Auburn, Ala. (EETV) - No. 14 Auburn pulled together an impressive win in all aspects of the game against Texas A&M.
With the Tigers winning handily 42-27, they were able to make a statement they are ready for their final push of the regular season.
Here are my 5 takeaways from Auburn's win at College Station:
1) The Field Goal special teams needs some work
Daniel Carlson is by far one of Auburn's best players. However, he was not able to make his usual impact on the game due to his special teams unit.
2 kick attempts by Carlson were blocked by the Aggies. As I pointed out in by Fast 5 preview of the game, the Aggies have a very good special teams unit.
And the kick by Auburn is blocked by A&M... for the second time today! The momentum is now in the Aggies' favor. #AUBvsTAMU— CollegeNews12 (@CollegeNews12) November 4, 2017
Knowing the Aggies had blocked 3 kicks this season coming into the game, the Tigers should have been prepared to protect Carlson throughout the game.
Coach Gus Malzahn said he was not happy with this aspect of his special teams unit as well.
"I mean that's unacceptable," said Malzahn. "Then, of course, our kickoff team we've got to do a better job. So that's the two areas well really focus on."
With Auburn heading into their last stretch of the regular season where they will face arguably the top two teams in the country, the Tigers will have to make sure they fix these mistakes on special teams.
I feel, if the mistakes are not fixed, Alabama and Georgia will exploit this weakness and use it to their advantage.
2) The offensive line held
When looking back over the course of the season, Auburn's offensive line has been a roller coaster.
When facing top teams in the country Auburn's line has allowed Stidham to be sacked a multitude of times. In both their losses this year (Clemson and LSU) Auburn has allowed a total of 14 sacks.
Texas A&M came into the game with the reputation of having a strong pass rush, potentially one of the best in the country.
The Aggies, coming into the Auburn game, had a total of 30 sacks on the season. The Tiger O-Line was able to contain them to two sacks the entire game.
"I'm real proud of our offensive line," Malzahn said of his line's performance against the Aggies.
With the Tigers facing two top teams in the next 3 weeks, the offensive line will be facing the tough task of stopping some of the best pass rushers in the country.
By being able to stop Texas A&M, this shows the offensive line looks ready to stop the Bulldog and Crimson Tide pass rushes.
3) The walk-on punter
If you didn't know by now, punter Ian Shannon was benched, which gave Aidan Marshall the starting job.
Marshall is a walk-on freshman punter and has certainly made a positive impact for the Tigers.
He averaged 47.4 yards per punt, almost half the length of the football field and his longest punt went for 70 yards.
Way to go Aidan!!❤️. pic.twitter.com/GTeNVQajhM— Liza Marshall (@tlmarshall92) November 5, 2017
Marshall has a great ability to punt the ball deep downfield and pin Texas A&M deep.
His punts also didn't give punter returner Christian Kirk an opportunity to turn the punt into big plays like he's known to do.
This new addition of another stellar special teams kicker/punter will only help Auburn moving forward.
These punts will pin opponents deep in their own zone, making them have to make long drives if they want to score.
4) No turnovers
Auburn has had a history of turning the ball over multiple times in games, especially in loses.
This season along, the Tigers have racked up 12 total turnovers this season. Statistically speaking, that is way too many to have if you want to make it to the College Football Playoff.
However, the Tigers did not turn the ball over once at Kyle Field. The Aggies are known to have the rocking crowd of the 12th man, and a single turnover could have swung the momentum the other way in a heartbeat.
For Auburn to have a chance to their two toughest games of the season, they will have to continue this trend and not turn the ball over.
5) Seniors are stepping up
The end is nearing for many Tigers, playing their final road game of the season at Texas A&M. Keeping this in mind, many seniors are stepping up to make big plays in their final games.
The main play came from senior Nick Ruffin. Ruffin blocked the punt at the end of the first half, a play that ultimately changed the momentum and outcome of the game.
"We talk about seniors stepping up in big games and making big-time plays," said Malzahn. "That was a huge play in the game and just kind of changed the whole momentum of the game."
For Auburn to make a statement at home in their next 3 weeks of play, many more seniors will have to follow Ruffins lead and make big-time plays.