Auburn vs. Texas A&M Preview

The Texas A&M Aggies come off their bye week looking to extend their winning streak against the Auburn Tigers on Saturday. Auburn is definitely a top-three team in the SEC West, so Texas A&M will need its A-game to come out with a victory. This matchup will be featured at 2:30 PM C.T. as part of the SEC on CBS. The Aggies performed rather well in its last primetime game against Alabama, and Auburn had a big win over Ole Miss last week; expect both Texas A&M and Auburn to be prepared. Here are the key matchups in this game that will determine whether the Aggies or Tigers win.

Zach Calzada vs. Auburn’s Defense

Auburn has usually had one of the better defenses in the FBS, but the Tigers come into this game ranked as the 50th best defense in yards allowed per game. Regardless, Auburn’s defense has consistently improved over this season, especially in its recent performances against Arkansas and Ole Miss. Matt Corral, currently one of the Heisman frontrunners, was limited to 280 passing yards and 45 rushing yards by Auburn; clearly, the Tigers are capable of slowing any quarterback and offense down.

Obviously, Texas A&M will likely have to rely on its trio of running backs to win this game. However, Auburn’s defensive front has shown the capability to limit the running game, so Zach Calzada will need to make some big throws to take the weight off of Devon Achane and Isaiah Spiller. Calzada already showed that he can perform at a high level, but he hasn’t been consistent. Jimbo Fisher should scheme some easy throws for Calzada to Jalen Wydermyer and Ainias Smith to get Calzada in rhythm. 

Spiller, Achane, and Smith need to get the ball at the beginning of the game. Texas A&M’s offense practically lives off of getting its playmakers in open space. If the running backs can break out for a few big runs, Auburn’s secondary will be forced to commit to the run. This will give Calzada some chances at big plays off the play-action game.  

As always, the Aggies’ offensive line will play a big role in this game. If the front line can hold up by giving protection to Calzada and facilitating the run game, Texas A&M will have a field day on offense.   

Bo Nix and Tank Bigsby vs. Texas A&M’s Defense

Cartavious Bigsby, better known as Tank Bigsby, came into the season projected as the top running back in the SEC. He hasn’t lived up to the hype, but he’s still one of the best power running backs in the country. Last week, he had 23 carries for 140 yards and a touchdown. Granted, that performance was against a porous Ole Miss defense, but it’s impressive nonetheless.  

Bo Nix has shown major signs of improvement from his sophomore year to junior year at Auburn. He showed his magic in Auburn’s big road win at LSU, and he now has Auburn on a two-game winning streak. Bo’s energy in every game carries over to the rest of the offense, and his receivers such as Kobe Hudson and Demetris Robertson have stepped up.

Texas A&M’s defense needs to make an effort to contain Bo in the pocket. He has the ability to hurt defenses with his legs, and Bryan Harsin’s playbook will be stacked with quarterback runs.  

Concluding Thoughts

Texas A&M needs a win over Auburn in this game to stay in contention for the SEC West. With a victory, the Aggies will likely re-enter the top 10 in both the AP and College Football Playoff poll. After a tough 3-2 start to the season, Texas A&M looks on track to return to another New Year’s Six Bowl.    

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