A battle in the basement; Game preview: Texas A&M vs. Auburn

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Sam Craft/AP/Shutterstock (13554573f) Texas A&M quarterback Conner Weigman (15) throws passes during warmups of an NCAA college football game against Mississippi, in College Station, Texas Mississippi Texas A M Football, College Station, United States – 29 Oct 2022

A battle in the basement; Game preview: Texas A&M vs. Auburn


Texas A&M (3-6) vs. Auburn (3-6)

Game time: 6:30 p.m. CT

TV/radio: SEC Network/XM 192

What’s at stake: Bowl eligibility for Texas A&M.

When the Aggies have the ball:

If the Aggies want to remain bowl eligible this season, they will need to win their three remaining games. For that to be accomplished, head coach Jimbo Fisher and the A&M offense will need to put the football in their greatest weapon’s hands, running back Devon Achane.

Achane is only 113 rushing yards away from eclipsing 1,000 yards on the ground for the 2022 season. The junior running back has been on a tear as of late, rushing for 122 yards in the loss last week to Florida, and 138 yards on the ground the week before that against Ole Miss.

Texas A&M will have their five-star freshman quarterback Conner Weigman back under center this week after missing the Florida game with an illness. However, the young QB’s day can be made much more manageable with a heavy dose of Devon Achane to lead the Ags’ offensive attack.

Auburn’s defense has struggled mightily all year to stop the run. Jimbo Fisher needs to feed Achane, trust his best playmaker, and with that, possibly avoid a disastrous year becoming even worse with a missed trip to a bowl game. The key here?

When Auburn opponents rush for more than 130 yards this season, the Tigers have won only one game compared to five losses. All aboard the Achane.

When Auburn has the ball:

The Aggies and running back Devon Achane will not be the only action on the ground Saturday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Auburn has developed an effective running attack themselves that is led by their junior running back Tank Bigsby (yes, his name is Tank).

Bigsby has rushed for 676 yards in 2022 and has found the end zone eight times. Bigsby will not be the only Auburn player that will be a threat running the football. Quarterback Robby Ashford finds production on the ground as well.

Ashford has picked up a stunning 505 rushing yards this season, making him a true dual-threat QB that a struggling defensive front for A&M will need to keep contained if they hope to leave the state of Alabama with a win.

Auburn had 46 rushing attempts last week against Mississippi State. The A&M defense must be prepared to see a similar amount of attempts on the ground Saturday evening.

Key Aggies to watch:

QB Conner Weigman

The Aggie locker room experienced a wave of the seasonal flu last week that forced a number of A&M players, including Weigman, to miss the game against Florida. Weigman returns under center for Jimbo Fisher Saturday night against the Auburn Tigers.

The freshman QB has shown some encouraging play on the field in his limited time this season, and Aggies everywhere will be hoping the five-star shows more glimmers of hope at Jordan-Hare.

In his first career start for the maroon and white, Weigman passed for 338 yards and four touchdowns in A&M’s 31-28 loss to Ole Miss two weeks ago. The 2022 season has been a tremendous failure for Jimbo Fisher and Texas A&M, but Weigman can provide a semblance of hope with a solid outing.

WR Evan Stewart

The young receiver has continued to develop his game with each week this season. Stewart has caught passes from three different quarterbacks in 2022 and will be looking to build off of his most productive game of the season last week.

Stewart reeled in eight catches for 120 yards in the loss to Florida and leads all Aggies with 598 yards receiving on the season (13 yards/catch). Quarterback Conner Weigman found Stewart for a touchdown in his first start two weeks ago against Ole Miss. No doubt that the two freshmen (Weigman & Stewart) will continue to develop a successful chemistry as 2022 comes to an end.

The bottom line:

Saturday night’s matchup will feature two SEC west programs that are reeling in a bad way. Both A&M and Auburn will run onto the field Saturday riding five-game losing streaks.

The battle for who will end a nauseating losing streak will come down to who finds the most production on the ground. There is zero doubt that both the Aggie and Tiger offenses will aim to find success running the football; whichever program thrives on the ground will ultimately find themselves back in the win column.

Game prediction:

Jimbo Fisher & the Aggies get a win and remain bowl eligible. For now.

Texas A&M 31

Auburn 24

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