Previewing The Texas A&M Aggies

Auburn takes on Texas A&M in one of the country's biggest games in college football this weekend.

Auburn, Ala.--Sprinting to a 5-1 start with the only loss at LSU, the 24th-ranked Auburn Tigers will face another tough road test this weekend at No. 7 Texas A&M.

Led by last season's Heisman winner Johnny Manziel and one of the nation's top offenses, the Aggies enter the contest averaging 47.8 points per game with the only loss coming at home to Alabama 49-42.

A team with plenty offensive weapons, there is no doubt that Manziel tops the list of most dangerous players for the Aggies and rightly so. Averaging 305.8 passing yards and 71.2 rushing yards per game with 19 total touchdowns, Manziel has become one of the most productive players in college football history in his short time in College Station.

Just 13 times in SEC history has a player topped the 500-yard mark for total offense in a game. In his 19 career games Manziel has five of those 13. In fact, he has only been held under 300 yards of total offense three times in his career to this point and already has 5,541 career passing yards and 1,837 career rushing yards.

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said that Malzahn is the ultimate competitor and combined his talent that makes him a special player.

"He is almost like watching a video game sometimes with the stuff he does," Malzahn said. "The human side, his competitiveness, his toughness--that's what really stands out to me. He is a physically and mentally tough individual. He plays with that edge."

Johnny Manziel

With running backs Ben Malena, Tra Carson, Trey Williams and Brandon Williams all capable of making plays out of the backfield, Texas A&M averages 224.7 rushing yards per game. On the perimeter the Aggies feature one of the deepest wide receiver corps in the country led by the massive Mike Evans.

The 6-5, 225 sophomore has become one of the most reliable receivers in the country and he has the numbers to back it up. In six games Evans has 32 receptions for 737 yards and five touchdowns including a 278-yard performance against Alabama earlier in the season.

With at least two catches in all 19 career games, Evans is already fifth in school history in receiving yards and sixth in receptions.

Despite losing a pair of starters to the NFL, Texas A&M still has one of the top offensive lines in the SEC anchored by big Jake Matthews. The son of Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews, the left tackle is expected to be a Top 10 selection in the 2014 NFL Draft.

With all those weapons surrounding him, Manziel leads an explosive offense, but Malzahn said that he likes the direction of his defense through the first half of the 2013 season. While the Tigers have made some improvements it's going to take a supreme effort this weekend.

"I've got a lot of confidence in Coach (Ellis) Johnson," Malzahn said. "He's one of the best in the business. We've got a great staff. I'm on top of things. I'll know what we are doing and every now and then throw in something, but they're good at what they are doing and I've got a lot of trust. You can tell the defense is getting better each week and we are going to have to be better this week against this bunch."

On the other side of the ball is a Texas A&M defense that has been torched so far this season. Allowing a total of 192 points in six games (32 per game), the Aggies have been especially porous in conference play giving up 120 points in just three games to SEC foes. Allowing up 474.3 yards per game of total offense, they have just five total sacks and eight quarterback pressures.

One positive is that the Aggies have forced turnovers, 11 already this season including eight interceptions. With safeties Howard Matthews and Deshazor Everett both capable of making plays all over the field, it's an athletic group that plays solid football on the back end. Without starting defensive tackle Kirby Innis, who is out for the season with an injury, the Aggies have been soft in the middle of the defense, but Malzahn said it's a group that is improving.

"They've gotten better and are starting to settle in to who they are and I thought they did a solid job defending Ole Miss," Malzahn said. "They bring a lot of pressure. They do a lot of different things. We're going to have to handle that; and score some points. "

By The Numbers

*Under coach Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M has been deadly coming out of the locker room. In the 19 games since Sumlin has been with the Aggies, they have scored 16 times on the first drive of the game with 15 of those touchdowns.

*The red zone has been the maroon zone this season for Texas A&M as the Aggies lead the country in red zone opportunities (44), red zone scores (36), red zone touchdowns (32) and red zone rushing touchdowns (20).

*Texas A&M has scored in double digits in 34 consecutive games dating back to a 9-6 win over Nebraska in 2010.

Texas A&M Offense

WR 13 Mike Evans 6-5 225 So
15 Travis Labhart 5-9 182 Sr

LT 75 Jake Matthews 6-5 305 Sr
73 Jeremiah Stuckey 6-4 300 So

LG 51 Jarvis Harrison 6-4 325 Jr
77 Shep Klinke 6-7 305 Sr

C 56 Mike Matthews 6-2 285 SoL
68 Ben Compton 6-4 295 Jr

RG 74 Germain Ifedi 6-5 311 Fr
78 Garrett Gramling 6-6 315 Jr

RT 70 Cedric Ogbuehi 6-5 300 Jr
79 Joseph Cheek 6-7 300 So

TE 85 Cameron Clear 6-6 270 Jr
81 Nehemiah Hicks 6-4 255 Sr

WR 23 Sabian Holmes 5-11 175 So
19 Jeremy Tabuyo 5-11 180 Fr
or 6 Laquvionte Gonzalez 5-10 165 Fr

WR 11 Derel Walker 6-2 185 Sr
18 Edward Pope 6-4 180 Fr

WR 84 Malcome Kennedy 6-0 200 Jr
4 Ja'Quay Williams 6-3 210 Fr

QB 2 Johnny Manziel 6-1 200 So
16 Matt Joeckel 6-4 234 Jr

TB 1 Ben Malena 5-9 195 Sr
5 Brandon Williams 6-0 200 So
or 21 Tra Carson 6-0 230 So
or 3 Trey Williams 5-8 195 So

Texas A&M Defense

DE 72 Gavin Stansbury 6-4 255 Jr
50 Tyrone Taylor 6-3 240 Fr
or 96 Jay Arnold 6-4 275

NG 99 Isaiah Golden 6-2 310 Fr
89 Ivan Robinson 6-3 290 Jr

DT 83 Alonzo Williams 6-4 280 So
98 Hardreck Walker 6-2 300 Fr

Rush 95 Julien Obioha 6-4 255 So
10 Daeshon Hall 6-6 245 Fr
35 Tyrell Taylor 6-4 230 Jr

SLB 9 Nate Askew 6-4 235 Sr
33 Shaan Washington 6-3 220 Fr

MLB 48 Darian Claiborne 6-0 225 Fr
45 Jordan Mastrogiovanni 6-3 235 Fr
3 Tommy Sanders 6-2 220 Jr

WLB 8 Steven Jenkins 6-2 220 Sr
16 Donnie Baggs 6-1 230 Jr

CB 1 De'Vante Harris 6-0 185 So
37 Alex Sezer Jr. 5-9 180 Fr

CB 7 Tramain Jacobs 6-1 190 Sr
37 Alex Sezer Jr. 5-9 180 Fr

S 31 Howard Matthews 6-2 200 Jr
25 Clay Honeycutt 6-2 200 Jr
36 Jonathan Wiggins 6-3 210 Fr

S 29 Deshazor Everett 6-0 185 Jr
25 Clay Honeycutt 6-2 200 Jr
44 Sam Moeller 5-11 186 So

Nickel 4 Toney Hurd Jr. 5-9 185 Sr
6 Noel Ellis 5-10 175 Fr

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