in the league.
It was a happier time for Auburn, which had lost three times in one-possession SEC games, all eight-point losses. Malzahn said the Tigers never lost faith.
"We've been practicing well for the last three or four weeks," he said. "Our coaches have coached them hard, they've allowed us to coach them hard and they've really had the same approach: Wanting to get better. It says a lot about our players, and it says a lot about our team that we can come in here and get a victory and, matter of fact, a pretty convincing victory."
Auburn led 14-3 early in the second quarter, and at the half. Daniel Carlson's four field goals in the second half provided plenty of cushion.
Malzahn praised Johnson's play. And he said Robinson provided a spark.
"Jovon Robinson got off to a very good start, broke some tackles, ran through some things," Malzahn said. "Our line did a good job opening things up. Getting those two scores early running the football were huge. We had some explosive pass plays that helped lead to some points, too."
Malzahn also said the defense kept the Aggies at bay, especially when Auburn intercepted the elusive Kyler Murray three times. Defensive coordinator Will Muschamp's plan was to contain Murray.
"He's like a video game. He can really make things happen when things break down," Malzahn said. "Will had a great plan, trying to keep him in the pocket and make him play a traditional quarterback. That was really our plan. For the most part we did that."
The game story is here.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine