Auburn’s football road trip to Lone Star State set to be a major challenge
Auburn is 4-0 in football games at Texas A&M’s Kyle Field, but the Tigers face one of their main challenges of the 2021 season when they try to improve that score to 5-. 0 on their road trip to College Station.
The Aggies, who just finished a 9-1 season, fire many of their key players and on Wednesday to SEC Media Days, their head coach, Jimbo Fisher, has made it clear that he has high expectations for his team and that he accepts the challenges that come with it.
“This is where you want to be,” he said. “You want to be relevant. You want to be everyone’s game that they mark on their timeline. It means that you are doing what you are supposed to do and become the organization that you want to be.
“Now we have to face it and manage it, and understand the responsibilities that come with it and the standard that we have to play, train and prepare with every week,” added the coach.
Auburn will travel to College Station for Game 9 of the 2021 season, a November 6 contest. The Aggies won last season’s game against the Tigers 31-20 in Gus Malzahn’s last season as the Tigers’ head coach.
The Aggies will field one of the SEC’s most experienced defensive groups this year with nine returning starters. One of the best returning defenders, end DeMarvin Leal, said opposing offenses will be challenged to move football to the Aggies. “This group can be very special,” he said, adding, “It’s going to be amazing.”
The Aggies are third in the league for the lowest points allowed per game at 21.1 in 2020. There are more questions about the offense, who needs to replace a four-year-old starter as quarterback (Kellen Mond) and rebuilt the line, but Fisher said his roster was full for future NFL draft picks led by the All-American return. Kenya Green, who goes from guard to tackle for his junior season.
“Offensively we’re very excited,” Fisher said Wednesday. “We have lost linemen. We had one that came back, one of the best in the country, if not the best, in Kenya Green on that side. I have to replace a great quarterback, but we have some great guys with (Zach) Calzada and King Haynes right there there will be two outstanding guys competing for the job.
“We’re confident in the offensive linemen,” said Fisher. “We’ve lost a lot of experience, but the guys coming back are very talented, very talented and very knowledgeable, very happy with the spring they had.
“Most importantly, you guys are good on offense,” Fisher added. “(We’re turning over the) top three receivers, an All-American tight end. A guy i call your swiss army knife Ainias Smith, is one of the best football players I have ever known. Isaiah Spiller is a formidable back.
Spiller, a 6-1, 225 junior, ran for 1,036 yards and nine touchdowns last season. Devon Achane, a 5-9, 185 sophomore, is a big play threat for the running back who has averaged 8.5 yards per carry. Smith, a 5-10, 190 junior, ran for 300 yards last year and led the Aggies in receiving yards with 564 of 43 receptions.
Tight end Jalen wydermyer, a 6-5, 255 junior, caught 46 passes for 506 yards and six touchdowns last year.
Who throws the passes will be sorted at preseason camp, Fisher said. Calzada, a sophomore of 6-4, 205 redshirt and 6-2, 205 redshirt freshman King became the favorite to start in QB with their spring performances. King runs very well and Calzada has a strong arm.
Green, who will protect the quarterbacks and make holes for the runners, said Fisher’s confidence in the offensive line is well placed. “We have a lot of talent at stake,” said the junior. “I’m not too worried about it. I have confidence in my teammates, in my O line. We are doing well. “
In addition to Leal, the defense includes star contenders such as 6-6, 310 senior tackles Jayden peevy and 6-1, 210 Safety Leon O’Neal plus potential help from 2020 Safeguards plus Newcomers.
Tigers in Texas A&M–Auburn’s first trip to Kyle Field was a memorable one in 2013 with a thrilling victory over the seventh-seeded Aggies, led by the quarterback. Johnny manziel. Here are Auburn’s results at College Station:
2013–# 24, Auburn 41, # 7 Texas A&M 38
2015-Auburn 26, # 25 Texas A&M 10
2017–No.16 Auburn 42, Texas A&M 27
2019–# 8 Auburn 28, # 17 Texas A&M 20