When Texas A&M faced Auburn in 2014, the Tigers were the No. 3 team in the nation, had a 7-1 record, and were coming off a big win against then-No. 4 Ole Miss. Texas A&M was 6-3, struggled the previous week against Louisiana Monroe, and had lost its last three SEC games by a combined score of 142-51.
So, it was not shocking when the Aggies opened as two-touchdown underdogs at sportsbooks (+14.5). The spread reached 24 points, before settling at +23.5.
The Tigers were looking to add to their College Football Playoff resume, while the Aggies were trying to salvage the season.
It should have been an easy one for Auburn. Instead, Texas A&M controlled the game from the start and held on for an exciting win, 41-38.
A&M Faced October Struggles Post-Manziel
The 2014 season was the first in the post-Johnny Manziel Era for the Aggies. While it got off to a solid 5-0 start and A&M appeared to have its next star quarterback, reality reared its ugly head once the season hit October. After three straight losses, the Aggies went from being a top-ten team to unranked.
Following a dreadful outing against Alabama, A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin replaced his “star” quarterback, Kenny Hill, with freshman Kyle Allen. In his first start the following week, Allen was dreadful (13-for-28 passing for 106 yards, one touchdown, and one interception).
With how Allen had played the week before, it was surprising that the Aggies opened as just two-touchdown underdogs. Yes, the defense was still decent, but there appeared to be no hope for the offense. Against a team like Auburn, with legitimate national championship aspirations, a struggling Texas A&M team didn’t appear to have a chance.
Kyle Allen and an Opportunistic Defense Win the Day
Allen did not look good in his first start the week before, but he was a 5-star recruit coming out of high school for a reason. He got the Aggies off to a fast start with two touchdown passes inside of Texas A&M’s first seven plays.
Auburn bounced back and tied the game up at 14-14 late in the first quarter. However, Allen took control in the second, throwing two more touchdown passes. The A&M special teams tacked on a third touchdown to give the Aggies a 35-17 halftime lead.
In the second half, it was the defense that saved the day. The Tigers pulled to within three points about midway through the fourth quarter, 41-38, and had the momentum. Right when it appeared that Auburn was going to take a late lead, the defense forced a fumble on the goal line.
The Tigers had another shot late in the game, but another fumble secured the win for Texas A&M.
In 2014, Texas A&M and Auburn played a high-scoring, wild one.
In the end, @AggieFootball took down the No. 3 Tigers. pic.twitter.com/lKKCPT8sgf
— SEC on CBS 🏈 (@SEConCBS) September 19, 2019
Fall From Grace Was Inevitable for Auburn
While October was a tough month for the Aggies, November was brutal for the Tigers. By handing the Tigers their second loss of the season, Texas A&M effectively brought Auburn’s national title dreams to an end.
Back-to-back losses to Georgia and Alabama left Auburn going to the Outback Bowl instead of the CFP. With a loss to Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl, the Tigers finished the season with an 8-5 record.
As for the Aggies, the win pushed the them back into the top 25 of the CFP rankings (No. 24). However, A&M followed the Auburn win with a loss to Missouri and LSU. Texas A&M ended the season on a high note with a win over West Virginia in the Liberty Bowl, improving its record to 8-5.
AP Photo/Brynn Anderson