It's a win that may shock the college football world, but not an Auburn team that has fought every day since Malzahn and his staff arrived to make days like Saturday a reality once again.
"That's what we needed," senior safety Ryan Smith said. "We talked about it before the game that ‘we will win the game'. There wasn't a question. We weren't worried about the outside world. We had to come out and execute. A lot of plays didn't go our way. We felt like we made a lot of mistakes and gave them plays, but at the end of the day we got the win."
It was another huge win for the Tigers and quarterback Nick Marshall. Sitting out last week's homecoming win over Western Carolina, he returned to the lineup and was again clutch when Auburn needed him the most. Completing 11-23 passes for 236 yards and a pair of touchdowns, Marshall also added 100 rushing yards and two more scores. Malzahn said you can't say enough about the job his quarterback did on Saturday.
"For a guy that didn't go through spring it says a lot," Malzahn said. "Mississippi State was a big win at home with a lot of pressure. Then on the road in one of the toughest places to play in college football with the environment. Nick did a great job."
One of the keys to the win for Auburn was the play of the defensive front. One of the weakest links on a broken chain last season, Rodney Garner has infused life into the Tigers and they showed up once again against the Aggies. Holding Texas A&M to just 133 rushing yards and sacking Manziel three times for 43 yards, Malzahn said the defensive front was huge in the win.
"They've gotten better each week," Malzahn said of the defensive line. "The great thing is that we play a lot of guys. I think that really made a big difference in the fourth quarter. I think we were a little bit faster than they were. Our defensive line hung in the battle. At times we gave up yards, but give them credit they're a good team."
Fighting through injuries all season long, Auburn was dealt another huge blow this week when sophomore safety Josh Holsey was injured in practice and will miss the rest of the season. Without him in the lineup the Tigers turned to senior Ryan White and he came through. That has been the attitude of this team since day one as the next man in line has stepped up when called upon and picked up the slack.
Now 6-1 on the season, doubling the win total from last year, Auburn has put itself squarely in play for much bigger things down the line in 2013. While that's something that will surely get plenty of talk in the coming days, Malzahn said they'll choose to remain focused on the task at hand.
"I don't know," Malzahn said. "I'll let everybody else decide that. We're taking things one game at a time. We haven't arrived yet. We've gotten better each week. We want to continue to get better and I think we can if we stay healthy. We'll take it one step at a time and then we'll look back at the end of the year and figure everything out."
One thing is for sure however and that is that this Auburn team has put the life back in a fanbase that was desperately searching for something positive to grasp onto. The players know that and as they were celebrating with the thousands who traveled to Texas to witness them win, senior defensive lineman Dee Ford said it most definitely is a new day for the Tigers.
"Just to see the looks on their faces after the game," Ford said. "We've said we're not going to look back and keep moving forward. We're not going to look back at last year. It's definitely a powerful message we have sent to the world."