Texas A&M football through the air vs. the Tigers
This, in my opinion, is the biggest mismatch of the game. Not only is Weigman the premier talent at signal caller in the conference (in my opinion, though I feel like I will not be alone by season’s end), the Tigers are going to be without their defensive leader in the secondary for this game, Keionte Scott. Auburn has thus far been stingy against the pass by pure statistics; however, this has much more to do with the quality of opponent faced rather than defensive ability, to my eyes. The Auburn secondary has not seen a receiving core that approaches of the quality of A&M’s so far in 2023, and possibly won’t for the remainder of the season. If Evan Stewart and Noah Thomas are both greenlighted for this game, I see Weigman being able to pick apart the Auburn secondary pretty easily.
That said, as I mentioned, the Tigers enter the game allowing only 77% of FBS opponent averages when it comes to YPA. If this were a season-long mark, then it would be considered elite; however, this mark is only from a two-game sample size since they have played one FCS opponent in Samford. Their corners have, for the most part, not had many issues in coverage against no-name receiving cores in Massachusetts, Cal, and Samford, but I think the pure talent and ability to execute that the Aggie passing game brings will really give them fits.
When it comes to third down situations, the Auburn defense has been up and down. They were able to get off the field well against UMass and Cal (11% and 22% 3DC allowed) but gave up their highest mark of the season to Samford (36%). Again, due to the talent of the Ags up front and the ability of the A&M receivers to get open, I feel good in both short yardage and passing situations against this Auburn defense. Asante, who I previously mentioned, is a great blitzer, but his coverage ability is suspect. If the offensive line can hold up and Conner can make the right protection calls—Auburn DC Ron Roberts previously worked under simulated-pressure guru Dave Aranda—then Texas A&M football will have a decided advantage.