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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

5 takeaways from A&M’s loss to Auburn

The+queen+of+Aggieland+sits+waiting+to+be+pet.
Photo by Ishika Samant

The queen of Aggieland sits waiting to be pet.

Following an onslaught of losses, A&M hoped to respond with a win against struggling SEC competitor Auburn. However, plagued with injuries and lacking necessary offensive savvy, the team came up short once again, gaining its sixth-straight loss of the season in the 13-10 loss.
Here’s what the game showed us:
Weigman deserves an apology from his O-line
The loss against Auburn served as freshman quarterback Conner Weigman’s second start for A&M, and after a particularly impressive performance against Ole Miss two weeks ago, expectations were understandably high. Though he produced lackluster results — a 14-for-36 completion rate, 121 yards and one touchdown, many of the offensive issues plaguing the team against Auburn stemmed from a weakened offensive line. They continuously failed to protect the quarterback, leading to Weigman’s inability to generate scoring chances and forcing him to run the ball himself.
“We were making mistakes and missing the signs,” sophomore offensive lineman Layden Robinson said. “There’s no other excuse for it, we’re not going to make any — we just have to get better at it all across the board.”
If they were able to correct their errors and solve their formation issues, a solid O-line may be the last piece of the puzzle to create a successful offense —but is it too late to fix them?
A&M’s defense needs to apply pressure, and they need to do it earlier.
Throughout the entirety of the season, A&M’s defense has been one of the only bright spots for the team. While the sentiment still stands, there were many highlights within the 65 tackles made throughout the game. The first quarter saw a particularly haphazard and disorganized showing from the defense, leading to Auburn taking an early lead and forcing the maroon and white to attempt to climb back from the deficit.
If A&M’s defense had been more meticulous during the first half of the game — not allowing Auburn’s offense to run the field as much as they did — the sacks and forced turnovers in the second half would have been more impactful for the end result of the game.
Antonio Johnson, you have been missed
Returning from injury, junior defensive back Antonio Johnson wasted no time in making his presence known to Auburn’s offensive line. Leading the team with 10 tackles, forcing fumbles and applying much needed pressure to the opposing quarterback, Johnson’s energy and power provided the Aggies with ample opportunity to switch the momentum of the game — a skill that players and fans alike have been missing in the past handful of losses.
“He’s a special type of guy,” junior defensive lineman McKinnley Jackson said. “I love when he’s on the field, I feel very confident when he’s on the field.”
Negative yardage isn’t a great omen for A&M’s offensive capabilities
In the third quarter, A&M lost two yards. At one point in the second half, the team had lost seven. Obviously, for any football team, that statistic raises some concerns.
“Whether we dropped the ball, whether we got a sack, whether we had a penalty, whether we had a negative run, we just could not get above the sticks and keep going,” coach Jimbo Fisher said.
For the Aggies, an injury-riddled team playing without junior running back Devon Achane, it might be understandable. However, with Weigman unable to connect with his receivers and sophomore running back Amari Daniels’ attempts to break through Auburn’s defense being thwarted multiple times, A&M’s offensive playbook may need some updating and changing.
“Running game, we couldn’t get it going,” Fisher said. “Had a couple late – Amari [Daniels] and [freshman running back Le’Veon Moss] did, but we couldn’t get that going.”
Randy Bond can kick a field goal
When all hope seemed to be lost for the Aggies, sophomore kicker Randy Bond was able to put the team on the scoreboard in the second half with a 48-yard field goal. Still facing a deficit, the field goal provided the maroon and white with a welcomed chance to tie the game. Though his efforts were in vain, Bond’s impressive field goal showcased his talents and instilled a sense of confidence in his skill level for the team and its fans.At least he represents one area that does not require immediate attention and drastic changes.

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