** available after 11:30 PM CT per SEC rules
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas A&M's Mike Evans had a school-record 287 yards receiving with four touchdowns, but No. 24 Auburn got past the seventh-ranked Aggies 45-41 on Saturday.
Evans became the first player in school history to have two, 200-yard receiving games in a career. He scored on receptions of 26, 64, 42 and 33 yards.
Tre Mason's 5-yard score with less than 2 minutes to play was first placed at the 1, but it was reviewed and ruled a touchdown.
A&M (5-2, 2-2 SEC) had a last chance, but Johnny Manziel, the Heisman Trophy winner, was sacked by Dee Ford on fourth down to secure the win.
Manziel threw for 454 yards and four touchdowns and ran for a fifth score, but was intercepted twice. He missed a series in the fourth quarter with an apparent injury to his right arm or shoulder. He returned but was constantly moving his right arm.
Nick Marshall threw for 236 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 100 yards and two more scores for Auburn (6-1, 3-1).
Auburn entered the game leading the SEC with 287 yards rushing a game and piled up 379 yards rushing against the Aggies. Mason led the way with 178 yards and Corey Grantadded 45.
Manziel connected with Evans for his fourth TD on a 33-yard pass -- that Auburn was called for pass interference on -- giving A&M a 31-24 lead late in the third quarter.
Manziel was injured when he was tackled on an 8-yard run early in the fourth quarter.
He got up after the tackle and then went to the ground before he reached the A&M sideline. A&M officials looked at him for a couple of minutes on the turf before he got up and walked off on his own power.
He was replaced by Matt Joeckel, who threw an incomplete pass on third down and A&M settled for a 20-yard field goal to push the lead to 34-24.
Marshall cut A&M's lead to 3 when he ran 13 yards for a touchdown with about 12 minutes left.
Cameron Artis-Payne put Auburn ahead 38-34 with a 2-yard run with about 9 minutes remaining. Tre Mason slashed through the line and ran 53 yards to set up the score.
Manziel returned and orchestrated a 75-yard drive capped by his 1-yard touchdown run to give A&M a 41-38 lead with about 5 minutes left.
A&M had forced Auburn to punt on four straight possessions before Marshall found Sammie Coates on a screen pass and he coasted into the end zone untouched for a 43-yard touchdown to tie it at 24-24.
Evans took a short pass from Manziel and darted through traffic for a 26-yard touchdown that gave A&M a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. It was the sixth straight game the Aggies scored a touchdown on their opening drive.
The Tigers answered when Marshall ran 14 yards for a touchdown on Auburn's first drive. Grant had a 32-yard run two plays before the touchdown.
Manziel's first interception came when Ryan Smith grabbed a pass that was deflected byNehemiah Hicks just before it hit the ground in the first quarter. Auburn took a 10-7 lead on a 27-yard field goal by Cody Parkey after the interception.
Texas A&M's next drive was a quick one. Evans grabbed an 11-yard pass before taking a short throw, getting free on a block by Malcome Kennedy and dashing 64 yards down the sideline for a touchdown that put A&M back on top 14-10.
The Tigers coughed the ball up on their next possession when Howard Matthews forced a fumble by Marshall which was recovered by Steven Jenkins.
But the Aggies weren't able to take advantage of that miscue, with Manziel throwing another interception six plays later. He evaded three defenders before launching the pass into double coverage which was intercepted just in front of the goal line by Ryan White.
Auburn had a first-and-goal at the 1 after converting a fourth down after the interception by Manziel. But the Tigers were flagged for a false start before Marshall was sacked for a 7-yard loss to bring up third down.
Marshall escaped the rush and found Quan Bray in the end zone for the 13-yard touchdown that gave Auburn a 17-14 lead early in the second quarter.
A&M tied it with a 37-yard field goal by Josh Lambo.
