Gus Malzahn and the Auburn Tigers are now 6–1 after beating the Texas A&M Aggies 45–41 Saturday at College Station. The contest featured seven lead changes, and the outcome was undecided until senior defensive end Dee Ford sacked Johnny Manziel on fourth down at the Auburn 43 with just 11 seconds remaining in the game.
The Tigers took the final lead of the game on a five-yard touchdown run by Tre Mason, but the critical moment of the drive came two plays before Mason's score.
On 3rd-and-9 at the A&M 39, Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall takes a shotgun snap and drops back. He immediately looks to the right sideline, where true freshman Marcus Davis slipped behind fellow receiver Sammie Coates and turned up field.
Davis is covered closely by A&M defender Nate Askew, but Marshall delivers a strike, and Davis makes the grab. Askew attempts to break up the play, but Davis pins the ball against his helmet and then pulls it into his body securely. The third-down conversion is good for 27 yards down to the A&M 12. From there, the Tigers needed only two plays to make the go-ahead score.
Earlier in the season—against Arkansas State—Davis caught Nick Marshall's first-ever touchdown pass as an Auburn Tiger. Davis entered the Texas A&M game with 14 catches for 105 yards. His third-down grab on Auburn's final scoring drive was his only catch against the Aggies, but the impact of that one play is sure to be remembered in what is shaping up to be a remarkable season for the Tigers.
Davis is currently Auburn's fourth-leading receiver behind Coates, Ricardo Louis and Quan Bray.
With LSU losing to Ole Miss Saturday night, Auburn now controls its own destiny with regards to representing the western division in the SEC championship game. While none of the experts would have predicted Auburn to be in this position in mid October, one Auburn fan predicted the exact score of the Tigers' game against Texas A&M.
Auburn fans are definitely feeling "fearless and true" after beating the Aggies, but 2013 still holds many challenges. The Tigers face Florida Atlantic this Saturday, but then conclude the regular season with four conference opponents, starting with Arkansas and Tennessee—both on the road.
Of course, if the Tigers can play like they did at College Station, they'll have a chance to win anywhere.
Josh Dowdy is a contributor to Bleacher Report and the author of Orange Is Our Color: The Tuberville Years through Navy-tinted Glasses.
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