If there’s another team on Texas A&M football’s schedule that is just as hopeful for a huge bounce-back in 2023 as the Aggies are, it’s the Auburn Tigers. Miami may have something to say as well, but the Tigers went into a complete tailspin in 2022 following an up-and-down 2021 that saw them in contention for a division title even into November. The nosedive continued in 2022, beginning with a drubbing at the hands of Penn State in the non-conference.
Auburn and Texas A&M met each other in the middle of November, with the Tigers having recently fired Bryan Harsin and elevated fan favorite and former Auburn running back Cadillac Williams. Texas A&M football faithful will recall this as the “sleevegate” game, in which budding star WR Moose Muhammad warmed the bench all night after a run-in with the coaches regarding whether he could wear sleeves in the cold and rainy weather. Additionally, the Ags were without Devon Achane in this one and lost Evan Stewart midway through to an uncalled targeting hit. All this added up to a monumentally frustrating 13-10 loss for Texas A&M football. This was the final game the Aggies would lose in 2022, however, going on to beat both lowly UMass and 5th-ranked LSU.
Ever since Texas A&M football joined the SEC in 2012, the Auburn series has been a strange one. Aggie fans recall all too well the missed call on what appeared to be a horse-collar tackle on Johnny Manziel that ended up sealing the Aggies’ fate in the 2013 loss to the Tigers. The Aggies repaid the Plainsmen in kind the next year, however, when they rolled into Jordan-Hare Stadium unranked and less than a month away from suffering a humiliating 59-0 loss to Alabama only to triumph over the 3rd-ranked Tigers. Another strange note is that it wasn’t until 2018 that the home team won a matchup, when the Tigers came from behind for a 28-24 victory over the Kellen Mond-led Aggies. The 2021 edition of this matchup was the first game that Texas A&M football emerged victorious over the Tigers at Kyle Field—a 20-3 final in which the only touchdown was a Micheal Clemons scoop-and-score.
Even before the Aggies joined the SEC, however, these two teams had a history. One of the crowning achievements of the famed “Wrecking Crew” defense of the late 80s and early 90s A&M teams was getting a couple of game-winning stops against Bo Jackson and the Tigers in the Cotton Bowl. This 1986 matchup was one half of the 2-0 record that the Aggies carried into the SEC against the Tigers—though, since that point, Auburn leads 6 games to 5.
So all that said—what will the 2023 edition of this game look like? Let’s dive in.