The Aggies regained the lead just before halftime when Evans scored again. This time he pulled in a short pass, juked a defender and then stiff-armed another before diving into the pylon for a 42-yard touchdown to make it 24-17.
ABOUT THE GAME...
- The Aggies fell to 5-2 and 2-2 in the SEC.
- The Aggies are now 3-1 all-time against the Auburn Tigers.
BE LIKE MIKE
- Sophomore WR Mike Evans posted his second 200-yard-plus receiving game of the season with 287 yards and 4 touchdowns on 11 catches against Auburn.
SEC’s Top 5 Receiving Games 303 Cobi Hamilton, ARK vs. Rutgers, 2012 293 Josh Reed, LSU vs. Alabama, 2001 287 Mike Evans, A&M vs. Auburn, 2013 281 Jarius Wright, ARK vs. A&M, 2011 279 Mike Evans, A&M vs. Alabama, 2013
- Evans’ 287 yards versus the Tigers bests his previous Texas A&M record 279-yard performance against No. 1 Alabama earlier this season.
- Evans is the first Aggie with two 200-yard receiving games in his career.
- His four receiving TDs tie the school record originally set by Ryan Swope against Baylor in 2011.
- A model of consistency, Evans has had at least one 15-yard catch in every game of his career (20 games). He’s also had at least one 30-yard catch in 11-of-20 career games.
- Evans’ 1,024 yards this season ranks 4th all-time in the A&M record books for a season. With at least five games to play this season Evans looks to better his 1,105 yards a season ago (3rd most all-time).
- No. 13 is the only player in A&M history to record two 1,000-plus yard receiving seasons.
- The Galveston native’s 2,129 career yards place him fifth on the A&M career recieving yards list, trailing fourth-place Uzoma Nwachukwu (2,239 yards) by just 110 recieving yards.
- Sophomore QB Johnny Manziel passed for 454 yards and four touchdowns, and rushed for 48 yards on 18 carries against Auburn.
- Manziel generated 502 total yards, which was the 10th 400-plus game of his career (fourth of 2013).
- Manziel’s 502 yards marked the fifth time he has produced 500-plus total yards in his career. Manziel is the only Aggie to ever record 500-plus yards in a game. He is the only SEC player to generate 500 yards in a game more than once.
- It was the eighth 300-yard passing game of his career (fourth of 2013), and the fourth 400-yard passing effort of his career (third of 2013).
- Texas A&M took the opening kickoff and drove 67 yards for a touchdown on six plays (1:41 time of possession). The drive culminated with a 26-yard TD catch by Mike Evans from Johnny Manziel.
- The Aggies have scored first in 19-of-20 games under head coach Kevin Sumlin.
- The Aggies have scored on their opening offensive series in 17-of-20 games, including 16 touchdowns, under Sumlin.
MANZIEL TO... LABHART?
- Former walk-on Travis Labhart continues his surprising mid-season surge with seven catches for 79 yards. Both numbers represent the second-most for the an Aggie versus Auburn.
- Labhart’s 15 grabs over the last two games match Mike Evans for most receptions over that time period.
ANOTHER 40+ GAME
- Tonight’s 41-point scoring outburst was the Aggies’ 10th-straight game with 40 or more points, which is easily a school record and is the most in the FBS. A&M has scored 40+ in every game in 2013 and the last three games of 2012.
ANOTHER 400+ GAME
- Today’s 602-yard total marked A&M’s 19th straight game with 400 or more total yards, which is easily a school record and is the second-longest streak in FBS. It was A&M’s sixth straight 500+ effort. It was the 10th 600-yard game of Sumlin’s 20 games at A&M.
12TH MAN, POLO, CAPTAINS
- For the seventh straight game, sophomore defensive back Sam Moeller was the 12th Man.
- Wearing the #90 jersey in memory of fallen teammate Polo Manukainiu was freshman Jay Arnold (normally wears #96). Manukainiu died in a tragic car accident last summer.
