It’s a crossover matchup in the SEC as a pair of teams square off on the gridiron in the Show-Me State. The #21 Texas A&M Aggies are on the road as they travel to face the Missouri Tigers Saturday afternoon. Texas A&M got back in the win column as they stunned #1 Alabama 41-38 at home last Saturday night in their most recent game. Missouri comes in off a 48-35 home victory over North Texas in their most recent game last Saturday. In the all-time series between the teams, the Aggies own an 8-7 advantage but the Tigers have won the last two matchups, including a 34-27 road win in the most recent matchup on November 15, 2014.
Texas A&M Aggies Try to Avoid LetdownTexas A&M shook off back-to-back losses as they found a way to upend #1 Alabama, giving Jimbo Fisher the first win by a former assistant over Nick Saban. That vaulted the Aggies back into the rankings as they improved to 4-2 on the year overall and 1-2 in the SEC. Against Alabama, Texas A&M led 17-7 after one quarter, 24-10 at the half and 31-17 midway through the third quarter. The Aggies gave up 21 unanswered points to trail 38-31 with five minutes to play before rallying with the game’s final 10 points, capped by Seth Small’s 28-yard field goal as time expired, to earn the win. Texas A&M was outgained 522-379 in total offense, lost the first down battle 25-24 and lost the time of possession by a 33:39 to 26:21 margin but managed to prevail. The Aggies forced two turnovers while committing one and returned a kickoff for a score in the victory.
On the season, the Aggies are 78th in passing offense with 221.5 yards per game while they are 80th in rushing offense by grinding out 155.2 yards per contest this season. Texas A&M is 83rd in the FBS in scoring offense with an average of 26.3 points per game while they stand 18th in the nation in scoring defense by allowing only 16.8 points per contest. Zach Calzada is 90 of 159 for 1,029 yards with eight touchdowns and five interceptions while adding 43 yards plus a score on the ground. Haynes King is 22 of 35 passing for 300 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions plus 24 yards on the ground. He’s out until late October after suffering a fractured ankle in the win over Colorado back on September 11. Isaiah Spiller leads the team in rushing with 85 carries for 491 yards and three scores this season. Devon Achane (50 carries, 330 yards, two TD) is the second back in the system. In the passing game, Ainias Smith leads the team with 26 receptions for 285 yards plus four scores. Jalen Wydermyer (18 catches, 249 yards, two TD), Demond Demas (seven grabs, 141 yards, TD), Achane (17 receptions, 163 yards, TD), Spiller (17 catches, 149 yards, TD) and Chase Lane (10 grabs, 111 yards) all have at least 100 receiving yards this season. Seth Small has hit all 17 extra-point attempts and 11 of 12 field-goal attempts with a long of 49 this season.
Missouri Tigers Looking to Build MomentumMissouri bounced back from two straight losses as they earned a non-conference home win over North Texas last week. The Tigers improved to 3-3 overall and sit 0-2 in SEC play entering this contest so they’ll look to break through with a conference win here. Against North Texas, Missouri led 14-0 after the opening quarter and held a commanding 31-7 advantage at the half. The Tigers led 41-14 with under 12 minutes to play before easing off the gas a bit, allowing North Texas to make the final score more respectable. Missouri was outgained 493-474 in total offense though they did have a 22-21 edge in first downs. The Tigers controlled the time of possession by a 31:48 to 28:12 margin and forced four turnovers, including a pick-six, while not committing one in the contest.
The Tigers are 21st in the nation among the 130 FBS teams to take the field this season in passing offense with 298 yards per game on the year while they are tied for 58th in rushing offense with 169 yards per contest. Missouri is 18th in the FBS in scoring offense as they put up 37.5 points per game and the team stands 122nd in scoring defense by limiting opposing teams to 37.5 points per contest. Connor Bazelak has completed 155 of 231 passes for 1,690 yards with 12 touchdowns and five interceptions on the year. Tyler Macon (three of four, 69 yards, TD) and Brady Cook (five of five, 29 yards, TD) have seen limited work this season. Tyler Badie is the lead back in the ground game as he has 104 carries for 667 yards and eight scores. Elijah Young (23 carries, 92 yards, TD) is the second back in the system. In the passing game, Keke Chism (288 yards, TD) and Badie (212 yards, four TD) each have 25 receptions to share the team lead. Tauskie Dove (17 receptions, 264 yards), Chance Luper (15 grabs, 163 yards, TD) and JJ Hester (six grabs, 158 yards, two TD) are each over 150 receiving yards on the season. Harrison Mevis has hit all 29 extra-point attempts and eight of eight field goals with a long of 56 this season.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
While Missouri comes in off a win last week over North Texas, the fact remains that they have dropped both their conference games this season. The Tigers lost 35-28 at Kentucky as a 5.5-point underdog back on September 11 and then were pasted 62-24 as a 2.5-point favorite at home against Tennessee on October 2. To put it in more perspective, Missouri is 0-6 ATS this season and has failed to cover the line in any of their last nine games dating back to last season. Texas A&M is 3-3 ATS this season but they won outright as an 18.5-point underdog last week against Alabama. Fisher won’t let his team get caught up in the hype from last week’s win. Texas A&M hands Missouri another loss, dropping the Tigers to 0-3 in conference play.
Full-Game Total Pick
After starting the season with four straight unders, Texas A&M has seen the last two games go over the mark. That includes last week’s 79-point bonanza with Alabama that rocketed past the number, which was set at 50. Meanwhile, Missouri has gone over the mark in five of their six games on the year, including last week’s 83-point total against North Texas. The Tigers have a point differential of zero after six weeks, which means their defense has negated all the offensive production they’ve mustered this season. Three of the previous four meetings between the teams wound up over the total. Given the way Missouri gives up points by the truckload, look for this one to wind up over the mark.