COLLEGE STATION, TX (WSFA) - In a game that began as a defensive battle, the Auburn offense came to life in what soon became a shootout in No. 14 Auburn's 42-27 win over Texas A&M Saturday.
Both defenses opened the game flying to the ball and coming up with big stops. By the first quarter's end the score was 3-0 in Texas A&M's favor but both offenses, namely Auburn's, came to life in the second quarter of the game.
In that second quarter, Auburn's offensive scoring opened with Kerryon Johnson's first receiving touchdown of his career. Johnson, who normally gets in on the ground, caught a 2-yard Jarrett Stidham touchdown pass.
The scoring was jammed into the final four-minute window of the half. The Aggies regained the lead when Keith Ford broke an Auburn tackle, getting into the end zone for six. Texas A&M forced an Auburn punt, and found themselves in Auburn territory after just one play. Auburn's defense held tough, a motif of Saturday's game, holding the Aggies to a field goal.
Only trailing 13-7, Stidham hit a deep ball with Darius Slayton for 53 yards to give Auburn back the lead with 1:36 before half. Auburn wasn't done scoring just yet. The Tigers blocked a Texas A&M punt and recovered the ball in the end zone for the score.
In total, this game saw three special teams blocks. Two blocked field goals by the Aggie defense and a blocked punt from Auburn.
The second half saw Auburn outscore Texas A&M 21-14 beginning with Auburn's 5-play 64-yard drive ending with Stidham's second touchdown pass of the game. Stidham rolled out on third-and-goal and found Ryan Davis in the end zone for six.
On Auburn's next offensive possession, Kerryon Johnson scored his 15th rushing touchdown of the season to give the Tigers a 35-13 lead on the road.
The Aggies responded with a touchdown drive of its own. Nick Starkel hit Damion Ratley on a third-down slant route that turned into a 62-yard touchdown. After blocking a second Auburn field goal of the game, Texas A&M seemed to have the momentum. The Aggies turned that blocked field goal into a drive that pushed inside the Auburn five, but the Tiger defense didn't flinch. On fourth-and-two from the 4-yard line, Starkel's pass fell short at the feet of his intended receiver and Auburn's defense was off the field.
The Tigers turned that failed Texas A&M opportunity into 7 points. A 13-play, 96-yard drive that would all but do it. The Aggies would score in response but Auburn ran out the remainder of the clock.
With Auburn's win in Kyle Field, the road team has now won the last six meetings in this series.
Kerryon Johnson finished with 145 yards on 29 carries. Stidham finished 20-of-27 for 268 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Auburn's next battle will come at home against the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs next Saturday.
In the win, Auburn improves to 7-2 on the season and 5-1 in conference play.