- The Aggies’ team captain representatives at the coin toss were seniors Ben Malena, Toney Hurd Jr. and Jake Matthews. A&M won the toss and elected to receive.
Selected Texas A&M Post-Game Quotes
HEAD COACH KEVIN SUMLIN
On Auburn’s Offense…
“They lead the league in rushing coming into this game, you could see that. We made some adjustments at halftime and obviously had some success defensively in the third quarter. Obviously there towards the end we had some breakdowns I have to look at the video to tell you exactly what was going on, but they’re able to drive the ball and they made plays at the end when they had to make them and we didn’t. We faked the field goal there and get the first down and still only come away with only three points instead of a touchdown right there at the start of the fourth quarter. That ended up being a pretty critical situation for us.”
On Auburn’s Rushing Offense
“They were multiple on their attack in the first part of the game, it was more of a power scheme, in the second half it was more of a read option, quarterback read situation. So they got to the perimeter a couple times and had some big plays, certainly down inside, some of zone principles, they were getting four or five at a clip. It wasn’t a situation where they were busting big long runs, it was that we just couldn’t get off the field. I sit up here every week when we win or lose I talk about really two areas, third downs and turnover margin, of which we didn’t win either one of them tonight, and that’s why they won the game.
On the remainder of the season…
“I just said that there’s a lot out there in front of us. What’s important now is not what just happened. Just like on Monday the way we approach it, we got to be honest with ourselves win or lose and that basically, this time of year, teams go in a couple different directions. We need to get back in here Monday, as I said, be honest with ourselves, make sure that what we can fix we’re going to fix, as coaches and as players and move on. We’re in the middle of the season. We got a lot of football left, there’s no telling what can happen. In this league there’s a lot of close games, there are a lot of people who lost today too. We got to keep playing and we can’t dwell on this, we got to move on, but we also got to look honestly at where we are and how we’re going to approach things from here on out.”
On Johnny Manziel coming back in to play…
“He came back in and played. I don’t know how to measure pain. He didn’t say anything to me, he just said that he was ready to go. We were able to move the ball, I don’t think that was the case. We had a breakdown in protection a couple of times in the second half, which that’s not his fault.”
On Mike Evans and the final drive…
“You hit it right on the head. This team is confident in those situations, we’ve been in them before, and usually we handle them. We didn’t make enough plays at the end today. We got the kickoff return by Trey Williams that gave us good field position, moved the ball down the field, had our opportunities and couldn’t make a play. Mike, what can you say? As I said after the first game of the year, he’s one of the better players in the country, and I think people are starting to realize that, because he’s a big guy that has home run ability but will compete for the ball in any kind of traffic.”
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR MARK SNYDER
On third down defense…
“We felt like we got them to third-and-long but third-and-medium would be our downfall. That is very frustrating. I give Auburn a lot of credit. They came out and played their hearts and souls out. They were just better than us offensively than we were defensively.”
On defending against the run…
“Towards the end of the game they put their big-boy pads on and we couldn’t slow them down. Any time you can grind the clock like that and take the game is tough. I felt like that is what they did. They took the game and the clock from us. We couldn’t get off the field. We were humming there a little bit there with several three-and-outs. I felt like we were staying fresh. I give those guys credit. They blocked us and blocked us very well. We had a stretch where we felt like we were comfortable with the game. I thought we were playing pretty well. When they had to move the football and when they had to move the chains, they did. Good defense doesn’t allow that to happen. When you score 41 points you should win. End of story.”
On missing leadership on defense…
“There’s something to that but that’s what we are here for as coaches. That’s our job. If you don’t have that leadership on the field, you have to create that. We have to lead the way as coaches.”
On potential takeaways from game…
“On our side of the ball, it has continued to get better. There are going to be good things in this film and some things that we absolutely have to get corrected. I don’t know much right now and until I watch the film I don’t know what exactly those things are. We had a chance to win the game at the end, just like last week. They took the game and the clock from our offense. That will be looked at and scrutinized by myself and our staff at length.”
