Week Eight College Football Picks: LSU Tigers at Texas A&M Aggies
#6 LSU Tigers at #18 Texas A&M Aggies
Saturday, October 20, 2012, 12:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Kyle Field – College Station, Texas
Opening Line: LSU -2
Current Line: LSU -3
Opening Total: 56
Current Total: 52
Opening Money Line: LSU -150 / TAMU +130
Current Money Line: LSU -165 / TAMU +145
The #18 Texas A&M Aggies host the #6 LSU Tigers in a key SEC West match-up Saturday. This is the 51st meeting between the schools, but the first as members of the same conference. The teams first played in 1899. LSU leads the series 27-20-3, but Texas A&M is 7-1-1 in College Station. LSU won the last meeting 41-24 in the 2011 Cotton Bowl, to snap a 5 game losing streak to the Aggies. The teams hadn’t played since 1995 before that contest.
LSU is 6-1 this season and 2-1 in the SEC under coach Les Miles. The Tigers are coming off a 23-21 home win over then #3 South Carolina last week. The win propelled LSU to #6 in the first BCS standings released last week. The only loss for LSU came at Florida 14-6 two weeks ago. The Tigers have home wins over North Texas 41-14, Washington 41-3, Idaho 63-14, and Towson 38-22, along with a road win at Auburn 12-10. LSU is 2-5 ATS and the total is 3-3 this season. The Tigers were 3 point favorites in the South Carolina game and the total was 37.5.
LSU is averaging 395.7 yards per game on offense, including 188.9 passing yards and 206.9 rushing yards. The Tigers are 103rd in passing nationally and #31 in rushing out of 124 teams. LSU is outscoring teams 32-14 this season. The Tigers have not allowed more than 22 points in any game. LSU is +4 in turnovers this season. They average 59.6 penalty yards per game, and have allowed 16 sacks this season. The Tigers are 42/99 on third and fourth down conversions, and 25/32 scoring in the red zone with 15 touchdowns. LSU has one of the best defenses in the country. The Tigers are allowing 219.6 yards per game, including 130.3 passing yards and 89.3 rushing yards. LSU is #2 in total and passing defense, #6 against the run, and #8 in scoring defense. The Tigers have forced 16 turnovers and 20 sacks. Tiger opponents are 34/109 on third and fourth down conversions, and 13/13 scoring in the red zone with 11 touchdowns. The Tigers have 3 defensive/special teams touchdowns this season.
LSU is battling a lot of injuries with 13 players listed as questionable or out due to injury, ineligibility, or suspension, including 8 offensive and 5 defensive. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger has taken every snap for the Tigers though. He is 101/169 passing (59.8%) for 1,322 yards with 6 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. He has been sacked 16 times. Running back Kenny Hilliard has 68 carries, 415 yards and 6 touchdowns. Michael Ford has 49 carries, 279 yards and 2 touchdowns. Alfred Blue is out indefinitely with a knee injury. He had rushed for 270 yards with 2 touchdowns. Spencer Ware has 54 carries with 240 yards. Jeremy Hill has 30 carries, 195 yards and 4 touchdowns. Fullback J.C. Copeland has 3 rushing touchdowns, but is questionable with an ankle injury. Receiver Odell Beckham has 22 catches, 385 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Jarvis Landry has 22 catches, 219 yards, and a touchdown. Kadron Boone has 11 catches, 183 yards, and 3 touchdowns.
Texas A&M is 5-1 this season and 2-1 in the SEC under first year coach Kevin Sumlin. The Aggies loss came at home to Florida 20-17. Since then A&M has won 5 straight games. The Aggies have road wins at SMU 48-3, at Ole Miss 30-27, and last week in Shreveport against Louisiana Tech 59-57. Texas A&M has home wins over South Carolina St 70-14 and Arkansas 58-10. The Aggies are 3-3 ATS and the total is 2-3 this season. Texas A&M was a 9.5 point favorite against Louisiana Tech and the total was 76.5.
Texas A&M is averaging 543.7 yards per game on offense, including 307.8 passing yards and 235.8 rushing yards. The Aggies are outscoring teams 47-21.8 this season. A&M is in the top 20 nationally in all offensive categories. The Aggies are -2 in turnovers. TAMU is averaging 72.7 penalty yards per game, and has allowed 12 sacks. The Aggies are 54/102 on third and fourth down conversions, and 25/28 scoring in the red zone with 19 touchdowns. Texas A&M is allowing 405.5 yards on defense with 280.8 passing yards and 124.7 rushing yards. The Aggies have forced 19 sacks this season. Aggie opponents are 39/121 on third and fourth down conversions and 16/21 scoring in the red zone with 12 touchdowns. The Aggies have 4 defensive/special teams touchdowns.
A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel has certainly made an impact in his freshman year. He is the leading passer and rusher for the Aggies. He has completed 128 of 190 passes (67.4%) for 1,680 yards with 14 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, along with 91 carries, 676 yards and 10 touchdowns. He could be a Heisman contender. Running back Ben Malena has 60 carries, 380 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 9 catches, 41 yards and a touchdown. Christine Michael has 41 carries, 169 yards, and 4 touchdowns, along with 6 catches for 35 yards. Trey Williams has 26 carries, 107 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 6 catches fro 124 yards. Receiver Mike Evans has 36 catches, 549 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Ryan Swope has 20 catches, 299 yards and 3 touchdowns. He is questionable with a head injury. Thomas Johnson has 20 catches, 265 yards, and a touchdown. Uzoma Nwachukwu has 11 catches, 159 yards and 4 touchdowns.
LSU is 4-1 ATS in road games against teams with winning home records, 8-2 after rushing for 200 yards or more, 11-3 after allowing less than 275 total yards, 6-2 in road games, 1-4 against teams with winning records, 0-4 in SEC games, overall, on grass, and after passing for less than 170 yards.
Texas A&M is 5-1 ATS after gaining more than 450 yards, 4-1 after allowing more than 450 yards, 5-11 after failing to cover, 2-5 after allowing 280 passing yards or more, 1-9-1 in conference games, 1-10 against teams with winning records, and 0-4 in October.
This is certainly a contrast between a great offensive team in Texas A&M and a fantastic defense in LSU. I like LSU’s chances of slowing down the high-octane offense of the Aggies, better than I do of the two teams getting into a shootout. I could see a similar score of the last time A&M faced an elite defense, when they hosted Florida. The Gators won a close low-scoring game 20-17, and I think LSU wins by a similar margin.
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