Texas A&M must start faster

Aggies

The Texas A&M Aggies have a common problem in their two losses of the season: a failure to start fast.

Against No. 1 Clemson, while striking first blood 3-0 at Clemson, it took a whole quarter and 42 seconds into the ballgame to do it.

On Saturday at Kyle Field, it was the same problem with No. 8 Auburn. Texas A&M didn’t add a field goal until early in the second quarter. By that point, the Tigers had already generated 14 points, all in the first quarter.

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“We just need to have that juice and get it three‑and‑out and try our best to give the offense back the ball,” linebacker Buddy Johnson said. “Now is the time the team is going to have to come together and play as one and not just fall apart.”

Auburn jumped out to a 21-3 lead over the Aggies with 12:05 in the third quarter before the Maroon & White started to come alive. Texas A&M went on a 17-7 run with an Ainias Smith touchdown catch from Kellen Mond with 2:12 to go in the game.

Johnson produced six combined tackles and combined for half of a tackle for loss. Maybe it would have been sufficient if it had come earlier in the contest and not later.

“[Coach Jimbo Fisher] says your habits come straight to the surface or something like that,” Johnson said. “But I just know that he says we got to start fast.”

According to Johnson, Fisher also says that “pressure busts pipes.”

Said Johnson: “So we got to put pressure on the other team. If we do that, then it will get them out of their comfort zone, and we’ll be on top.”

The Aggies will get a chance to bust some pipes when they play the Arkansas Razorbacks next Saturday at AT&T Stadium for the Southwest Classic. It will be the second Southeastern Conference game for each side, and a chance to even their conference record, which current stands at 1-1 apiece.