The No. 14 Auburn Tigers are headed to College Station, Texas to take on the Texas A&M Aggies this Saturday. Well rested and healthy, the Tigers are coming off a much-needed bye week and are looking to come out fresh before their most difficult stretch of games thus far.
Texas A&M was handled by Mississippi State last week and is looking to bounce back with a big home win over Auburn.
Players to watch
Kerryon Johnson (Auburn)
Johnson is once again the lone star back that Auburn has to offer after Kamryn Pettway’s shoulder blade injury. The Maxwell watchlist finalist should be licking his chops going against the reeling Aggie run defense.
Texas A&M allowed 232 rushing yards a game in the month of October and is giving up 230 yards a game against ranked opponents all season.
If Kevin Sumlin’s defense continues this downward spiral, then keep an eye out for Johnson to continue his successful 2017 campaign.
Christian Kirk (Texas A&M)
Kirk is not only a threat out wide, but his deadliest attribute is his explosiveness in the returning game. In his career, Kirk has a combined total of six kick/punt return touchdowns.
This matchup has a recipe for disaster since Auburn has allowed a kick or punt return for touchdown in two straight games coming into this game. If Daniel Carlson or Aidan Marshall make the mistake of kicking it to Kirk, then he has the overwhelming talent to make them pay.
Kellen Mond (Texas A&M)
The true freshman has impressed majority of the season with his ability to run the ball and flashes of success in the passing game.
Mond’s last two games have been far from his early season success with two abysmal showings against Florida and Mississippi State. The IMG Academy graduate completed 16-of-40 passes and threw for 236 yards combined in the terrible two-game stretch.
Sumlin could be desperate for a win against Auburn after a bad loss to Mississippi State. If Mond gets off to another rough start, he might be pulled for original starter Nick Starkel.
Keys to victory
For the Auburn Tigers to avoid an upset and keep their conference championship hopes alive, the Tigers need to do what they do best: run the football.
The Aggies have struggled down the stretch against the run and the Tigers are averaging 237.8 yards a game and are 19th in the country in rushing.
With the Pettway injury, the Tigers need to utilize weapons like Eli Stove and Kam Martin to spread the field out and make it easier for Johnson in between the tackles.
The Aggies need a few things to go right in order to win Saturday’s contest. Mond needs to bounce back and have one of his best games of the season passing and running. The freshman is deadliest when he is running around making plays and Auburn has struggled in the past against mobile quarterbacks.
The Texas A&M running game will also need to resurrect itself against the Tigers. The Aggies have not had a 100-yard rusher in five straight games and need someone to step up Saturday.
Auburn 44, Texas A&M 24