Kellen Mond Totals 3 TDs as No. 5 Texas A&M Survives Auburn's Upset Bid

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistDecember 5, 2020

Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond (11) looks to pass against Auburn during the first half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Butch Dill/Associated Press

The No. 5 Texas A&M Aggies kept their College Football Playoff hopes alive Saturday with a 31-20 road win over the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

In addition to a solid performance from quarterback Kellen Mond, who accounted for three touchdowns, the Aggies thrived thanks to a dominant running game that totaled 313 yards and helped them win the time of possession battle 38:00-22:00.

Auburn put up a good fight and led the game on two occasions, but the Tigers were unable to pull off the upset despite quarterback Bo Nix's two rushing touchdowns.

Texas A&M improved to 7-1 on the season with the win, while Auburn fell to a disappointing 5-4.


Notable Stats

Kellen Mond, QB, TAMU: 18/23 for 196 YDS, 2 TD, 0 INT; 10 CAR for 60 YDS, 1 TD

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Isaiah Spiller, RB, TAMU: 20 CAR for 120 YDS; 2 REC for 10 YDS

Devon Achane, RB, TAMU: 9 CAR for 99 YDS; 1 REC for 3 YDS

Jalen Wydermyer, TE, TAMU: 8 REC for 89 YDS, 2 TD

Bo Nix, QB, AUB: 15/23 for 144 YDS, 0 TD, 0 INT; 11 CAR for 49 YDS, 2 TD

Tank Bigsby, RB, AUB: 9 CAR for 76 YDS

Seth Williams, WR, AUB: 3 REC for 51 YDS


Wydermyer, Running Game Spur Aggies' Attack

Auburn struggled to defend a multifaceted offensive attack from Texas A&M on Saturday, which led directly to the Aggies' victory.

Leading SEC rusher Isaiah Spiller, freshman Devon Achane and quarterback Kellen Mond ran wild throughout the contest. Trey Scott of 247Sports noted how the depth and versatility of Texas A&M's backfield gave Auburn and so many other teams this season issues:

Spiller has received no shortage of praise this season as arguably the best offensive player on one of the top teams in the nation, but Achane hasn't been talked about as much. That may change after his performance Saturday.

Auburn also had to deal with Ainias Smith, who scored a key touchdown in the fourth quarter that extended Texas A&M's lead from one to eight.

Mond didn't have to do too much Saturday with the running game firing on all cylinders, but when he did go to the air, sophomore tight end Jalen Wydermyer was his target more often than not.

Wydermyer has quickly developed into one of the top tight ends in college football, and his development was on full display Saturday with a pair of touchdown grabs.

He was responsible for the first touchdown of the game, beating the Auburn secondary to the back pylon for a 10-yard score:

Wydermyer scored again from 20 yards out in the fourth quarter to help give Texas A&M a one-point lead. Mond's pass was nearly intercepted before getting deflected into Wydermyer's hands.

Rotoworld's Thor Nystrom and Barrett Sallee of CBS Sports were among those who were particularly impressed by Wydermyer's performance:

Texas A&M showed once again that it is capable of beating teams in myriad ways with multiple weapons in the running and passing game showing out Saturday.

Because of that, the Aggies could be a major threat should they manage to qualify for the CFP in the coming weeks.


Nix Creates Highlight Reel with Legs vs. Aggies

As has been the case throughout the season, Auburn quarterback Bo Nix had his issues as a passer Saturday, but he showed off another element of his game.

Nix was the talk of social media during the early slate of college football games Saturday thanks to a play of the year nominee that resulted in a five-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

Nix looked to be dead to rights while in the grasp of a Texas A&M defender, but he escaped, ran to his left and found his way into the end zone against all odds:

Former Auburn and current Las Vegas Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson loved what he saw out of the talented signal-caller on the run:

While the particular run was Nix's top highlight, he had a few other impressive ones in the game as well, including a three-yard scoring dart in the third quarter to give Auburn a 17-14 lead:

Nix played a big role in the Tigers rushing for nearly 200 yards as a team Saturday, and his legs were arguably Auburn's biggest offensive weapon.

In fact, Nix ran so well that Connor O'Gara of Saturday Down South questioned why he doesn't run more often:

Aside from their defense getting run on at will, the Tigers' biggest issue Saturday was their inability to consistently move the ball down the field through the air.

Nix found other ways to keep Auburn in the game and showed plenty of grit by making something out of nothing at times, but it wasn't enough to overcome a supremely talented Texas A&M squad.


What's Next?

Texas A&M will attempt to further bolster its CFP case next weekend when it hosts Ole Miss, followed by a road game against Tennessee on Dec. 19.

Meanwhile, Auburn will look to bounce back from Saturday's disappointing loss when it faces Mississippi State on the road next Saturday.