Texas A&M Football: Winners and Losers from Week 9 Game vs. Auburn

Michael TaglientiFeatured ColumnistOctober 28, 2012

Texas A&M Football: Winners and Losers from Week 9 Game vs. Auburn

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    The No. 20 Texas A&M football team visited the loveliest village on the plains and came away with a convincing 63-21 victory over Auburn. With the win, the Aggies improved their overall record to 6-2 and 3-2 in the Southeastern Conference.

    Auburn dropped to 1-7 overall and 0-6 in the SEC. It was the Aggies' second SEC road win of the season and fourth road win overall.

    There was some concern that the Aggies would struggle after losing a very physical game to LSU a week ago. The Aggies jumped out to a big lead early and left little doubt in their blowout victory.

    This is a look at the winners and losers from the Auburn game.

Winner: Kevin Sumlin

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    Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin has won every road game he has coached since taking over the Aggies. The Ags have a 4-0 record on the road under Sumlin.

    That is a tremendous testament to his ability to increase the mental toughness on this team in just his first year over the program. Sumlin has the Aggies fighting for all 60 minutes of the game, and fans are seeing the result on the scoreboard.

    The Aggies have won two conference road games in their inaugural season in the SEC. That is a great accomplishment for the Ags in their first season in the conference.

Loser: Ivan Robinson

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    With the Aggies staked to a 49-7 lead early in the second quarter, Sumlin pulled the starters and inserted the backups.

    Defensive tackle Ivan Robinson saw extensive action for the first time since the SMU game. Robinson was not effective against the Tigers. He was regularly beat at the point of attack allowing Auburn to tear of some big gains.

    Robinson is likely playing out of position on the inside. He should be a strong-side defensive end, but is playing defensive tackle because of the Ags' lack of depth.

    Robinson had two tackles in the game but was regularly dominated by the suspect Auburn offensive line.

Winner: Kliff Kingsbury

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    Texas A&M offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury drew some criticism last week after the LSU loss for not sticking with the run.

    Kingsbury had the Aggies pounding the rock throughout the ballgame against Auburn. The Aggies rushed for 352 yards on 7.3 yards per carry against the Auburn defense.

    Kingsbury will take what the defense gives him. He knew that the Ags would be able to run the ball on the Tigers, and he stuck with the run throughout the game.

    Kingsbury is learning what it takes to win games in the SEC. Scoring 63 points on the road is a testament to his growing ability as an offensive coach.

Loser: Johntel Franklin

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    Ags backup safety Johntel Franklin had a very poor game against Auburn. He was regularly burned in the passing game.

    Franklin finished the game with three total tackles and struggled tremendously in coverage. He was victimized twice for long touchdown passes by Tigers freshman quarterback Jonathan Wallace.

    It appeared that Franklin did not belong on the field against this level of competition.

Winner: Trey Williams

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    Texas A&M freshman running back Trey Williams had the first 100-yard rushing game of his career against the Tigers.

    Williams carried the ball 19 times for 109 yards and a touchdown against Auburn.

    The freshman from Dekaney High School near Houston appears to be coming into his own on the field. He has made big plays in the last three games for the Aggies.

    Williams had a 55-yard catch and run against Louisiana Tech. In the LSU game Williams returned a kickoff 76 yards to set the Aggies up on the LSU 15-yard line. He scored his second career touchdown against Auburn.

    Although he still appears to be trying to do too much at one time, Williams is definitely adjusting to this level of football. Aggie fans should be excited about his future with the team.

Loser: Gene Chizik

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    Auburn head coach Gene Chizik extended his personal losing streak against A&M to four games with the 63-21 loss. Chizik lost his last game as the defense coordinator at Texas to A&M, then lost two straight against the Aggies while he was the head coach at Iowa State.

    The loss to A&M was likely the last straw for Auburn boosters and fans. The Auburn administration cannot ignore the fact that the stands began to empty in the second quarter and the stadium was mostly empty in the second half.

    It has become painfully obvious that Chizik lucked into a national title with the combination of Cam Newton at quarterback and Gus Malzahn at offensive coordinator.

    Malzahn is now the head coach at Arkansas State and Auburn's offense is a dumpster fire. It is unlikely that Auburn will win an SEC game this season.

    With the loss to A&M, the Tigers eliminated any chance they had at qualifying for a bowl game. The search for Chizik's replacement can begin in earnest now.

Winner: Aggie Depth

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    The Aggies do not have a bye week during the season, and they were banged up after a physical loss to LSU. Sumlin and the coaching staff made a concerted effort to get the starters some rest against Auburn.

    The coaches pulled the majority of the starters when the Aggies took a 49-7 lead early in the third quarter. It offered a chance for players like Damontre Moore and Spencer Nealy to heal up a little bit and save their energy for the rest of the schedule.

    After playing over 100 snaps against Lousiana Tech and then a street fight with LSU, it was nice to see the starters on defense get some much deserved rest.

Loser: Matt Joeckel

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    The Aggies' third-string quarterback struggled against Auburn. Matt Joeckel led the Aggies on one of their few drives that did not score against Auburn.

    The redshirt sophomore appeared to try to get the ball down the field too much against the Tigers instead of taking the checkdown. Joeckel threw two incompletions on his only two attempts as the Ags went three and out in his series under center.

    Joeckel needs to take what the defense is giving him when he is in the game.

Winner: Aggies' Reputation

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    With the win, the Aggies are now bowl eligible in their first season in the SEC. There were multiple national pundits who predicted that the Aggies would be blown out in all of their SEC games in their inaugural year.

    At the SEC Media Days during the summer, many members of the media openly questioned how the Aggies would be able to compete in the toughest league in the country.

    Sumlin and the Aggies have proven that not only can the compete, but on their good days they can deliver epic beatdowns to their fellow conference members.

    The Aggies will go to a bowl for their fourth straight season. That is a longer streak than any of the other major programs in the state of Texas and speaks to the consistency of the Aggies football program right now.

Winner: Christine Michael

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    Texas A&M senior running back Christine Michael reminded Aggie fans that he can still be an effective back in this offense. Michael has been running with a purpose since he came back from a suspension earlier in the year, but the statistics have not shown it.

    Against the Tigers, Michael had 75 yards on nine carries with a touchdown. He still needs to work on his blocking, but Michael showed the fans once again why he can be one of the best power backs in the nation. 

    He has the size, speed and moves to play on Sundays. It was nice to see Michael have a good game after his early-season struggles.