Can the New Mexico State Aggies play with the Auburn Tigers this Saturday? Judging from the two teams’ 1-7 records, one would think it’s possible.
The Tigers are still an SEC team and are 22 1/2-point favorites going into Saturday’s game. They have a good-looking front-seven defensively and NMSU could very well have trouble running the football (nothing drastically new here, even if the Aggies have had more success in this area in recent weeks).
The Tigers don’t blitz an in-ordinate amount and are willing to play man coverage in the secondary. Here’s where NMSU could move the ball — if wide receivers Austin Franklin and Kemonte Bateman can get loose and, in turn, get the football. In essence, the short-to-intermediate passing attack has been there all season for the Aggies and there’s no reason to think it won’t be again Saturday. Can the team take advantage of that defensive gameplan, however? A key question.
The Tigers have a young team including at quarterback, where freshman Jonathan Wallace is seeing increased action. While Auburn hasn’t displayed much in terms of big-play offense this year, they have a good running back in sophomore Tre Mason and a big offensive line. Wallace is a dual-threat QB as well. In other words, this is one area the Tigers could try and exploit — wearing on the Aggies over the course of the contest with a physical ground game.
Auburn is under pressure to perform and head coach Gene Chizik needs to win badly — they don’t pay head coaches in the SEC to be six games under .500 late in the season. A shocking turn of events, just two years after winning the national title. The truth is that Auburn’s young and, similar to the Aggies, their minus-10 turnover ratio certainly isn’t helping their cause (not coincidentally, NMSU carries the same statistic into Saturday’s contest).
If I had to guess, I'd say NMSU plays within two touchdowns of the Tigers.
Here are some links:
Aggies hope to continue gradual improvement: Click here for story
A pair of 1-7 football teams clash: Click here for story
I previewed the game with WarBlogle.com: Click here for story
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