Texas A&M Football: Auburn Matchups and Statistics

Nov 5, 2022; College Station, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher looks on in the first half against the Florida Gators at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

The Texas A&M football program has reached an inflection point.  The recent five-game slide and overall poor offensive showing this year have caused many to start calling for the firing of various staffers and an overhaul of head coach Jimbo Fisher’s trademark offensive philosophy.  Bowl eligibility hangs in the balance, with the Aggies needing to win out in order to reach six wins.

They face a tough task this weekend in an Auburn team that will be playing hard for its beloved interim HC in Cadillac Williams.  But how do they match up statistically with the Tigers?  What edges can we expect?  Let’s dive in.

When this Texas A&M football team is on offense

First and foremost, Conner Weigman will need to have a similar performance to the one we all marveled at two weeks ago against Ole Miss.  He posted the best passing numbers we’ve seen so far this season outside of the Sam Houston game in his lone start this year, with 338 yards on 44 attempts.  The Auburn passing defense is on the good side of average— slightly better than Ole Miss (allowing 90% of opponent averages compared to Ole Miss’s 98%), and it will certainly be tougher to pass on the road than at home.   Weigman will need the help of his running game to stay on track offensively in the unfriendly confines of Jordan-Hare.

Auburn also tends to make it a little tougher on opponents down-in and down-out than Ole Miss, allowing 95% of opponent average success rates compared to Ole Miss’s league-last 106%.  In light of that, it’s more important than ever that A&M keeps in front of the chains, as this offense has consistently failed to execute when they get off-schedule this year.

When it comes to running the ball, this Texas A&M football team has actually not been that bad— usually exceeding opponent averages allowed, having done so in all but two games this year.  The Auburn defense is not the best unit the Aggies will have seen all year, but they are coming off a great performance against Mississippi State, allowing the Bulldogs only 20% of their average YPC for the game.  This was a number aided by the 5 sacks they racked up, and the fact that the Bulldogs only ran the ball 13 times aside from those plays, but still impressive.  Before that game, Auburn had been allowing 105% of opponent averages; afterwards, they now come in allowing only 95%.  Personally, I find the Mississippi State game to be a bit of a statistical outlier, and feel like the Aggies will have success running the ball.

When Auburn is on offense

When compared to Texas A&M, Auburn’s passing offense is similarly rudderless.  They’ve had more consistency, with Oregon transfer Robby Ashford starting most of the year, but have struggled to pass efficiently most of the year, usually landing right around the opponent’s average YPA allowed (99.55% of opponent passing averages gained for the year). Their rushing offense, led by star RB Tank Bigsby, has been a little better; on the year, they’ve gained 112.52% of opponent rushing averages (most of that buoyed by gaining 203.57% of UGA’s average in their game against them, which comes out to a whopping 3.68 YPC.  UGA’s defense is nasty this year, for those of you who did not know).  The Aggie pass defense, excellent all year but fading of late due to injury, will have an opportunity to make the Tigers one-dimensional.

The Aggies will be tested in the run game; an area where they’ve had trouble all year.  Luckily, the young star DB Bryce Anderson will likely make a return this game, which will go a long way in that aspect of the game.  Since the bye, though, this Texas A&M football team has had trouble tackling, and facing off against a back as strong and elusive as Bigsby or even backup Jarquez Hunter, sure tackling is key.

Auburn has struggled to find consistency on offense this year on a down-to-down basis, averaging a mere 38% success rate for the year (second-to-last in the SEC), with even that number being aided by a 55% SR against Mercer and 49% against San Jose State.  In conference, they’ve averaged a mere 34% success rate!  The Aggie defense has fared better across the board against the more traditional style of offense that the Tigers run, but have had trouble with running QBs.  If the Aggies can contain Robby Ashford, the defense should be in for a good day.

So what do you think?  What are your keys to the game?  Anything I missed?  Let me know down below!