Texas A&M fired the shot heard around college football last weekend, taking down Alabama. The season has not gone as expected after quarterback Haynes King broke his tibia in week two and back-to-back losses to Arkansas and Mississippi St. Still, an Alabama win redefines the program’s outlook, and they look to continue against Missouri. The Tigers have had their bumps, sitting 3-3 with late-game losses to Kentucky and Boston College.
Despite coming together from the Big 12, the two programs haven’t played often, with Texas A&M holding an 8-7 record in the series but Missouri on a two-game winning streak against the Aggies. So, where does the value lay in the matchup?
- Opening Line: Texas A&M -9, O/U 59.5
- Current Line: Texas A&M -9, O/U 59.5
- Last meeting: November 15, 2014, Missouri 34, Texas A&M 27
A heroic performance from Zach Calzada against Alabama has breathed new life into the Aggies season as the quarterback played through a knee injury suffered on the tying touchdown to lead a game-winning field goal drive. The knee bears monitoring as the depth behind Calzada is lacking with just walk-on freshman Blake Bost. The pass offense has struggled while ranking 79th nationally in passing yards per game, potentially due to the quarterback switch. Still, playmakers like WR Ainias Smith and TE Jalen Wydermyer lead a talented pool capable of big plays. The run game has struggled for most of the season, sporting a 79th national ranking despite being led by 2022 draft hopeful Isaiah Spiller’s 491 yards. The hope is despite these struggles, the natural talent and confidence gained off last week’s win could be a catalyst to help reach the team’s full potential.
The defense has been the calling card for this team, ranking 18th nationally while giving up 16.83 points per game. Sacks have been a critical factor as start defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal’s 4.5 sacks lead the team to a 17th national ranking. While yardage allowed does not stand out (63rd rush defense / 45th pass defense), the team has excelled in the red zone, where the opponent points conversion rate of 68% is 13th. If there’s an area of concern, it lies with turnovers; the team ranks 80th in creating turnovers, contributing to a 93rd overall ranking in turnover margin.
Missouri presents a true clash of styles. QB Conner Bazelak leads an offense that ranks 22nd in total offense at 466 yards per game and 21st in passing offense. RB Tyler Badie supplements him, and the 55th ranked rush offense. Add it together, and the package has scored 37.8 points per game, ranking 18th in the nation. The offense comes into this game healthy and primed off a 48 point outing against North Texas.
On the other side of the ball, it has been a genuine struggle. The defense ranks 129th out of 130. That is suboptimal. The passing defense has been ok, ranking 46th, but the rush defense has been abysmal, ranking dead last at 130. The 287 yards given up per game are 70 more than the 120th ranked defense allows weekly. It is not an ideal matchup for a team like Texas A&M, who would likely prefer to lean on their pair of RBs Isaiah Spiller and Devon Achane, considering Calzada is coming into the game injured. Turnovers are one area in which the defense has performed decently, ranking 30th.
- Missouri is on a nine-game losing streak ATS
- Texas A&M has been 6-3 ATS through their last nine games
- Texas A&M is 1-5 in their previous six SU against Missouri
Texas A&M is riding as high as they can be coming off the win over Alabama. However, we have seen that open teams up to a letdown performance in the past. The potential exists given Missouri’s porous defense; Texas A&M’s offense could click, making this game very difficult for the Tigers. But Calzada is hurt, and the lack of depth behind him is a genuine concern, leading the team to opt for a more conservative approach. If that happens, Mizzou’s offense can keep this close enough to stay under the number.
Pick: Missouri +9
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