The game of football is a grind. Even good teams must endure the physical punishment, monotony of schedule, and weight of expectations that the gridiron provides.
All of those things are true of teams that are in the midst of losing seasons as well, but there is no thrill of victory or hope of fulfilling season goals to help drive them forward.
Teams that struggle to win many games typically need something unusual, unexpected, or unconventional to find the needed motivation to press on in the face of disappointment.
Auburn interim head coach Carnell Williams has provided just that to the Loveliest Village on the Plains over the last two weeks and guided the Tigers to their first win in nearly two months, a 13-10 victory over Texas A&M.
The energy and enthusiasm that Williams and his staff have injected into the team and the fanbase has completely changed feel of Auburn football in 2022.
This Auburn football team still has plenty of flaws and certainly has not been transformed into some kind of football powerhouse.
However, there is an undeniable shift in vibes around the Auburn Tigers football program that completely correlates with Cadillac Williams’ tenure as head coach.
On a cool night in Auburn, the passion of the Auburn coaches, players, and fans burned hot and the Tigers fought their way to victory, giving Coach Williams his first career win.
Take a look at three things that led to Auburn’s 13-10 victory over Texas A&M.
The Auburn Tigers defense was up to the challenge Saturday night in Jordan-Hare Stadium versus Texas A&M, and provided the performance that was needed to earn a close win.
Texas A&M is far from an offensive juggernaut as currently constructed, but they are a team with considerable talent.
The Auburn defense tightened the clamps on the Aggies for most of the game, including a third quarter performance that kept Texas A&M from converting a single first down.
The Aggies were completely stymied on the ground and their freshman quarterback Conner Weigman was held under 100 yards passing until Texas A&M’s final possession.
The Tigers defense completely controlled the game and might have been able to shut out the Aggies if Auburn’s offense had not turned the ball over a couple of times in the second half.
Auburn’s defensive performance was a collaborative effort, but standout defensive lineman Colby Wooden’s sack that caused Conner Weigman to fumble late in the fourth quarter was an outstanding play that helped put the game just outside of the Aggies reach.
The Tigers’ defense set the tone early against Texas A&M and made big stops late in order to earn a much needed win against the Aggies.
Tigers’ Rushing Attack
Auburn’s offensive line has been the subject of many discussions over the past few seasons, and most of them have not been positive.
The Tigers’ front five on offense may not be world-beaters, but they deserve a ton of credit for helping Auburn earn a victory against Texas A&M.
Auburn ran the ball 55 times against the Aggies for 270 yards and completely controlled most of the game doing so.
The Tigers’ backfield of tailbacks, Tank Bigsby and Jarquez Hunter, combined with quarterback Robby Ashford, found lanes to run for the duration of the contest.
Auburn was not able to get the ball in the end zone on the ground, but the rushing game was the Tigers’ only consistent source of offense and did enough to win the matchup.
Auburn fans expect their best teams to win championships, but every team that takes the field at Jordan-Hare Stadium in the blue jerseys to display toughness and tenacity.
No one believes that the 2022 Auburn Tigers had quit on this season prior to Bryan Harsin being fired, but everyone can clearly see that the current coaches have tapped into something that was missing for the previous month.
On offense, Auburn has lined up and run the football over and over again in the last few weeks.
The Tigers defense has allowed 19 points in the last six quarters of football that they have played by tightening coverage, harassing the passer, and hitting ball-carriers.
The brand of football that the Auburn Tigers have played in the last two games is what is needed for the remainder of this season’s schedule.
Zack Shaw is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News and former walk-on for the Auburn Tigers.