Auburn was expected to be in the SEC championship hunt this season, but now it appears as if the Tigers are in position to play more of a spoiler role.
Auburn (4-4, 1-4) visits College Station, Texas, this Saturday to take on Texas A&M (6-2, 3-2), which is a touchdown favorite at home, according to VegasInsider.com.
Auburn and A&M don’t have a long history as SEC foes, but the few matchups against one another have been memorable.
Here are three reasons why Auburn could pull off the upset over Texas A&M:
Auburn and Texas A&M have met three times since 2012. In those games, the teams have combined for 249 points.
In other words, there has been no shortage of offense or excitement when these powers collide.
In 2012, the Aggies handed Auburn the worst home loss in school history, which eventually led to the departure of Gene Chizik. The next season, Auburn made its first trip to Kyle Field and won in a shootout, 45-41. Last year, Texas A&M delivered a knockout blow to Auburn by upsetting the Tigers 41-38, which led to four consecutive FBS losses to end the season.
Anything goes when A&M and Auburn clash, and this season it’s Auburn that is trying to play the role of spoiler.
The Sean White factor
Auburn received little production out of the quarterback position early on this season, but over the past five games with White behind center, this offense has found new life. White is the first Auburn player since 1997 to throw for 250 yards or more in three consecutive games.
A left knee injury has slowed White the past few weeks. However, he’s expected to play and has practiced throughout the week, which is positive news concerning the quarterback’s mobility.
In four SEC games, White is averaging 238.8 passing yards per game, which is good for fourth in the conference. He has sparked Auburn’s offense, even if it hasn’t always translated to wins.
The Texas A&M defense should pose a challenge, particularly if Myles Garrett can get to White. But other offenses have been able to find success against the Aggies, and with White at the helm, Auburn can as well.
Carl Lawson vs. Kyler Murray
Making his first college start last week, Murray, a true freshman, passed for 223 yards and ran for another 156 against South Carolina.
But the Gamecocks lack legitimate difference-makers on the defensive side of the ball. Fortunately for Auburn, its defense has Lawson.
Lawson returned to action last week against Ole Miss after missing six games due to a hip injury, and he could give Murray fits in his second consecutive start. A rusty Lawson had three quarterback hits a week ago, but he could rediscover his form Saturday evening.