No. 25 Texas A&M visits Auburn in series ruled by road team
No. 25 Texas A&M (5-3, 3-2 SEC, No. 20 CFP) at Auburn (5-3, 2-3), noon EDT (ESPN)
Line: Auburn by 4.
Series record: Texas A&M leads 5-3.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Both teams are trying to finish up and down seasons on a high note in November. Auburn’s hopes of a winning season would take a big hit with a loss since road trips to No. 6 Georgia and No. 1 Alabama are looming. The Aggies will likely be solid favorites in their next two games before facing No. 4 LSU.
Auburn’s running game against the league’s No. 1 run defense. The Tigers rank 11th in the league in rushing and top runner JaTarvious Whitlow’s status is uncertain with an apparent leg injury The Aggies are allowing just 86.5 yards per game on the ground.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Texas A&M: QB Kellen Mond is the type of dual-threat quarterback who has presented a challenge to Auburn’s defense. He ranks second in the SEC in total offense. Against Auburn, Mississippi State’s Nick Fitzgerald ran for 195 yards. Mississippi’s Jordan Ta’amu torched the Tigers for 324 passing yards and had success on the ground, too.
Auburn: The running backs. With Whitlow uncertain to play with a shoulder injury, the Tigers face a huge challenge against a good run defense. Coach Gus Malzahn says it could be running back by committee, with candidates including freshmen Shaun Shivers and Asa Martin, Kam Martin and Malik Miller.
FACTS & FIGURES
The visiting team has won all six meetings since Texas A&M joined the SEC in 2012. Only two of those games have been decided by 10 points or less with an average margin of 16.1 points. That includes Texas A&M’s 63-21 win at Jordan-Hare Stadium in 2012, the most points ever scored by an opponent at Auburn. … Freshmen have accounted for nearly two-thirds of Auburn’s points this season (146 of 227). … Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher and Auburn’s Malzahn faced off in the BCS championship game to end the 2013 season. Fisher’s Florida State Seminoles won 34-31. … Texas A&M’s defense leads the SEC and is seventh nationally in opponents’ third-down conversion (27.5 percent). Auburn’s offense ranks 12th in that category at 37.2 percent.