The Opening Drive: Auburn at Texas A&M

AUBURN, Ala. – With playmakers aplenty on both teams, No. 12 Auburn’s SEC West showdown against No. 13 Texas A&M on Saturday should showcase skill-position standouts like quarterback Bo Nix and running back Tank Bigsby.

But over the course of three hours and approximately 140 plays, the outcome will likely be decided closer to the line of scrimmage. 

“That’s what Coach (Bryan) Harsin keeps preaching,” said Colby Wooden, Auburn’s two-time SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week. “The most physical team wins. We’ve got to do our job and play physical.”

Auburn is undefeated at Kyle Field, having won in 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019. It will be the Tigers’ third time this season to play in a stadium that holds more than 100,000.

“You’ve got to make sure during the week that you’re getting yourself ready for a variety of different things,” Harsin said of preparing for the Aggies. “We just have to make sure that we take care of the things we have to get better at. Train and prepare and have ourselves ready to go on Saturday at 2:30.

“You play against a team like A&M, you’ve got to execute. They’re a good football team. There’s a lot we have to prepare for to make sure we can play our best football this season, and if we don’t do that during the week, it’s not going to magically just happen on Saturday.”

The Tigers (6-2, 3-1) and Aggies (6-2, 3-2) kick off Saturday at 2:30 p.m. CT from Kyle Field in College Station, Texas. The game will be televised on CBS with Brad Nessler, Gary Danielson and Jamie Erdahl on the call. You can also listen to Andy Burcham, Stan White and Ronnie Brown who will have the radio call on 93.9 Tiger FM and online at AuburnTigers.com.

Kobe Hudson, Football: Auburn vs Ole Miss
 

THREE QUESTIONS WITH … WR KOBE HUDSON

Q: What has been the biggest difference with this offense the last couple games? What has helped you turn the corner and start clicking as a unit? 

A: I’ve got to give a shoutout to our offensive line and our good quarterback play. Since the Georgia State game, everything has been clicking. Everybody has been practicing hard. It feels like everybody wants to win, and when everybody has got that want to, we all got to come along. In the beginning of the season, there was a question with the receivers. We just came along. Our quarterback started playing better, our running backs, our offensive line – they started moving the ball. So we had to start stepping up and making plays for the team. 

Q: For the wide receiver group specifically, everybody talked about drops early in the season. Now this position is looked at as a strength. What changed?

A: There’s a saying Coach Bobo says, ‘What have you done for me lately?’ All the stuff in the past, I just let it be in the past. I encourage the receivers to come out here and work. I know we had drops, I know we had some obstacles to overcome, but I feel like everything in the past is the past. We were overthinking it. Some people have never been in the position that we’re in. Everybody has stepped up and is playing a bigger role. It’s a big step. But I think we were just getting our feet wet at the beginning of the season. Now we’re coming along. 

Q: A month ago, nobody was really talking about Auburn, and yet, you control your destiny in the SEC West. How do you approach this final stretch? 

A: We’re just getting started. We’ve got a lot in front of us. Everything is in front of us. That’s all we’re worried about – keep winning the next game, next-game mentality, next practice. Practice hard today, practice hard tomorrow, be ready for Saturday. Every week. After we win, Sunday we celebrate, Monday it’s back to work. That 1-0 mentality. Every week. 
 

INSIDE THE SERIES: TEXAS A&M

Texas A&M took a 6-5 lead in the all-time series with Auburn following a 31-20 victory in Jordan-Hare Stadium last season. The teams first met in Dallas in 1911, a 16-0 Texas A&M victory, and played against in Dallas at the end of the 1985 season when the two schools met in the 1986 Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Day. 

Prior to Auburn’s 28-24 home win in 2018, the visiting team had won every matchup since Texas A&M joined the SEC in 2012. The Tigers have still yet to lose in College Station and made it 4-0 with a 28-20 victory in their last trip to Texas A&M in 2019. Bo Nix threw for 100 yards and a touchdown while Derrick Brown led the defense with two sacks. 

Ranked Auburn teams are 4-2 against Texas A&M all-time and 2-2 against the Aggies when both teams are ranked. Texas A&M is 5-3 against Auburn when the Aggies are ranked.

Series: Texas A&M, 6-5
At Auburn: Texas A&M, 4-1
At College Station: Auburn, 4-0
At Neutral Sites: Texas A&M, 2-0
First Meeting: 1911 (Texas A&M, 16-0)
Most AU points: 45 (2013)
Current Streak: Texas A&M, W1
 

BY THE NUMBERS

4: The offensive line and its ability to keep protect Bo Nix have played a major role in the offense’s resurgence over the last month. The Tigers are fourth nationally having only allowed eight sacks this season, including four games with no sacks allowed. 

7.88: The Auburn defense had seven tackles for loss in last Saturday’s win over Ole Miss, bringing their total on the season to 63. The Tigers lead the SEC and rank fourth nationally with 7.88 TFL per game. Eku Leota and Colby Wooden lead the way with seven apiece. 

149.5: Tank Bigbsy went over the century mark for the fourth time Saturday with a season-high 140 yards rushing. Bigsby and freshman Jarquez Hunter have formed one of the top backfield tandems in the SEC, averaging 149.5 combined rushing yards per game. 

102,733: When Auburn plays at Texas A&M this week, it will be the third time this season playing in front of 100,000-plus fans. Kyle Field is currently the fourth largest stadium in the country with a capacity of 102,733. 

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