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The Battalion

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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5 things to watch for during A&M-Auburn

Members+of+Texas+A%26amp%3BM%26%238217%3Bs+special+teams+whoop+after+singing+The+Aggie+War+Hymn+in+Kyle+Field+after+a+win+over+Lamar.
Photo by Meredith Seaver

Members of Texas A&M’s special teams whoop after singing The Aggie War Hymn in Kyle Field after a win over Lamar.

The Aggies looked dominant last weekend against Lamar after a tough loss to Clemson, and now on the slate for the Aggies is Southeastern Conference opponent No. 8 Auburn. The Tigers have gotten off to a strong start this season, but A&M feels this matchup will differ from their last. Here are five things to watch for against Auburn.
1. Isaiah Spiller
Freshman tailback Isaiah Spiller played very well in his first game in relief of injured sophomore Jashaun Corbin. Spiller has showcased explosion down the sideline and toughness on the line of scrimmage and already has two 100-yard games in just three weeks. Both of his 100-yard performances came on less than 15 attempts for each game. If you discount the rough performance from the entire team against Clemson, Spiller has averaged 11.7 yards per rushing attempt. If Spiller can keep up the momentum he’s built, A&M’s rush offense will be strong, and quarterback Kellen Mond’s job will be a lot easier. Look for the Aggies to get Spiller involved early and often for a balanced attack
2. Auburn Freshman Quarterback Bo Nix
True freshman quarterback Bo Nix has proven to be a bit of a spark for this Auburn team. Earning the starting job over redshirt freshman Joey Gatewood, Nix already has the hype around him and has earned the praises of Fisher as well. In the two games Nix played, he attempted over 30 passes. To kick off the season, Nix led a 14-point comeback in the fourth quarter against Oregon that featured a game-winning touchdown pass with just nine seconds left. Even though Nix has displayed a bit of moxy, his numbers don’t necessarily jump off the page. Nix has 52.5 completion percentage on four touchdowns and two interceptions. Look for A&M to use the hostile environment to disrupt the young quarterback along with blitzes to prevent him from getting comfortable.
3. Home Field Advantage
Since A&M joined the SEC, Auburn has presented a challenge for the Aggies. The Tigers have never lost at Kyle Field; however, Auburn also has not played a Jimbo Fisher-led A&M team at home. During Fisher’s tenure the Aggies have lost only one home game, and it was against the soon-to-be national title winner, Clemson. A&M has not lost to an SEC opponent at home during Fisher’s tenure, topping both Kentucky and LSU in overtime games last season. Kyle Field houses 15,000 more fans than Auburn’s home stadium, so expect Kyle Field to be jumping as the Aggies look to flip the script in their matchup against Auburn.
4. Auburn’s Defense
Despite being young, this Auburn defense has proven to be as talented as its past units. Auburn is stout along the interior with Markaviest “Big Kat” Bryant and Derrick Brown helping the defense not allow a single 100-yard rusher this season. The Tigers also have a versatile linebacker in Nick Coe starting at outside linebacker. Auburn allowed just 21 points against Oregon’s fiery offense and has not let an opponent crack 20 points since. Senior corner back Javaris Davis is one of the fastest corners in the nation and has garnered a bit of pre-draft hype. Auburn has an all-around defense, as complete as any the Aggies will face this season.
5. Kellen Mond
Quarterback Kellen Mond has had great performances and not-so-great performances. In the past two seasons, a pattern has developed: Mond plays better at home. His two best performances last season against Clemson and LSU both came at home. He posted 430 passing yards against Clemson and led the Aggies to a seven-overtime win over LSU. Despite hosting this game in Aggieland, this will not be a cakewalk by any means for Mond. The Auburn secondary features a veteran group with the entire defensive backfield being comprised of upperclassmen. This is another test for Mond, and if his performance is strong it could set the tone for the remainder of the season.

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