AUBURN, Ala. (EETV) - Hugh Freeze will take his Auburn squad to College Station to face off against the Texas A&M Aggies for the first conference matchup up the year for the Tigers.
Auburn has had recent luck at Kyle Field, going 4-1 there since A&M joined the SEC in 2012. The Aggies have a slight edge over Auburn in the overall record, winning 12 out of the 21 matchups.
Head Coach, Jimbo Fisher, made some off-season changes bringing in new offensive coordinator, Bobby Petrino, to give a new look to the Aggie offense. Petrino’s offense ranks fifth in the conference in total offense.
“He’s very good... Very good schematically. Very good at scheming. Obviously, he checks a lot of his runs based on the looks that you
have and that makes it difficult. He’s usually right,” Hugh Freeze on Texas A&M offensive coordinator, Bobby Petrino.
They’re led out by sophomore Quarterback, Connor Weigman. Weigman, is second in the SEC in QBR (quarterback rating) with a 92.8. He has thrown for 909 yards and 8 touchdowns with 2 INTS.
Leading the team in rushing is, 5’9 205, running back Amari Daniels with 149 yards and 2 touchdowns on 34 carries.
Auburn will have its hands full with one of the best wide receiver rooms in the country. Weigman has plenty of options to throw to, but his favorite target so far is former 5-star recruit, Evan Stewart. Leading the way in that room, Stewart has 257 yards receiving on 19 catches. Right behind him is Ainias Smith with 194 yards on 13 receptions. Rounding out the loaded receiver room is Jahdea Walker with 141 catches on 8 receptions.
The Tigers will face its biggest test yet in the trenches with a big and physical Aggie offensive line. At left tackle Trey Zuhn III, 6’7 315, will get the start. Beside him is Kam Dewberry, 6’4 330. Manning down the middle is center, Bryce Foster, 6’5 330. On the right side Layden Robinson, 6’4 315, will get the start at right guard, and Rueben Fatheree II, 6’8 315, will get the nod at tackle.
Allowing a combined 13 points in its two wins over New Mexico and ULM, the Aggies showed some weakness in a game against Miami where they allowed 451 yards of total offense.
It starts up front for the Aggies, having a physical front four that has controlled their opponents' run game this season, allowing just 98.3 yards per game. McKinnley Jackson and Shemar Turner are the leaders up front for the Aggies.
At linebacker, Edgerrin Cooper is the leading tackler for the Aggies so far this season with 16 total tackles. Joining him in leading that linebacker room is Taurean York with 11 total tackles.
On the back end is veteran Demani Richardson with 10 tackles in three games. Josh DeBerry adds another veteran presence bringing 39 career games with 158 career tackles. Matthews is a young talent helping out the Aggie secondary, with 10 tackles on the year after finishing with 35 as a true freshman last season.
“They’ve got a bunch of 5-stars in the defensive line and at linebacker and at safety and at corner,” Hugh Freeze said of the Aggie defense. “They’re really, really talented.”
Auburn will have its hands full with a loaded Texas A&M team. Auburn will need to bring pressure defensively to force Weigman into uncomfortable situations. With the injury bug hitting the Auburn defense this season, defensive coordinator, Ron Roberts, will need to be creative in dialing up blitzes to force negative plays. Offensively, Auburn will need to cut down on the turnovers after committing six in its previous 3 games. Quarterback, Payton Thorne, is hoping to build off his performance last week where he accounted for 405 yards of total offense.
Auburn will travel to College Station on Saturday for an 11 a.m. kickoff on ESPN.