No. 14 Texas A&M’s defense held No. 13 Auburn without a touchdown for the first time in more than a year and dipped the rollercoaster career of Auburn quarterback Bo Nix again Saturday with a dominating, 20-3 victory in front of 102,000 at Kyle Field in College Station, Texas.
“Our defense is playing lights out, man, as good as anybody in America,” Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said of defensive coordinator Mike Elko’s unit that held Auburn to 226 yards.
“They controlled the line of scrimmage and got great pressure,” Fisher said. “We reduced the pocket and didn’t let Bo get out.”
Nix, a junior who was benched early this season but came back strong, went backwards in this one. He completed 20 of 41 passes for just 153 yards with an interception and a key fumble. He was held to -18 yards on seven rushes with four sacks for -39 yards. Defensive end Tyree Johnson sacked him twice and has seven sacks in his last four games.
With Auburn trailing 10-3 early in the fourth quarter, Nix just dropped the ball under a rush from defensive tackle Jayden Peevy. Defensive end Micheal Clemons scooped it up at the Auburn 24-yard line and sprinted in for the touchdown and a 15-3 lead.
Texas A&M quarterback Zach Calzada then hit wide receiver Ainias Smith for a two-point conversion for a 17-3 lead with 13:04 to play in the fourth quarter. Seth Small kicked a 37-yard field goal — his fourth of the day — for a 20-3 lead with 3:15 to go.
The Aggies (7-2, 4-2 SEC) won their fourth straight game and plays at Ole Miss (7-2, 3-2 SEC) at 6 p.m. Saturday on ESPN. Auburn (6-3, 3-2 SEC) hosts Mississippi State at 11 a.m. on ESPN. The Tigers lost for the first time at A&M after four wins.
Calzada completed 15 of 29 passes for 192 yards and no interceptions. Texas A&M tailback Isaiah Spiller rushed 21 times for 112 yards as the Aggies put up 409 yards.
“Our ability to run the football in the second half was great,” Fisher said.
Texas A&M went up 9-3 early in the fourth quarter on a 47-yard field goal by Small. His 29-yard field goal with 3:39 left in the third quarter gave the Aggies a 6-3 lead.
Small booted a 21-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead in the first quarter after the Aggies drove 80 yards in 14 plays. Auburn tied it 3-3 with 20 seconds to go in the opening period on a 32-yard field goal by Anders Carlson, and would not even threaten to score again.
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