#9 Tennessee Volunteers at #8 Texas A&M Aggies
Saturday, October 8, 2016, 3:30 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
Kyle Field – College Station, Texas
Opening Line: Texas A&M -5
Current Line: Texas A&M -7 (-105)
Opening Total: 56
Current Total: 57 1/2
Opening Money Line: Texas A&M -275 / Tennessee +225
Current Money Line: Texas A&M -270 / Tennessee +220
Both the Tennessee Volunteers and Texas A&M Aggies are 5-0 and ranked in the top ten as they face off Saturday in College Station. Tennessee is 2-0 in conference and leads the SEC East. The Volunteers already have wins over Florida and Georgia. Texas A&M is 3-0 in the SEC and on top of the West Division but Alabama is 2-0. Each of these teams play Alabama in their next game.
Tennessee leads the series 2-0, including 38-7 in the 2005 Cotton Bowl. This is the first time the two schools will meet as SEC rivals.
Tennessee is coached by Butch Jones. While Tennessee is #9 in the polls, the Volunteers have not looked very good in narrow home wins over Appalachian State 20-13 in overtime and Ohio 28-19. Tennessee trailed 21-0 in the first half against Florida but the Voluexasnteers scored 38 straight points and would win 38-28. The Volunteers also have a win over Virginia Tech 45-24 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Last week, Tennessee had another close call with a 34-31 win at Georgia. Georgia led 17-0 early and 24-14 going into the fourth. Tennessee took a 28-24 lead with 2:56 left in the game on a fumble recovery in the end zone. The Bulldogs took a 31-28 lead with 10 seconds left on a 47 yard touchdown pass. Georgia kicked off short and Tennessee returned it all the way into Georgia territory. Tennessee had time for one more play and answered with a Hail Mary of their own for a 43 yard touchdown pass. The Volunteers were 3.5 point favorites against Georgia and the total was 51.5. Tennessee is 2-3 ATS and the total is 3-2 this season.
Texas A&M is coached by Kevin Sumlin. The Aggies have home wins over UCLA 31-24, Prairie View 67-0 and a neutral site win against Arkansas 45-24 in Arlington, Texas. Texas A&M has road wins over Auburn 29-16 and South Carolina 24-13 last week. Texas A&M lead 14-10 going into the fourth quarter against South Carolina. The Aggies would hold on for the win, but the Gamecocks did pull to within 8 points with just over 4 minutes left. Texas A&M was a 19.5 point favorite on the road and the total was 50.5. The Aggies are 4-1 ATS and the total is 1-3-1 this season.
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Tennessee is outscoring teams 33-23 this season. The Volunteers average 382 total yards per game on offense including 207 passing and 175 rushing yards. Tennessee allows 361 yards per game on defense including 212 passing and 149 rushing yards. The Volunteers are +1 in turnovers with 10 takeaways. Tennessee averages 55 penalty yards per game and opponents average 57 per game. The Volunteers are 34/78 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 30/88. Tennessee has forced 8 sacks and allowed 10 this season. The Volunteers are 17/20 scoring in the red zone with 14 touchdowns and opponents are 15/16 with 10 touchdowns.
Quarterback Joshua Dobbs has thrown for 1,035 yards with 13 touchdowns and 6 interceptions, and has 65 carries for 267 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Running back Jalen Hurd has 101 carries for 407 yards and 2 touchdowns, and also has 7 catches for 82 yards with 2 touchdowns. He is out Saturday with a lower body injury. Alvin Kamara has 38 carries for 165 yards, and 12 catches for 92 yards and 2 touchdowns. No other running back has more than 4 carries this year.
Receiver Josh Malone has 15 catches for 310 yards and 5 touchdowns. Jauan Jennings has 12 catches for 213 yards and 3 touchdowns. Preston Williams has 9 catches for 89 yards. Jason Croom and Ethan Wolf will also get some catches. Four defensive players are out with injuries.
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Texas A&M is outscoring teams 39-15 this season. The Aggies are #33 or better in both categories. TAMU averages 521 yards per game including 262 passing and 259 rushing yards. The Aggies are in the top 14 in total and rushing offense. On defense, the Aggies allow 388 yards per game including 253 passing and 135 rushing yards. Texas A&M is +2 in turnovers with 10 takeaways. The Aggies average 53 penalty yards per game and opponents average 44 per game. Texas A&M is 36/84 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 31/93. The Aggies have forced 16 sacks and allowed 5 this season. The Aggies are 19/23 scoring in the red zone with 11 touchdowns and opponents are 11/20 with 6 touchdowns.
Oklahoma transfer Trevor Knight has been lighting it up at quarterback this season for the Aggies. He has thrown for 1,261 yards with 7 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, along with 50 carries for 392 yards and 6 touchdowns. Jake Hubenak has also taken a few snaps.
Running back Trayveon Williams has 54 carries for 487 yards and 4 touchdowns, along with 12 catches for 71 yards. Keith Ford has 43 carries for 213 yards and 3 touchdowns, plus a catch for 40 yards. He is questionable for undisclosed reasons.
Receiver Josh Reynolds has 20 catches for 399 yards and 3 touchdowns. Christian Kirk has 33 catches for 272 yards and 3 touchdowns. Ricky Seals-Jones has 10 catches for 175 yards. He is questionable with a leg injury. Jeremy Tabuyo and Speedy Noil will also get some catches. Noil is questionable for undisclosed reasons.
Tennessee is 6-1 ATS against teams with winning records, 4-1 after failing to cover, against teams with winning home records, and in road games, 6-2 in SEC games, and 5-2 after a straight up win.
Texas A&M is 4-1 ATS after rushing for 200 yards or more, and overall, 8-18 in SEC games, 3-7 against teams with winning road records, and on grass, 2-5 against teams with winning records, 8-20-1 in October, and 1-5 after failing to cover.
Tennessee has come back from double digit deficits in the last two weeks against Florida and Georgia. They can’t afford to do that against a high scoring offense like Texas A&M. Both these teams force a lot of turnovers but give up the ball easily too. I like Texas A&M to win this game by double digits in a high scoring game.