In what was a night reserved for the Texas vs. Texas A&M rivalry, the Louisana State Tigers and Texas A&M Aggies duel on Thanksgiving night. This is a day for the NFL, but if you’re a bigger fan of college football there is still one game on the card. If you recall, Texas and Texas A&M always played on Thanksgiving, but since the Aggies moved to the SEC from the Big-12, the spot has been reserved by the Tigers. In other words, they’re trying to turn a rivalry into what was nothing before. In fact, 2011 was the first time they met since 1995.
They have played every year since, so there has to be something brewing in this matchup. In previous years, LSU in this spot, with this roster, they’d bulldoze them off the field. Their ability to stop the run was putrid, so I can only imagine what Leonard Fournette would do against this run-stop unit. Let’s give the Aggies some credit here, though, they did some quality recruiting to beef the defense up.
Is Texas A&M’s defense an elite level? In other words, do they have a defense that can match-up well against some of the best offenses in the country? Oh no, they aren’t on that level just yet, but they’ve been making forward progress, and for that we give them credit. It’s hard to believe that the Aggies were in the top 4 not that long ago, with one loss on their resume mind you. They didn’t deserve to be there, but the Aggies didn’t last long in the rankings, so I suppose it doesn’t matter now.
Texas A&M was dealt a considerable blow after quarterback Trevor Knight was injured. He is their lifeblood on offense, and they failed to generate much last week against a bad UTSA team. The Aggies won it, 23-10, but it wasn’t without their difficulties. Jake Hubernak played solidly enough, passing for 248 yards and 1 touchdown. However, he hasn’t played a defense anywhere the caliber of LSU in his career. This will be his fourth start of the year, after putting in time against Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and UTSA. Both teams are looking to improve their odds at reaching at a top-tier bowl game. A win tonight would look great for either.
LSU Tigers vs. Texas A&M Aggies NCAAF Betting Odds:
vs. Texas A&M +6.5(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
LSU vs. Texas A&M Pick:
LSU are going to feed the beast on Thanksgiving. Expect a healthy amount of carries for Fournette in the backfield. Fournette is a bona fide NFL prospect, as he hopes to carry in the same footsteps as Adrian Peterson and Ezekiel Elliott. Elliott looks to have a promising career ahead of him, who was the first overall selection in the most recent NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. We see what he’s doing in Dallas, now we’re going to see soon what kind of pro Fournette is. He ran for a whopping 1,953 yards last year with 22 touchdowns. This season he was off to a late start due to an injury but is right back bullying opposing defenses. He has had a couple of really hard matchups against Florida and Alabama. There were no running lanes to be had for him to run, but there should be open space against the Aggies.
Texas A&M are entering with a better rush defense, but it isn’t saying all too much. The Aggies were previously in the bottom 100 of teams in the FBS, and today they are ranked 75th, allowing 178 yards per game. I feel the only way to slow Fournette down is to have the bodies up front to be able to handle him. Otherwise he’s just going to plow his way forward for an average of 6 or 7 yards per carry. Texas A&M will not be able to handle an average like that.
There is a clear difference between the ground defenses in this one, and that’s what I feel it’s going to come down to. LSU are 14th against the run, allowing an average of 115 yards per game. The Tigers have also been stingy against the pass this season, ranked 7th and allowing just 192.9 yards per game. This will be the biggest game of Hubernak’s career and it comes against one of the best defenses in the nation. Trevor Knight may return, but he comes back to a stingy LSU team. This point-spread reminds me an awful lot of LSU against Ole Miss a few weeks back. The public ate the points up with the Rebels at home, but LSU ended up covering the number easily. I foresee the same thing tonight, as LSU finally gets a weak defense to feast off of again on Thanksgiving.
PICK: LSU -6.5 (-110)</em