Texas A&M has been surprisingly dominant in their first season in the SEC.
The Aggies are 5-2, with two conference wins under their belt. This Saturday, they get another shot at a SEC win when they travel to Auburn to face their third Western Division game of the season.
This is set up to be a dominating A&M performance from start to finish.
Kevin Sumlin has worked wonders in his first season as the Aggies head coach, and all with a freshman quarterback leading the offense. Sumlin brought offensive and defensive change to College Station upon arrival, making the success even more impressive.
Explosive freshman Johnny Manziel has garnered the nickname “Johnny Football” for his talents and grasp of the college game, while the defense has been nasty to opposing quarterbacks.
This Aggies squad will be a handful for Auburn on Saturday.
The Tigers will have one advantage: the game is in Auburn. Spread offensive schemes have been difficult to for the Tigers' defense this year, and having an option threat from a quarterback will add to their issues.
Mix in the Auburn offensive woes, and it is hard to imagine the Tigers mounting a challenge, much less notching a win. These are the three keys to a dominating Aggies performance.
Spread Offense Tough for Tigers to Defend
Auburn has only dominated one game defensively so far this fall. That showing came against LSU—a conventional offense.
Every other game this season, the Tigers have faced multiple or spread-type offenses. Auburn doesn’t have the personnel to cover good spread-offense teams. The Tigers jump to the nickel often, but rarely has it rendered success in the past few seasons.
The Aggies are very prolific, mounting the No. 9 total offense in the country. Texas A&M is also the No. 9 scoring offense, No. 17 passing and No. 19 rushing offense in the country. They will increase those numbers on Saturday.
Auburn will have to bring an uncharacteristic showing on defense to get this win or stave off a devastating loss. Texas A&M put up 58 on Arkansas; that may be replicated against Auburn.
Johnny Manziel Brings Extra Offensive Dimension
Anytime there is a dual-threat quarterback on the field, defenses worry.
When that player has earned the nickname “Johnny Football” for his performances, defenses really begin to take notice.
Johnny Manziel has been the impact freshman in the country this season. The young quarterback is a part of the Heisman discussion, and for good reason.
Manziel has completed 157-of-246 passes for 1,956 yards and 14 touchdowns this season. He has also added 703 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground for the Aggies. The numbers speak for themselves.
Auburn will have trouble from the opening seconds of this game trying to handle the Texas A&M signal caller. If he is having a mediocre day, it will still translate into a long one for the Tigers.
Aggies Pass Rush has been Dominant
The Texas A&M defense has been dangerous rushing the passer this season. The Aggies are No. 12 in the country in sacks per game. Auburn is No. 113 in sacks allowed.
The Tigers have tried to push the pass often in games, and it has spelled disaster for the Tigers quarterbacks. Clint Moseley is expected to get the start this week, and he is anything but fleet-of-foot.
Auburn will have to get the ground game moving early to protect the quarterback. A&M is only the No. 45 rushing defense, so it is possible, but expect the Tigers quarterbacks to face consistent pressure from the Aggies on the edge, leading to a crippled offensive showing for Auburn at home.
This game will be a tough loss for the Tigers, but a big win for the up-and-coming Texas A&M Aggies.
*Note: All Stats confirmed with NCAA.org