TV Schedule: Saturday, November 7, 7:30 pm, ET, SECN
Stadium: Kyle Field, College Station, TX
Line: TA&M (-7)
Quarterback struggles have plagued an Auburn team that entered this season as an SEC West favorite and with a top-10 ranking in the polls. After barely eking out a victory over Jacksonville State in Week 2 (27-20 in OT) and getting thrashed by LSU at Auburn, Gus Malzahn made the decision to replace Jeremy Johnson with Sean White.
Unfortunately for Auburn, White hasn’t been able to live up to the Olympic-medal-winning prowess of his name twin (Shaun White). Entering last week’s game against Ole Miss, he hadn’t thrown a touchdown pass since being named the starter in Week 4. While he finally threw for one against Ole Miss, Auburn’s defense was unable to stop the Rebels who held on for a 27-19 win.
Although the Tigers managed to pull out a win against Kentucky, they were unable to outlast Arkansas in a 46-54 quadruple-OT thriller. None of their four wins have come against SEC West opponents and despite hiring Will Muschamp in the offseason, the Tigers’ defense is still allowing 446.5 yards per game.
While Texas A&M has undergone some QB changes this season as well, it has produced wildly different results. In last week’s game against South Carolina, true freshman Kyler Murray received his first career start and posted some pretty impressive numbers (223 pass yards; 156 rush yards).
Murray is the first SEC player with at least 100 rush yards, a rush TD, 100 pass yards and a pass TD in their first career start since Auburn legend Cam Newton. Murray was also the first A&M QB to pass for 200-plus yards and rush for 150-plus yards in a game since Johnny Manziel. Talk about good company.
Even before that, A&M was 5-2 with wins against unranked Arkansas, Ball State and Nevada and ranked Mississippi State and Arizona State. However, two straight SEC losses (Alabama and Ole Miss) prompted Kevin Sumlin to make the QB change for last week’s game against South Carolina.
Sumlin and the Aggies shouldn’t look back.
While Malzahn is used to impressive QBs after coaching Newton while serving as Auburn’s OC, he’s not as used to defending them. If Murray continues to live up to the hype, Texas A&M should have no problem beating the Tigers Saturday.
Prediction: Auburn 14, Texas A&M 24