TEXAS A&M AGGIES (4-1)
at OLE MISS REBELS (3-2)
Kickoff: Saturday, 8:30 p.m. ET
Line: Texas A&M -5.5, Total: 74.5
No. 9 Texas A&M prepares for a high-scoring affair when it heads to Oxford as the road favorite over Ole Miss in a key SEC game.
Both of these teams are 2-3 ATS to start the year with Texas A&M covering in two of its past three games. The Aggies' dynamic offense averages 49.2 PPG, the fourth most in FBS, but the defense has be an issue, giving up 30.8 PPG (87th in nation). Ole Miss is coming off back-to-back SU and ATS defeats, as it was shut out by Alabama 25-0 and lost 30-22 as a two-point favorite to Auburn last week. The Rebels are giving up 25.2 PPG while scoring only 27.2 (85th in nation), but have played four of their first five games this year on the road. Last season, the Rebels were one of the few teams to actually figure out how to contain QB Johnny Manziel, holding A&M to a relatively meager 481 yards of offense and forcing six turnovers. Manziel needed two late TDs in that meeting to give the Aggies the win. In each of the four games in which Manziel has played completely this season, the Aggies have surpassed 40 points and 520 yards of total offense.
Will Ole Miss end its losing skid and pull off the upset over a top-10 team? For the answer, connect to College Football Best Bets for all the StatFox Experts picks throughout the 2013 regular season and bowl season. The four experts continue to thrive in college football Best Bets with a combined 58.1% ATS record (61-44-3) for the season. StatFox Gary is a sizzling 82% ATS (9-2-1) in college football Best Bets over the past four weeks and 67% ATS (10-5-1) this year. StatFox Scott is 67% ATS (10-5-1) on Best Bets in the past three weeks and 60% ATS (18-12-1) for the season. StatFox Dave is 75% ATS (9-3) on Best Bets in the past two weeks and 56% ATS (22-17) for the season. StatFox Brian is 52.4% ATS (11-10-1) in Best Bets this season.
The Aggies rank sixth in FBS with 365 passing yards per game, and most of that credit goes to Manziel, who is completing 71.4% of his passes for 1,489 yards (10.6 YPA) this year. In 140 attempts he has only four interceptions while finding the end zone 14 times through the air. He has added three rushing touchdowns as the teamís leading ball carrier with 314 yards on 48 attempts (6.5 YPC). In last year's win over Ole Miss, Manziel threw more picks (two) than touchdowns (one), but he still had 191 passing yards and 142 rushing yards. Joining him on the ground are RBs Ben Malena (57 carries for 303 yards, 7 TD) and Tra Carson (41 carries for 229 yards, 4 TD), who are effective weapons that give Manziel a much-needed break once in a while. Malena rumbled for 142 yards (7.9 YPC) and a touchdown last year versus the Rebels. Through the air, nine different Aggies have receiving touchdowns this season, but WR Mike Evans (28 catches for 691 yards, 5 TD) is by far Manzielís favorite target. He also has been able to find WRs Derel Walker (19 catches for 264 yards) and Malcome Kennedy (23 catches for 242 yards, 4 TD) when needed. Where A&M needs to step up its game is on the other side of the ball, giving up a whopping 6.1 YPC, which is 0.6 YPC more than they accumulate themselves. It doesnít get better against the pass where they surrender 7.1 yards per attempt.
Ole Miss junior QB Bo Wallace is nowhere near the type of weapon Manziel is, completing only 59.0% of his passes for 1,143 yards (6.9 YPA), 6 TD and 2 INT. During his team's two-game losing skid, Wallace has completed just 53.2% of his passes for 495 yards (6.3 YPA), 2 TD and 2 INT. He also didnít have a rushing score in either of those games while adding three of those in the first three games. In last year's loss to A&M, Wallace totaled 326 yards and two scores, but also threw two picks, including one returned for a touchdown just before halftime. RB Jeff Scott is the teamís most dangerous weapon, averaging 8.7 YPC on 49 carries for 424 yards 2 TD. Heíll have to carry the load against this weak Aggies defense and help control the clock by keeping the ball out of Manzielís hands. He was able to that last year with 108 yards on 21 carries (5.1 YPC) and a touchdown when he faced the Aggies. Wallaceís top receiving options this year are WRs Donte Moncrief (23 catches for 355 yards, 4 TD) and Laquon Treadwell (24 catches for 250 yards). The Ole Miss defense has been better its its counterpart, but the numbers aren't great, giving up 4.4 YPC and 6.4 YPA. Notably, through the air, opponents are completing a whopping 67% of their passes, which must make Manziel happy going into this game.