Mond, No. 5 Texas A&M finish strong in 31-20 win over Auburn

JOHN ZENOR (AP Sports Writer)
·3 min read
Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond (11) warms up before the start of an NCAA college football game against Auburn on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) -- Kellen Mond passed for two touchdowns and ran for a third and No. 5 Texas A&M scored 17 points in the fourth quarter of a come-from-behind 31-20 victory over Auburn on Saturday.

The Aggies (7-1) dominated the final quarter to win their sixth straight and remain in College Football Playoff contention. The Tigers (5-4), who have gone 0-3 against teams ranked in the top five at the time, led 20-14 entering the fourth.

Mond rebounded from his worst game of the season against LSU with a strong performance. He completed 18 of 23 for 196 yards, highlighted by two TDs to Jalen Wydermyer, and ran for 60 yards.

Seth Small iced the game with a 32-yard field goal with just over a minute remaining after an earlier miss had helped Auburn remain within a score.

Isaiah Spiller had his fifth 100-yard game of the current winning streak, gaining 120 on 20 carries. Devon Achane also ran for 99 yards on just nine carries. Wydermyer caught eight passes for 89 yards.

The Aggies took a 21-20 lead early in the fourth quarter when Auburn linebacker Zakoby McClain tipped the ball into the arms of tight end Wydermyer for a touchdown - instead of what could have been a game-changing interception.

Then Ainias Smith followed his 37-yard catch with a 4-yard run into the end zone. Auburn couldn't muster any late offense or defensive stops after winning the past three meetings.

Bo Nix had a highlight reel play on one of his two touchdown runs for Auburn, but also overthrew a wide-open Eli Stove in the end zone.

After a 28-yard completion and a 20-yard scramble, Nix escaped the grasp of 325-pound defensive tackle Bobby Brown and appeared about to go down. Then he scrambled left and barreled into the end zone.

Nix passed for 144 yards and ran for 49.

Both quarterbacks ran for touchdowns late in the second quarter, but Mond struck last on a quarterback sneak with 24 seconds left for a 14-10 halftime lead.

THE TAKEAWAY

Texas A&M: Got the offense untracked early after a rough outing against LSU even if it didn't result in many first-half points. Mond was 11 of 34 for 105 yards in the last game, but completed his first eight passes this time. Had a whopping 29 first downs.

Auburn: Couldn't stop the Aggies from racking up 271 yards in the first half but did make one big stand that resulted in a missed field goal. Defense gave up seven third-down conversions in 11 chances.

MOND'S MILESTONES

Mond joined Tim Tebow and Dak Prescott as the only quarterbacks in SEC history to record over 9,000 passing yards and 1,500 rushing yards in their careers. He went over the rushing mark with a key third-and-9 run late in the game.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Aggies are still in the thick of the playoff race. The Tigers fell short of the kind of win that would have let them climb back into the Top 25.

UP NEXT

Texas A&M is scheduled to visit Tennessee on Dec. 12.

Auburn is scheduled to play Mississippi State in Starkville on Dec. 12.

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