Auburn at Texas A&M
Time: 2:30 PM CST Saturday
Spread: TEX -4
Odds c/o 5dimes
The No. 8 Auburn Tigers are 3-0 after knocking off then-No. 11 Oregon in Week 1, Tulane in Week 2, and Kent State last week, by a 55-16 count. The Tigers have yet to face anything of a real test, with Oregon representing the closest thing in its season opener.
Now, in week 4, it faces Texas A&M as underdogs. The Aggies are ranked No. 17 in AP polls and host the game as 4-point favorites, while the betting total is set at 47.5 total points. The game kicks off at 2:30 PM CST Saturday on CBS and CBS affiliates.
Given that Tulane and Kent State were relative cakewalks for the Tigers, it makes sense to look more closely at the victory over Oregon in Week 1. For starters, Bo Nix played horribly at quarterback in the victory, completing just 13 of 31 while throwing two picks to match his two touchdowns.
Nix was bailed out somewhat by JaTarvious Whitlow, who led all rushers with 110 yards on 24 carries. He did not, however, rush for a TD. The only rushing TD came on a 1-yard rush by Joey Gatewood. Jeremiah Dinson was the star of the defense with 13 tackles (8 solos), one sack, and two tackles for loss. The Tigers were able to sack Oregon three times and had six TFLs.
Comparatively, Oregon had just one sack and seven TFLs, while also giving up 206 rushing yards and 4.6 per-attempt.
The Tigers have remained steadfast to its freshman quarterback despite those first-game struggles. It has not really been fully rewarded, and his 52.4 percent completion ratio needs improving as does his mere 6.5 yards-per-pass and his 2:1 TD/INT ratio. None of it is abysmal, but it all must vastly improve if Auburn is to hold its own in the SEC this season.
Texas A&M is 2-1 this season after defeating Texas State and Lamar, but sandwiched between those victories was a 10-24 loss to the No. 1 Clemson Tigers in Week 2. Texas A&M lost its No. 12 ranking that week as it gave up 268 passing yards and 121 rushing yards while managing just 236 and 53, itself. Kellen Mond threw 24 of 42 for 236 yards, but he threw one interception and averaged just 5.6 yards-per-attempt on the 24 completions.
The backfield, too, was entirely ineffective against the Clemson ‘D,” rushing for just two yards-per-carry and only having one play of 10-yards or longer in the 27 attempts. Lead back Jashaun Corbin rushed 13 times for 34 yards, but his 2.6 yards-per-carry really spoke to how aggressive the Clemson defensive ends were at stopping bigger plays. Texas A&M fell from No. 12 to its current spot at No. 17, but this is still a team capable of doing some major damage, as shown by it being favored this week against a tough Auburn team.
Mond’s season stats are slightly better if not somewhat inflated, by the two games that were not against AP Ranked teams. On the season, he has thrown for 747 yards at a 64.9 percent clip with five TDs and three INTs. The interceptions and his mere 7.7 yards per are probably the two biggest concerns, considering he has done a good job of avoiding sacks. His No. 1 receiver Jhamon Ausbon has 253 yards and two TDs, while the No. 2 and No. 3 receivers, Kendrick Rogers and Quartney Davis, are both good for 155 and 144 yards, respectively.
Texas A&M is ordinarily a much better rushing team that it was able to demonstrate against Clemson too: It averages 5.4 yards-per-carry with lead back Isaiah Spiller having rushed for 246 yards on an 8.8 yard-per-carry average. The Aggies also have seven rushing TDs, while having thrown for seven as well. That balance should serve it well against a tough defense like Auburn.
The ‘under’ on the point total is attractive simply due to the strength of Auburn’s defense and the probability that it is able to limit at least one of the Aggies’ main ball-driving methods. Stopping both Ausbon and Spiller being relatively strong options for big plays, will be a much heavier task.