The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

October 25, 2012

Texas A&M-Auburn Preview Capsule


Associated Press



No. 22 Texas A&M (5-2, 2-2 SEC) at Auburn (1-6, 0-5), 11 a.m. (ESPN)

Line: Texas A&M by 14.

Series Record: Texas A&M leads 2-0.

WHAT'S AT STAKE

The Aggies can get a nice start on a three-game SEC road swing that includes visits to No. 13 Mississippi State and No. 1 Alabama. It also presents a good chance for QB Johnny Manziel to rebound from a three-interception game against LSU. Auburn has only three more chances to avoid going 0-8 in the league and will be a heavy underdog each time.

KEY MATCHUP

An aggressive Texas A&M defense against an offense prone to running backward. The Aggies have racked up 21 sacks and Damontre Moore leads the nation in sacks and tackles for loss. With a young offensive line and hesitant quarterback play, Auburn has allowed a league-worst 24 sacks and has also had plenty of other negative plays — often at the worst times.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Texas A&M: Manziel. The redshirt freshman proved he was mortal against LSU. He's still averaging 100-plus total yards more than Auburn's offense and goes against a defense that has been vulnerable to dual-threat quarterbacks. Manziel is second in the SEC in both rushing and passing.

Auburn: RB Tre Mason. Mason leads the team with 474 yards but has wondered aloud why he's not getting 20 or more rushes. The slippery sophomore has oddly almost disappeared from Auburn's offense at times in the second half of tight games, but the Tigers need to stick with him more to keep the Aggies' fast-paced offense on the sideline for as long as it's close.

FACTS & FIGURES

The Aggies lead the SEC in total, rushing and scoring offense. The Tigers rank last in scoring and total offense — and in the bottom three nationally in both. ... The Aggies won both previous meetings, 16-0 in 1911 and 36-16 in the 1986 Cotton Bowl against the Bo Jackson-led Tigers. ... Auburn has scored 60 points in five SEC games; Texas A&M has produced at least 58 three times in seven games this season. ... Manziel has accounted for more than twice as many touchdowns as Auburn's offense, 24-11.