No. 17 Texas A&M Aggies (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS) vs. Auburn Tigers (1-1 SU, 2-0 ATS)
College Football Week 3
Date/Time: Saturday September 17th , 2016. 7:00PM (EST)
Where: Jordan-Hare Stadium Auburn, A.L.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: A&M +3.5/AUB -3.5
Over/Under Total: 53.5
SEC action will be rampant this weekend with a number of intriguing matchups slated for this Saturday. One of the SEC West pairings will feature the no. 17 Texas A&M Aggies as they go into Jordan-Hare Stadium for a date with the Auburn Tigers. The Aggies have had a hot start to the season with their big win over no. 16 UCLA in the opener and then another promising 67-0 blowout over Prairie View last week. Meanwhile the Tigers nearly scored their own upset in their season opener but fell short in a 19-13 loss to Clemson. The Tigers bounced back with a 51-14 blowout over Arkansas State last week. The Tigers have been itching for an opportunity to knock off a ranked opponent and they will get that opportunity again this Saturday at home against Texas A&M.
Despite a dreadful offensive performance against Clemson, Auburn was able to find some answers or at least confidence last week against Arkansas State. The Tigers racked up 706 yards of offense with 462 yards coming on the ground. QB Sean White got into a rhythm to complete 17 of 23 passing for 244 yards with 3 touchdowns and the entire offense was just clicking. In fact, Auburn did not punt once in the entire ballgame marking the first time they went an entire game without punting since 2005. Last week’s offensive performance was a stark contrast to the team that could not find any way to move the ball against Clemson.
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The Auburn offense will be under the microscope again this Saturday because they are going to have to score points to beat this Aggies group. Previously we have seen this offense stall out at times with inconsistency at the quarterback position and the inability to make big plays. While last week’s success was a confidence boost, it will be much more difficult against an SEC caliber defense this Saturday. The Tigers have a lot of players that can run the football well in Malzahn’s offense so rest assured both Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson will get plenty of touches. Still, they are going to need some big plays in the passing game to keep the Aggies defense honest if they are going to find some long term success this weekend.
The Aggies offense has been very effective thus far this season despite some inconsistent quarterback play as well. Aggies quarterback Trevor Knight has completed just 54% passing for 583 yards with 4 scores and 2 picks through the first 2 games. However, he has been complemented by a strong rushing attack that has chewed up 480 yards in the first two games. It was the Texas A&M rushing attack along that really helped spark the victory over UCLA along with some big turnovers by the Aggies defense. With some questions looming around the quarterback position, it will be important that Texas A&M remain successful running the football.
We have seen the Aggies get off to strong starts at the beginning of the year in previous seasons under Kevin Sumlin. However, they have not been able to maintain their early season success for the bulk of the last few years. Typically that has been accredited to bad defense and the offense losing some spunk down the stretch. Therefore, this Saturday’s game is a perfect situation for the Aggies to fall back down to earth like they have each of the last two years after strong starts or an opportunity to right the ship to keep their momentum going. A win on the road at Jordan-Hare Stadium would be big for Texas A&M.
Jay's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I was initially a little surprised to see Auburn favored in this game but after breaking down the way these two teams matchup I can definitely see why. The Tigers have a very good defense and I think they have more big play potential than the Aggies. If Trevor Knight continues to struggle, Auburn could win this game easily. I like Auburn -3.5
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