Texas A&M football: Kellen Mond was the problem in loss to Auburn

(Photo by Jay Anderson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Jay Anderson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Kellen Mond had by far his worst game of the season against Auburn and it cost Texas A&M football a win despite holding a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter.

Things were going so well against Auburn. Trayveon Williams balled out for the first three quarters. He has killed the Tigers in all three of his appearances against them and the trend continuing helped Texas A&M football build a 24-14 lead by the fourth quarter.

It was the first conference game this season the Aggies had scored three touchdowns in regulation. Things were going so well…until they weren’t.

Kellen Mond had his worst game of the season. The Aggies moved the ball pretty well against Auburn’s defense, but once again mistakes allowed a team to hang around.

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It started with a first half fumble on an option play. I’m fully on the side of the argument that Jimbo Fisher should not have called this play. Texas A&M were gashing Auburn up the middle with their traditional rushing attack. There was no reason to get cute in that moment. Still, Mond shouldn’t have made the pitch as the defender was splitting he and Travyeon, so the pitch put Williams in a tough situation to make the catch while he was about to get hit.

Auburn scored a touchdown on the first play after the turnover.

Later in the game, A&M got the ball on the plus side of the field after the defense forced another Auburn three-and-out deep in their own territory. The score was 24-14 with 8:30 on the clock — get any kind of points with a first down or two and the game would have been over. Mond proceeded to throw an interception directly to an Auburn corner and the comeback was on.

Mond had trouble finding his receivers in the second half. His overall statistics don’t tell the entire story. Most of his yards and his one touchdown came in the screen game. Auburn’s defensive line was aggressive, so screens were working well. Mond finished 16-for-32 with 220 yards, one touchdown and two turnovers, and he was 8-for-19 with 130 yards and no touchdowns in the second half.

Those second half numbers look even worse when you consider five of those completions went to Williams or Gillaspia for 70 yards, and another to Jace Sternberger for 42 yards on a play designed specifically to get the defense moving one way to throw it back the other way.

Essentially Mond was 2-for-13 for 18 yards in the second half on plays he stood in the pocket and had to look downfield to make a throw. It felt like there wasn’t a single accurate throw made in the fourth quarter.

Aggie fans didn’t want to see another second half full of losses, but two in a row to Mississippi State and Auburn has us feeling like any progress Fisher made has completely reversed course.

Mond and the offense have struggled to score points in the red zone in conference play. Sometimes it has been Mond’s fault, and others not, but this loss to Auburn is mostly on the quarterback. It doesn’t matter the defense faltered down the stretch. The offense should have been able to put this game away way before any comeback could have happened.

The sophomore picked an awful time to have his worst game of the season. Auburn was practically handing the game to A&M for three quarters, only for the Aggies to not take full advantage and give the game right back in the fourth.

The Ags out-gained Auburn 421 to 278. They had 201 rushing yards to Auburn’s 19. They had fewer penalty yards and possessed the ball for 38:41 compared to 21:19. The great equalizer was turnovers. Auburn forced two and scored 14 points off them, while the Aggies forced none, again.

This is the second game in a row it felt like the Aggies had the game right in front of them but couldn’t make winning plays to put the other team away. Mississippi State scored their first three touchdowns on third and long. Auburn needed help to get points and A&M went scoreless for the final 25 minutes to allow a comeback.

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A&M returns home to face an Ole Miss team looking to finish an otherwise lost season strong. They have nothing to lose, plus a passing attack that can take full advantage of the Aggies’ most glaring weakness.

Jeff Shull is the Site Expert for the Gig Em Gazette on FanSided. Follow him on Twitter, and be sure to follow the Gig Em Gazette on Facebook and Twitter.