Late fumbles haunt No. 3 Auburn in loss to Texas A&M

Auburn, AL ( - Kyle Allen threw four first-half touchdowns and Auburn lost a pair of fumbles in the final minutes, as Texas A&M produced a 41-38 victory over the No. 3 Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday.

Allen ended up with 277 yards passing on 19-of-29 attempts for the Aggies (7-3, 3-3 SEC), as Josh Reynolds posted two TD receptions and Malcome Kennedy and Ricky Seals-Jones one apiece.

Kennedy led all receivers with 118 yards on just four grabs, while Reynolds totaled six catches for 88 yards.

"I couldn't be prouder of these guys and the coaching staff to go into a situation where the odds are against us and to practice the way they practiced this week and to stay focused, particularly in this environment," Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin said. "That is a complete team and coaching staff effort."

Nick Marshall completed 15-of-21 passes for 219 yards, two scores, an interception and a costly fumble for the Tigers (7-2, 4-2), who nearly completed a comeback from a 35-17 halftime deficit. He also ran for 67 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Cameron Artis-Payne rumbled to 221 yards and two TDs on 30 carries, but coughed up the ball twice, the final time on a potential go-ahead scoring chance with 2 1/2 minutes left in regulation.

Josh Lambo connected from 27 yards away with 8:09 remaining and Texas A&M was ahead 41-31.

The Tigers proceeded quickly to reduce their deficit to three on the next series, with a 6-yard rushing score from Marshall coming one play after Sammie Coates' leaping 52-yard reception.

Allen threw two incompletions on the Aggies' next touch and after a punt pinned them at their own 20, the Tigers once again moved quickly in search of a score. They needed seven plays to reach striking distance, but Artis-Payne fumbled a handoff with 2:32 to play, which was picked up by Julien Obioha at his own 2-yard line.

Trey Williams was tackled in the shadow of his own goal line on third down and was spared a safety, but after a short punt, Auburn had control on the TAMU 42 with 1:28 to go.

Ricardo Louis gained eight on first down, Marshall hit Coates for six on the next play, but Marshall fumbled the snap and Alonzo Williams pounced on the football at his own 29.

"We were trying to check a play right there which we have done many times. There was just a little bit of miscommunication there," Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn said.

Allen took a knee on two straight plays to run out the remaining time.

Allen aired it out on the opening drive of the contest and found Kennedy for a 60-yard touchdown.

On the next play from scrimmage, Artis-Payne fumbled and the visitors gained control on their own 42 after a recovery by Floyd Raven. Allen found Reynolds for a 36-yard strike three snaps later for a 14-0 game.

Artis-Payne atoned for his miscue twice before the end of the quarter, with a 2-yard TD run on Auburn's next touch followed by a 34-yard burst to the end zone.

Allen gave Texas A&M some breathing room on back-to-back possessions early in the second, tossing TD passes of 23 yards to Seals-Jones and seven yards to Reynolds for a 28-14 game.

Daniel Carlson's 30-yard make pulled the hosts within 11 points, but Carlson's 41-yard attempt on the final play of the half was returned 65 yards by Deshazor Everett to send the visitors up 35-17 at the break.

Marshall called his own number from one yard out and Auburn climbed back to 35-24 just after the midway point of the third quarter, but Lambo's 22-yard make pushed the Aggies' edge back to 14 heading to the fourth.

Marshall and Quan Bray combined for a 31-yard score on the first play of the final period and Auburn trailed 38-31.

Game Notes

Texas A&M has won four of the five all-time meetings and avenged a 45-41 loss to Auburn on Oct. 19, 2013 at College Station ... The Tigers totaled 31 first downs and 582 yards of total offense, including 363 on the ground, in their first home defeat in nearly two years (38-0, Georgia, Nov. 10, 2012).