Saturday I asked myself “Could it honestly get any worst for Texas A&M at this point?” And after watching a team that was once ranked 6th in the country preseason lose their 6th straight game against the Auburn Tigers 13-10, all that could happen now to actually make things worse would be a loss to 1-9 UMass next weekend.
The Aggies came into the matchup versus Auburn with a decent amount of confidence, believing that freshman quarterback Conner Weigman, who missed last weekend’s game due to the flu could get the offense back on track against a Tiger’s defense that had been vulnerable in pass defense.
But on Friday night, it was announced that star running back Devon Achane would miss his first game of the season due to a nagging foot injury sustained against the Florida Gators, leaving a giant hole in the offense, and making things just that much tougher on the young signal caller.
Entering the game, due to poor offensive line play (which has been a trend all season) combined with the sudden disappearance of wide receiver Moose Muhammad III, who was later deemed unavailable due to improper game-day sleeves, the offense could never get into a rhythm, while actually having negative yardage in the 3rd quarter alone. The Aggie defense was once again horrific in run defense, allowing 270 yards rushing on the night, though they did force 3 turnovers in the game while providing good field passion for the offense, who couldn’t take advantage.
What’s more alarming about the loss is Tiger’s quarterback Robby Ashford’s stat line, who threw for 60 yards for 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions, which on any given Saturday should result in a loss, but against Texas A&M this season, anything is possible. The Aggie offense finally showed some life in the fourth quarter, scoring 10 points, and Weigman threw a strike in the endzone to wide receiver Jalen Preston plus a Randy Bond field goal, giving themselves at least a chance to win or tie after an onside kick tries with a minute left, which was unsuccessful, falling 13-10.
Tough times in Aggieland as the team drops to 3-7, and 1-6 in the SEC, as two games remain to hopefully answer any of the dozen lingering questions surrounding the program. With that, here are 5 things we learned from Texas A&M’s loss to Auburn.
Injuries and Attrition have buoyed any chance of victory for the Aggies during their 6 game losing streak
Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Conner Weigman (15) throws the ball under pressure as Auburn Tigers take on Texas A&M Aggies at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala., on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022.
The 2022 season for Texas A&M was supposed to be one for the ages, as the most talented freshman class in recruiting history combined with a number of proven veterans should have yielded at least 9 wins, but 10 to 11 was definitely the goal. Then the season started, and the wheels completely fell off as soon as Appalachian State walked into Kyle Field on Sept. 10th.
After dropping their 6th straight game against the Auburn Tigers on Saturday night, over 30-plus players were either out for the season or missing the game due to injury. What does this leave? Young, inexperienced, freshmen, who although make be supremely talented, lack the overall “feel” and understanding needed to thrive at the collegiate level, especially on defense. Injuries are unavoidable unless you want to throw the blame on the strength and conditioning coach, but in this case, it’s just bad luck.
It's time to hand over the play calling duties once and for all, Jimbo
Nov 12, 2022; Auburn, Alabama, USA; Texas A&M Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher talks to a game official during the fourth quarter against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The field goal was good. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports
It’s been a lingering question all season, should Jimbo Fisher, hailed as one of the better offensive play callers in the last decade or so give up his duties Here is the evidence: Texas A&M’s offense, ranks 92nd in the nation while averaging 21.5 points per game, and has been virtually anemic in the last two weeks against poor defenses. Against Auburn, the Aggies mustered only 215 yards and 10 points on offense, while actually having negative yardage throughout the third quarter.
That’s bad, really, bad, especially in Jimbo Fishers’ 5th season with the program, and if brighter days are indeed ahead, this is the first of many changes that need to be made in the coming months.
Want some potential candidates for the job? Here is a list authored by our managing editor Joey Ickes of who could possibly be considered for one of the more illustrious coordinator jobs in the country come next season.
As Devon Achane missed the game due to injury, sophomore running back Amari Daniels showed some promise
Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Conner Weigman (15) hands the ball off to Texas A&M Aggies running back Amari Daniels (4) as Auburn Tigers take on Texas A&M Aggies at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala., on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022.
Due to a foot injury to star running back Devon Achane, sophomore running back Amari Daniels started his first game of the season, and honestly didn’t disappoint with 84 yards rushing on the night, including 38 yard run toward the end of the game. Daniel displays a nice blend of speed and quickness while showing adequate vision footwork at this early stage in his career.
Freshman running back Le’veon Moss, who only had 5 carries for 7 yards on the night, is seen to have more promise at the position, especially if Devon Achane ends up leaving for the NFL at the end of the season. Next week against a 1-9 UMass team, expect a heavy dose of Daniels and Moss all afternoon.
Freshman defensive lineman LT Overton started his first career game, giving a glimpse into his exciting future
Sep 17, 2022; College Station, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies defensive lineman LT Overton (18) in action during the game between the Texas A&M Aggies and the Miami Hurricanes at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
While looking for any bright spot after the Aggies’ 6th consecutive loss at the hands of the Auburn Tigers on Saturday night, freshman defensive tackle LT Overton, one of the youngest and perhaps most talented defenders on the roster had his best game of the season so far. The former 5-Star recruit started his first game of the season for the Aggies, recording 9 tackles, 7 solo tackles, and 1 tackle for loss on the night, finishing second in tackles behind defensive back Antonio Johnson.
It’s all about the future now for Texas A&M as they sit at 3-7 on the season with no bowl game in sight, with a roster and coaching staff that may look drastically different by this time next season. So, with all of that noise, watching the development of future superstars like LT Overton in these final two games of the 2022 season is all that matters now.
Conner Weigman has a lot to gain from each painful loss, and will be a big part of next years hopeful turnaround
Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Conner Weigman (15) runs the ball as Auburn Tigers take on Texas A&M Aggies at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala., on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022. Auburn Tigers lead Texas A&M 7-0 at halftime.
Freshman quarterback Conner Weigman, who at this point is the primary offensive focus heading into the 2023 season, made his second career start against Auburn on Saturday night, and on paper, it was anything but pretty. Due to bad offensive line play, lack of early game tempo on offense, and not having wide receiver Moose Muhammad III at his disposal, Weigman threw for 121 yards on 14/36 passing (38%) for 1 touchdown, which came late in the fourth quarter.
Yes, it wasn’t his best game, but there were still a number of “Wow!” moments that kept us believing that with young Conner at the helm, things might just turn around faster than expected if everything around him falls into place. In these next two games, continuing to improve in every lacking aspect of his game is paramount going into 2023.