Coming into tonight’s game, writers had been including both Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin and Auburn’s Gus Malzahn on hot seat rankings for weeks. These two teams have underwhelmed over the past few seasons, and both certainly knew that a win tonight could have major implications for their job security.
In the end, it seemed as if Auburn didn’t put up much of a fight.
From start to finish—save for a late-game Auburn touchdown—Texas A&M controlled this game, looking like a team that could certainly contend for that #2 spot in the SEC West. Auburn’s offense was stifled after their opening touchdown, and that heralded Auburn defense couldn’t prevent the Aggies from racking up points.
So, what’d we learn after the Aggies’ impressive win?
1. Gus Malzahn needs wins—and fast
As previously mentioned, both coaches in this game desperately needed a win in order to fend off firing talk for at least a little while longer. Unfortunately for Gus Malzahn, it seems like those rumors will continue to circulate. Auburn has seen a noticeable drop-off in results since losing in the 2013 BCS National Championship, and this season could very well be his last with the Tigers. (For the record, I think firing Malzahn for going, say, 6-6 would be a massive mistake.)
2. Texas A&M’s offense works
While they weren’t able to find the end zone that often tonight, the Aggies managed to give glimpses of an offense that could give teams a headache for the rest of the season. Trevor Knight threw for a solid amount of yardage and—while he may not have been a model of efficiency—he didn’t make any errors resulting in turnovers.
Trayveon Williams was another bright spot for the Aggies offense, as his 120+ yards on the ground helped Texas A&M routinely get in position to put points on the board. Perhaps most impressive though is the fact that Texas A&M’s offense was able to do all of this against Auburn, a team whose defense (and solid defensive line) was supposed to be among the SEC’s best this year.
3. A snapshot of quality special teams
Daniel LaCamera, the Aggies’ sophomore kicker, was on fire tonight, padding his stats with five made field goals on five attempts. When you’ve got a team that is routinely coming up short of the end zone, it has to be reassuring to know that you’ve got a kicker like LaCamera that you can depend on to consistently earn three points. He really came through for his team tonight (and he was just shy of singlehandedly outscoring Auburn).