Auburn Opponent Preview: Texas A&M

Taking an in-depth look at Auburn's opponent this weekend, the Texas A&M Aggies, who are making their second ever appearance at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Talented wide receiver Speedy Noil (shown above) is one of the most dynamic freshmen in the country

A team riding high early in the season, Texas A&M has fallen on hard times the last month of the season.

Following three consecutive SEC losses to Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Alabama, the Aggies were saddled with the suspension of starting quarterback Kenny Hill prior to last week’s narrow victory in over Louisiana-Monroe. With true freshman quarterback Kyle Allen running the show the Aggies struggled before finally pulling out a narrow 21-16 win over the Warhawks.

The Texas A&M offense that college football fans saw early in the season in big wins over South Carolina, Lamar and SMU is a distant memory for the Aggies since hitting the meat of the 2014 schedule. After piling up 221 points in the first four games under the direction of quarterback Kenny Hill, Texas A&M has scored just 107 points the last five games. That includes 35 points in an overtime win over Arkansas, the last time the Aggies were even competitive in an SEC game.

With Kenny Hill out again this week with a two-game suspension, Kyle Allen will make his first SEC start on Saturday.

While the offense is still loaded with a huge amount of talent, the Aggies will try to get a win at Jordan-Hare Stadium with a freshman quarterback making his first career road start. For the year Allen has completed 36-66 passes for 370 yards and four touchdowns with three interceptions, but he is very talented and has more than enough players with him to test Auburn’s struggling secondary this weekend. He was ranked as Scout.com's top quarterback prospect in the country last season as a high school senior in Arizona.

A team with six receivers who have at least 26 receptions and 230 yards apiece, Texas A&M’s group of wide receivers is perhaps the deepest in the league led by Malcome Kennedy with his 38 receptions for 386 yards and two touchdowns in just seven games. He is the veteran of the group, but the big plays come from big redshirt freshman Ricky Seals-Jones and true freshman Speedy Noil along with the cat-quick Josh Reynolds.

Seals-Jones is a 6-6 skyscraper with 37 catches and three touchdowns this year while Noil is a five-star talent who has already shown glimpses of that ability this year with 36 catches for 461 yards and four scores in eight games. Leading the team with eight touchdown grabs, Reynolds is averaging 15.7 yards on his 34 receptions this year.

The running game hasn't been the focus for the Aggies, who are averaging just 150 yards per game on the ground. That doesn’t mean they are without talent, however, as Tra Carson, Trey Williams and Brandon Williams each average more than 4.5 yards per carry and have combined for 13 of Texas A&M’s 17 rushing touchdowns this season.

Up front the Aggies are also very talented, but an injury to right tackle Germaine Ifedi will cause shuffling for the Aggies as left guard Jarvis Harrison is expected to move to left tackle with All-American left tackle Cedric Ogbuehi will move to right tackle. In the middle veteran center Mike Matthews is a good anchor for the Texas A&M offensive front.

Defensively, it continues to be a struggle for the Aggies as they enter Saturday’s game allowing 25.9 points and 414.2 yards of total offense per game this season. Things could get even tougher this weekend as leading tackler, cornerback Deshazor Everett, is very questionable after rupturing a ligament in his elbow last weekend against Louisiana-Monroe.

Perhaps the best news for the Aggies on defense is that they have freshman pass rusher Myles Garrett ready to try to terrorize Nick Marshall and the Auburn backfield this weekend. Sacking the Warhawks three and a half times last week, Garrett broke Jadeveon Clowney’s SEC freshman record for sacks with his 11 on the season and has 12 1/2 tackles for a loss this year. In the middle, junior defensive tackle Alonzo Williams has been active with 36 total tackles, three and a half sacks and four and a half tackles for a loss.

Myles Garrett

While the pass rush has been impressive this season, the run defense has been anything but spectacular against the physical teams the Aggies have faced. Against Arkansas, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Alabama, Texas A&M’s defense gave up a total of 1,042 yards on the ground (260.5 yards per game) and 14 rushing touchdowns. With Auburn’s offense finding a groove running the football the last two weeks that could be a huge problem for the Aggies on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium where kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. CST.

OFFENSE

WR 2 Speedy Noil, 5-11, 185, Fr-HS, New Orleans, LA (Edna Karr)
18 Edward Pope, 6-4, 180, So-1L, Carthage, TX (Carthage)

LT 70 CEDRIC OGBUEHI, 6-5, 305, Sr-3L, Allen, TX (Allen)
65 Avery Gennesy, 6-5, 305, Jr-TR, Southaven, MS (Southaven/East Miss.)

LG 51 JARVIS HARRISON, 6-4, 330, Sr-3L, Navasota, TX (Navasota) or
78 Garrett Gramling, 6-6, 310, Sr-1L, Denton, TX (Ryan)

C 56 MIKE MATTHEWS, 6-2, 290, Jr-2L, Missouri City, TX (Elkins)
68 Ben Compton, 6-4, 300, Sr-3L, Friendswood, TX (Friendswood)

RG 79 Joseph Cheek, 6-7, 310, Jr-2L, Seguin, TX (Seguin)
72 Jermaine Eluemunor, 6-4, 315, Jr-TR, Denville, NJ (Morris Knolls/Lackawanna (PA)

RT 74 Germain Ifedi, 6-5, 325, So-1L, Houston, TX (Westside) (Inj.)
63 Ryan Lindblade, 6-7, 305, So-1L, Richmond, TX (Foster)

TE 85 Cameron Clear, 6-6, 277, Sr-1L, Memphis, TN (Central/Ariz. Western)
41 Brandon Alexander, 6-6, 266, Jr-2L, Brenham, TX (Brenham)

