Auburn Football: Scouting the Texas A&M Defense and Special Teams

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Nov 1, 2014; College Station, TX, USA; Louisiana Monroe Warhawks wide receiver Rashon Ceaser (2) is taken down by Texas A&M Aggies defenders during the fourth quarter at Kyle Field. Texas A&M Aggies won 21-16. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

A 21-16 win over UL Monroe isn’t going to impress anyone on a national scale, but it marked the end of a month-long drought for the Texas A&M Aggies after three straight losses and a bye week. Plus, there were some positives to be found in the performance.

“Where we were and where we are, after losing three straight games and having a bye week, you’re talking a month of this building not experiencing a win, head coach Kevin Sumlin said this week.

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“No matter how you experienced that, that was important for this team. That bye week was about us and toughness and things I saw differences in that weren’t reflected in points. There were some areas I saw where guys ran to the ball defensively, more gang tackles and more non-missed tackles than we’ve had in a long time. We had less busted coverage.”

It’s improvement, but the Aggies still have one of the league’s worst defenses statistically. They rank 12th in the SEC in scoring defense (25.9 points per game), rush defense (177.8 yards per game), pass defense (236.4 yards per game) and total defense (414.2 yards per game), and that takes some very good performances against weak non-conference opponents into account.

But, like the better coverage and gang tackling A&M showed last week, there are some encouraging signs. First, the defense gets better late in the game and Texas A&M has allowed only 30 points in the fourth quarter this season.

Also, the Aggies have shown an increased ability to get to the quarterback. In 13 games last season, Texas A&M recorded only 21 sacks. Through nine games this year, the Aggies already have 30.

Silver linings are great and all, but the Texas A&M defense will need to play its best possible game to keep up with the Auburn football team Saturday.

Next: Texas A&M Defensive Line