Texas A&M (-5.5, 47) @ Arkansas
September 25, 2021
3:30pm EST on CBS
The Texas A&M Aggies are off to a 3-0 start, taking down Kent, Colorado, and New Mexico by a combined score of 85-17. Arkansas is ranked 16th and have defeated Rice, Texas, and Georgia Southern by a combined score of 123-48. The Aggies are a 5 ½-point road favorite with an over/under of 48.
Arkansas is led by quarterback KJ Jefferson, who has thrown for 632 yards and four touchdowns, while being sacked only twice. Treylon Burks has been the primary target, having hauled in 13 passed for 206 yards and a touchdown. The offensive has done a great job of not only protecting Jefferson but has opened holes for a variety of quality backs. Trelon Smith has rushed for 216 yards and Jefferson has added 180. After shredding the Texas defense for 333 yards rushing, the Razorbacks now have five players with over 100 yards rushing and are averaging 282 yards rushing per game. On the defensive side of the ball, Arkansas has been aggressive and very solid. They have seven sacks, three interceptions and a forced fumble, while allowing only 263 yards per game.
For the Aggies, Haynes King threw for 300 yards and two touchdowns, to go along with 3 interceptions before injury. In stepped Zach Calzada, who completed just 51.2 percent of his 72 passes for 458 yards and four touchdowns. The Aggies like to pound the ball on the ground with Isaiah Spiller and Devon Achane, who had combined to shred defenses for 453 yards and three touchdowns. When the Aggies are forced to throw, they have looked for Ainias Smith and Jalen Wydermyer, who have hauled in a combined 25 passes for 276 yards. The deliberate, ball controlling pace will work if the Aggies continue their stellar defense, which allowed only 260 yards against Colorado and a miniscule 122 against New Mexico. The lack of an explosive offense against a more dynamic Arkansas attack means that controlling the line of scrimmage and the clock will be a factor for the Aggies.
Watch closely how the Texas A&M offense responds when getting into the red zone. Their production in those situations has been dreadful. The passing game just hasn’t been consistently effective, no matter who is under center. The combined completed percentage of 55 with five interceptions won’t be nearly good enough against conference competition.
On the other hand, the Aggies defense has been stellar. The Razorbacks have not won a game in this series in the last nine tries but has engaged in many high-scoring games over the year. This one will likely not be the case.
The ground games will both be featured, looking to grind out long drives. The Aggies are likely to stall more offensively, but in the end this game could be decided by which team plays the better defense. That gives the edge to the Aggies to try to extend their winning streak to ten over the Razorbacks.