Auburn’s defenders did little to impede Texas A&M’s sophomore receiver, who finished with a school-record 287 receiving yards and on 11 receptions. The receiving total broke a mark he set against Alabama earlier this season when he had 279 yards against the Crimson Tide, and was the third-best outing in SEC history, trailing only Arkansas’ Cobi Hamilton (303 yards against Rutgers in 2002) and LSU’s Josh Reed (293 against Alabama in 2001).
It was all for naught, however, as Auburn walked out of Kyle Field with a 45-41 victory. Evans declined to meet with the press after the game, but what he wouldn’t say, Gus Malzahn would.
Evans was so good Saturday, Auburn’s head coach said his last timeout — with the Tigers leading 45-41 and only 43 seconds to play — was spent specifically to design a defense to stymie the 6-foot-5 Texas native.
“We just wanted to catch our breath,” he said. “We kind of figured out what they were doing and we wanted to make sure the big guy didn’t beat us. He’s a phenomenal player and we just wanted to catch our breath and (get) our bearings and get a plan for the next couple of plays.”
Auburn cornerback Jonathon Mincy was glued to Evans on the receiver’s 33-yard touchdown catch — enough that Mincy earned a flag for pass interference on the play — but it didn’t matter. Evans caught the ball, anyway.
Most of his yardage came in one-on-one coverage, but Mincy said they never changing things up.
“We didn’t have any bracket (coverage),” he said. “It was completely man-on-man, one-on-one coverage. So just trying to interrupt him in his routes and staying with him and trying to make a play on the ball.”
Avery Young started in Patrick Miller’s place at right tackle for the second straight week, while Kris Frost moved into the starting lineup at middle linebacker, replacing Jake Holland.
Tight end Brandon Fulse and corner Jonathan Jones both made the trip and practiced with the team during warmups.
The status of both was uncertain Wednesday, as Fulse missed last week’s game with off-field issue and Jones was battling an injury.
Holsey out indefinitely
Auburn was without starting strong safety Josh Holsey during Saturday’s victory.
The sophomore’s absence was reportedly because of a knee injury suffered during Thursday’s practice. The news was first reported by AuburnUndercover.com on Saturday. A team source later confirmed this, and Holsey did not step off the bus during the team’s Tiger Walk.
With Holsey out, Ryan Smith started at boundary safety before the game.
Holsey, who has also seen time at corner during his career, has also played at linebacker in the Tigers’ dime defensive packages was expected to be a big part in trying to contain Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.
The injury makes Holsey the third safety the Tigers have lost since the spring.
Since then, both Erique Florence and Demetruce McNeal are no longer with the team.