WR 9 Ricky Seals-Jones, 6-5, 235, Fr-RS, Sealy, TX (Sealy)
23 Sabian Holmes, 5-11, 175, Jr-2L, Southlake, TX (Carroll)
6 Laquvionte Gonzalez, 5-10, 165, So-1L, Cedar Hill, TX (Cedar Hill)

WR 11 Josh Reynolds, 6-4, 190, So-TR, San Antonio, TX (Jay/Tyler JC)
15 Frank Iheanacho, 6-6, 220, Fr-HS, Houston, TX (Westside)
80 Kyrion Parker, 6-2, 200, Fr-RS, Manvel, TX (Manvel)

WR 84 MALCOME KENNEDY, 6-0, 205, Sr-3L, Cayuga, TX (Cayuga)
19 Jeremy Tabuyo, 5-11, 180, So-1L, Honolulu, HI (St. Louis)

QB 10 Kyle Allen, 6-3, 205, Fr-HS, Scottsdale, AZ (Desert Mountain)
14 Conner McQueen, 5-10, 175, So-1L, Klein, TX (Klein Oak)

TB 21 Tra Carson, 6-0, 235, Jr-1L, Texarkana, TX (Liberty Eylau/Oregon) or
1 Brandon Williams, 6-0, 200, Jr-1L, Brookshire, TX (Royal/Oklahoma) or
3 Trey Williams, 5-8, 195, Jr-2L, Spring, TX (Dekaney)

DEFENSE

DE 95 Julien Obioha, 6-4, 265, Jr-2L, New Orleans, LA (Brother Martin)
9 Qualen Cunningham, 6-3, 247, Fr-HS, Chandler, AZ (Hamilton) or
40 Jarrett Johnson, 6-3, 260, Fr-HS, Katy, TX (Seven Lakes)

NG 83 ALONZO WILLIAMS, 6-4, 296, Jr-2L, Long Beach, CA (Polytechnic)
98 Hardreck Walker, 6-2, 300, So-1L, Spring, TX (Westfield) or
92 Zaycoven Henderson, 6-1, 315, Fr-HS, Longview, TX (Longview)

DT 89 Ivan Robinson, 6-3, 290, Sr-3L, Longville, LA (South Beauregard)
96 Jay Arnold, 6-4, 284, So-1L, Rockwall, TX (Heath)

RUSH 15 Myles Garrett, 6-5, 255, Fr-HS, Arlington, TX (Martin)
10 Daeshon Hall, 6-6, 260, So-1L, Lancaster, TX (Lancaster)

SLB 16 Donnie Baggs, 6-1, 230, Sr-3L, League City, TX (Clear Springs)
42 Otaro Alaka, 6-3, 225, Fr-HS, Houston, TX (Cypress Falls)
MLB 7 Jordan Mastrogiovanni, 6-3, 244, So-1L, Dallas, TX (Jesuit) or
14 Josh Walker, 6-1, 233, Fr-HS, Gilmer, TX (Gilmer)
43 Justin Bass, 6-2, 231, Sr-2L, Plano, TX (West)

WLB 33 Shaan Washington, 6-3, 235, Alexandria, LA (Senior)
43 Justin Bass, 6-2, 231, Sr-2L, Plano, TX (West)
3 Tommy Sanders, 6-2, 220, Sr-1L, Cordele, GA (Crisp County/Butler (KS) CC)

FCB 1 DE’VANTE HARRIS, 5-11, 175, Jr-2L, Mequite, TX (Horn)
28 Victor Davis, 6-0, 191, Fr-RS, Rosenberg, TX (Terry)
8 Nick Harvey, 5-10, 180, Fr-HS, Lancaster, TX (Richmond Travis)

BCB 29 DESHAZOR EVERETT, 6-0, 193, Sr-3L, DeRidder, LA (DeRidder)
22 Tavares Garner, 6-0, 183, So-1L, Missouri City, TX (Manvel)

BS 31 Howard Matthews, 6-2, 210, Sr-3L, League City, TX (Clear Springs)
18 Donovan Wilson, 6-1, 192, Fr-HS, Shreveport, LA (Woodlawn) or
25 Clay Honeycutt, 6-2, 200, Sr-2L, Dickinson, TX (Dickinson)

FS 5 Floyd Raven, SR., 6-2, 200, Sr-3L, Kenner, LA (East St. John)
23 Armani Watts, 5-11, 190, Fr-HS, Forney, TX (North) or
25 Clay Honeycutt, 6-2, 200, Sr-2L, Dickinson, TX (Dickinson)

NICK 26 Devonta Burns, 6-0, 214, Jr-1L, Arlington, TX (Martin)
12 Sam Moeller, 5-11, 186, Jr-2L, San Antonio, TX (Antonian Prep)

SPECIALISTS

PLK 49 JOSH LAMBO, 6-0, 220, Sr-1L, Middleton, WI (Edison Center/Collin County) or
24 Taylor Bertolet, 5-9, 185, Jr-2L, Reading, PA (Exeter Township)

P 38 Drew Kaser, 6-3, 210, Jr-1L, Strongville, OH (Walsh Jesuit)
46 Shane Tripucka, 6-3, 215, Fr-RS, Allen, TX (Allen)

*Aug 28, 2014 at #9 South Carolina W 52-28 82847
Sep 06, 2014 LAMAR W 73-3 104728
Sep 13, 2014 Rice W 38-10 103867
Sep 20, 2014 at SMU W 58-6 34820
*Sep 27, 2014 vs Arkansas W OT 35-28 68113
*Oct 4, 2014 at #12 Mississippi State L 31-48 61133
*Oct 11, 2014 #3 OLE MISS L 20-35 110633
*Oct 18, 2014 at #7 Alabama L 0-59 101821
Nov 01, 2014 ULM W 21-16 100922

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