Auburn, so routinely a team of preposterous miracles, has just managed to bumble its way to a come-from-behind loss tonight at Jordan-Hare Stadium, where the Tigers hadn't lost since 2012. Three weeks after Alabama burned Texas A&M to the ground and salted the earth for good measure, the Aggies, losers of three straight conference games (including 59-0 in Tuscaloosa) have spun Auburn into the dreaded two-loss tier of would-be title hopefuls. The hell is up with the SEC West.
This one looked certain to be Auburn's again, despite a tornadic first half that saw A&M, starting second-string quarterback Kyle Allen, ring up 35 points.
The comeback, inevitable, arrived late. Nick Marshall had played the delayed read perfectly so well in the second half (faking out the Aggies' goal-line D and trotting for one of his two rushing touchdowns, for instance). Driving for what would've been the go-ahead score, Marshall held the ball a beat too long in the breadbasket of running back Cameron Artis-Payne and then bobbled it for the Aggies to pick up at their own 3 with less than 3 minutes left. A&M moved the ball nowhere, punted from the back edge of its end zone, and gave Auburn field-goal position with almost a minute remaining.
Then the center became the dog. Reese Dismukes and Marshall got something mixed up, because Dismukes snapped the ball into the bottom of his own ass and Marshall was still flat-footed when the Aggies recovered.
Game ball goes to Allen, a true freshman: four touchdowns and 9.6 YPA filling in for suspended Kenny Hill, getting a win as 23-point underdogs. But it should've been Marshall, again, with the wild comeback. Two late gaffes, more than Auburn seems to commit in a season, were too much, at long last.