It was another 40+ point performance by the Texas A&M offense. Johnny Manziel had his usual 500 yard game. And what is becoming commonplace this season, Mike Evans racked up another night with 287 yards receiving and four touchdowns. But in the end, the team lost. There's a lot finger pointing at the defense that surrendered 45 points at Kyle Field, and rightfully so. However, the offense had several opportunities to open up a two touchdown lead in the third quarter but failed to score a touchdown until the team fell behind in the final stanza. And ultimately, with the ball inside the red zone with two timeouts and plenty time on the clock, the offense stalled when the pass protection broke down on the game's final two plays. Sure, the defense is a mess and the defense put the team in this predicament. However, the formula for success all season has been the offense outscoring the opposing team. On Saturday, the offense again played well, but stumbled in some critical spots in the game where the unit could have insured victory. The offense scored on only seven of its 14 drives. The seven drives that did not result in a score or a field goal attempt is a season high, surpassing the five non-scoring drives in the Alabama game. For the season, the A&M offense averages less than four "non-productive" drives in a game.
Johnny Manziel played his heart out on Saturday, battling against all odds with a shoulder injury and nearly pulling off the last minute victory. However, it wasn't meant to be when the pass protection broke down on hat final drive that would have won the contest. No grade points were deducted for that final drive that came up short, but the two interceptions did drop his grade significantly. More specifically, the second interception on an ill-fated floater across the middle was the big blow and big momentum changer. A poor decision and interception almost cost Texas A&M the game against Ole Miss. The interceptions are starting to become an issue in the outcome of these games. That's four INT's in two weeks and seven overall in the season. Johnny is having a fabulous season for the most part, but these interceptions will likely cost Manziel a shot at his second Heisman Trophy. In addition, with two huge road games looming to end the season, if Manziel doesn't get the interception bug under control shortly, it could have a negative impact on the season as a whole.
Running Back A-
Trey Williams and Tra Carson are starting to separate themselves from the rest of the running back group in terms of explosive plays with the ball in their hands. Both runners had a couple of really nice plays, especially Carson's 35-yard catch-and-run out of the backfield. But in the big picture of this game, the running backs didn't have a big impact in terms of yardage managing only 85 yards on 21 carries. A lot of that had to do with the battle up-front between a big, athletic Auburn defensive front and A&M's heralded offensive line. The A&M line opened up some holes, but for the most part Auburn controlled the Aggie ground game. I do like that the running backs have been pretty good in ball security this season, but the running game needs to be a consistent factor on the field..
Wide Receiver/Tight End A
What can you say that hasn't been said about Mike Evans' spectacular, dominating performance on Saturday? For the second home SEC game in a row, Evans manhandled the opposing secondary for over 270 yards…287 yards and four touchdowns to be exact. He's simply unstoppable whether on quick hitters at the line of scrimmage or a jump ball 40 yards down the field. He just makes plays. I'd like to see Johnny spread the ball around more, but in the end Evans, Labhart, and Kennedy accounted for right at 400 yards on 23 grabs. This unit gets the job done and doesn't drop many passes.
Offensive Line B-
As Coach Sumlin said after the game, this was the offensive line's worst performance of the season, but that still pretty good because the bar is set so high. The inability to drive the Auburn defensive front off the ball is a key reason why the Aggies were inconsistent in the run game. But it was the final drive that exposed the offensive line in the end where the pass rush disrupted an injured Manziel and sacked him on the final two plays of the Aggies' potential game-winning drive that reached the Tigers' 18 yard line with plenty of time. Cedric Ogbuehi was among the linemen who struggled in pass protection on that last drive against a confident Auburn defensive front. The performance was a surprise as no team has physically handled an A&M offensive line in 2-3 years
OVERALL OFFENSIVE GRADE B+
Hop's Offensive Game Analysis - Auburn
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