SOPHOMORE DE JULIEN OBIOHA
On coming up short…
“Two emotional games in a row; that’s what we expect in the SEC. We got the best of Ole Miss last week and this week Auburn got the better of us. I have to hand it to them, they’re a great team and they got the better of us today.”
On Nick Marshall…
“We practiced for him because we knew what we were facing with Nick Marshall. We knew he was a guy with sub 4.5 speed so we knew he’d be a great running threat but he could also pass the ball. He’s a great athlete and we couldn’t contain him. I have to tip my hat to him.”
On Auburn’s running game…
“Auburn uses their quarterback in a great way because they know how athletic he is. To play them you have to have good eye control and discipline. Auburn was able to run the ball effectively and they called great plays.”
JUNIOR OL CEDRIC OGBUEHI
On Auburn’s defensive line…
“They were good. I’d rate them as one of the best. They came, they played hard, so good for them.”
On the great downfield blocking for Mike Evans…
“The coaches are always talking about blocking. Today everyone just did a great job on their blocking assignments. We know Mike’s a great player and when he gets the ball in his hands anything can happen, so we just kept blocking downfield.”
JUNIOR WR MALCOME KENNEDY
On Johnny’s return after injury…
“There was no change in his demeanor. He’s the same player no matter what he goes through. You saw what happened at Ole Miss after he hurt his knee. It gives him that drive, that chip on his shoulder. He comes back stronger. Johnny is superman out there. I heard him talking to coaches and trainers saying ‘I gotta go in, I gotta play.’ That’s just his spirit, and to see him be a leader like that and play through pain, it motivates us as a team to play harder.”
On offense’s mindset before the final drive…
“We’ve faced that situation and come out on top many times. If you leave us time on the clock, we know we can get down there fast and put it in, so we weren’t worried about that.”
On Mike Evans…
“I don’t know what to say. It’s fun to watch him make plays. When Johnny throws him the ball it’s like: ‘will the defender knock him down this time… nope he caught it!’ It’s something that he continues to do and he’s become great at it, perfected it really. People are going to look for him and plan for trying to stop him, double team him, and that opens up things for other receivers. You see guys like Travis Labhart and Derel Walker step up and make plays when they focus on Mike.”
Selected Auburn Post-Game Quotes
HEAD COACH GUS MALZAHN
On the win…
"Big win for our program. Texas A&M is one of the top teams in the country on their home field. We challenged our players to improve each week, and they have done that. We've been working on getting our edge back, and we are getting closer. This was a big win for our program tonight. Our plan was to be in the game at halftime and wear them out in the second half. I think for the most part it worked. We are learning something about our team each week. We answered this test. We were curious how we were going to respond on the road, and we did better than when we played at LSU. It was a challenge for our defense giving the ball back to Manziel with one minute left in the game, but we found a way to get it done. We played without a lot of our guys, and everyone stepped up and raised their level. I like our team."
SOPHOMORE WR SAMMIE COATES
On what changed in the second half…
"We missed a couple opportunities in the passing game in the first half. Coach told us we were going to win the game in the second half. The second half we showed everyone we are a good team. The offensive line was great. They got every block they were supposed to get. After my dropped pass, I knew I had to turn around and have a big play."
JUNIOR QB NICK MARSHALL
On the win…
"My knee felt good all week. The trainers worked on it all week. Our team is going back to the top. We are just now getting our edge back. On the last drive we went out there and executed. We knew we were going to be the more conditioned team in the second half, and it showed. This win is about confidence. We're going to take one game at a time and keep moving forward."
JUNIOR RB TRE MASON
On his emotions after the game…
"This is a great win for my team. I was a little emotional after the game. I was happy the whole time; those were tears of happiness. This was a statement game. The statement that we want to put across is that we are coming. We are getting better from here on out. You have to believe to achieve. We did that and came out with the win tonight."