HOW TO WATCH
Time: Noon ET/11 a.m. CT
Watch Online: Watch ESPN
Spread: Auburn -3.5/-4
Records ATS: Texas A&M (6-2) | Auburn (3-5)
It’s been two whole weeks since the Auburn Tigers played a football game. Auburn won that football game, but many fans are still feeling pretty bleak about the rest of the season. The Tigers (5-3) welcome the Texas A&M Aggies (5-3) to The Plains with the hopes of finishing the season as strong as it started.
Three reasons why Texas A&M will win
- Trayveon Williams: Junior running back Trayveon Williams has put together another impressive season. He has 824 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on the year. He’s also a threat to catch passes out of the backfield, averaging 22.8 receiving yards per game. The strength of Auburn’s team is its defense, but Williams is arguably the best back Auburn has faced all year. It will be no small challenge to slow him down.
- Receiving trio: A&M’s three leading receivers (tight end Jace Sternberger and wideouts Quartney Davis and Camron Buckley) are 6-foot-4, 6-foot-2 and 6-foot-2 respectively. The three of them account for 56 percent of the Aggies’ passing offense. Auburn is giving up 222.5 passing yards per game, and if time of possession is as lopsided as it has the potential to be, I don’t know that Auburn’s secondary is deep enough to hang with them the whole game.
- Kellen Mond: The sophomore Mond looks like a new man in Jimbo Fisher’s offense. His completion percentage on the year (59.6%) is a bit underwhelming, but he’s thrown 11 touchdowns. Even more impressive is the fact that he’s the Aggies’ second leading rusher, averaging 32.1 yards per game. If Nick Fitzgerald can do what he did against this Auburn defense, it’s all the more unsettling to think of what Mond can do.
Three reasons why Auburn will win:
- Defensive line: Auburn’s defensive line has been very good -- and very deep -- pretty much since Kevin $teele came into the picture. They’ve given up just three rushing touchdowns this season. In addition to that, they’ve sacked opposing quarterbacks 24 times on the year. If this unit can get to Mond, I think it will make a significant impact in the flow of the game.
- Desperation: Let’s be real. No matter how ‘glass-half-full’ one may be, this Auburn season has been a disappointment. Technically it’s possible to win out and finish the year 9-3, but considering who lies ahead (and where), that’s very unlikely. This is a very good Texas A&M team, and it would probably cool the seat of Gus Malzahn to come away with a win.
- Bye week: Auburn had an extra week to get healthy and prepare for this game. That means there was an extra seven days of practicing, an extra seven days of putting together a game plan, an extra seven days of sorting out differences, etc. Texas A&M is coming off of a 15-point loss to Mississippi State, and they haven’t had an extra seven days to regroup. Auburn should have the edge in preparation.
At this point in the year I’m not concerned with why things have been the way they have; it is what it is. I believe Auburn is capable of playing a solid football game from start to finish and proving themselves to be the better team, but it hasn’t happened enough this year to make me think it’ll happen in this game. Take the Aggies and take the under.
Auburn 16, Texas A&M 30