From the chokeslam to the chasedown, Auburn-A&M in '13 was one-of-a-kind
The 2013 Tigers' win in College Station was football at absolute extremes, from the number of highlights to the snap count itself.
To truly appreciate what Auburn did at Texas A&M in Week 8 of the 2013 season, you have to start with what the Aggies did against the Tigers in 2012.
Or, more accurately, what the Aggies did to the Tigers.
Auburn’s first-ever SEC game against Texas A&M was a rock-bottom moment for a program that had won a national title less than two years earlier.
The Tigers lost 63-21, the brutal end to a five-game losing streak that would only be mercifully snapped against New Mexico State a week later. Texas A&M was up 42-7 at halftime. Johnny Manziel only played one drive in the second half, breezing his way to a five-touchdown performance in which he averaged more than 10 yards per play on his own. His Heisman highlight reel had a lot of orange-and-blue in it.
Things would get worse for Auburn. It didn’t score a single point against either Georgia or Alabama, fired Gene Chizik and hit the reset button.
Gus Malzahn returned to the Plains in 2013, looking to reignite a program that had reached the pinnacle of the sport just a short time earlier. And, by the second half of the season, the Tigers had found their footing. They had an offensive identity and a knack for coming up with well-timed stops on defense. They were 5-1 and ranked.
They just needed a signature win. And it just so happened their next game was a return visit to face the team and the quarterback who had thoroughly embarrassed them a year earlier.
What happened over the course of 60 minutes inside Kyle Field in College Station, Texas — a 45-41 win for Auburn — was football pushed to some of its absolute extremes.
A college football team averages around 12 drives per game these days. Both Auburn and Texas A&M got a few extra possessions, combining for 29 of them.
Malzahn had his patented Hurry-Up, No-Huddle scheme going as fast as it could. But Auburn only averaged 72.4 plays per game in 2013. Kevin Sumlin, another proponent of hyperspeed football, had his 2013 Texas A&M team average 73.4 plays per game.
In this one, Auburn ran 85 plays, and Texas A&M ran 82. After digging through the record books, there’s only one game in Auburn football history that ever reached that combined number of 167 snaps: The trip to Arkansas in 2015.
That game went to four overtimes. All of this happened in regulation.
(And yes, not even the 2013 SEC Championship Game reached this level of breakneck pace. Auburn ran 85 plays again in that game, but Missouri only hit 71.)
And that extreme pace called for extreme playmaking. While the offenses were operating at absurd levels, combining for 1,217 total yards, there were crucial defensive stops.
Auburn’s wins over Alabama and Georgia in 2013 are forever remembered for their iconic, game-winning plays. The Texas A&M game, arguably, has a higher volume of memorable moments than any other that season.
You probably remember Dee Ford chasing down Manziel to win the game. You also remember Sammie Coates delivering a stiff arm so vicious that it resembled a pro wrestling chokeslam.
But do you remember all the other insane moments from Auburn-Texas A&M in 2013?
Here’s a front-to-back look at what was an unbelievable highlight reel of a game that put the Tigers on the map and truly got their title chase rolling.
“This is a statement game, and the statement we wanted to put across was that we're coming,” Tre Mason said after the win. “It's just getting better from here on out.”
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