#21 Texas A&M Aggies (8-3) @ #5 Missouri Tigers (10-1) 11/30 7:45PM EST
Line: MIZZ -4.5
On Saturday night regular-season finale, the only thing standing in the way of No. 5 Missouri winning the Southeastern Conference East title is finding a way to slow down Johnny Manziel along with his 21st ranked Texas A&M Aggies in what should be a another good game.
That is the big challenge facing Missouri (10-1, 6-1), especially after last year’s Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel torched the Tigers. Win and Missouri has a date on December 7 for the SEC title game in Atlanta. Lose and the South Carolina Gamecocks would advance by virtual of beating the Tigers back on October 26.
“We’re excited about playing this game,” coach Gary Pinkel said. “We’ve worked real hard to get this position. You know what, you compete for a championship, you’ve got to beat good people.”
For the Aggies (8-3, 4-3), they will have the pleasure of playing spoiler after losing big last week to another Top 25 team, the LSU Tigers 34-10.
Missouri doesn’t figure Johnny Manziel will have two bad games in a row where last week he stunk it up (in Manziel standards) completing only 16 of 41 passes for 224 yards, one touchdown, two picks and career-low 5.46 yards-per-attempt.
“It wasn’t fun to get beat like that,” said Manziel. “We will see how we handle adversity. This team with a bunch of young guys—we just have to see how they bounce back.”
A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin added…
“I think the guys are ready to play,” Sumlin said. “We are playing in a real season and real opponents and real games. Are we where we want to be right now? No. It doesn’t mean the sky is falling either.”
Manziel may be playing in his regular-season finale, who is expected to go Pro, so he wants to finish strong to end the season.
The sophomore sensation has been silent about his draft intentions, but it’s a safe bet that the NFL will be the next step for him.
All Manziel has done in his second season in the SEC is lead the conference in passing yards per game with 321.5 touchdown passes with 32. He also has 665 yards rushing and eight touchdowns added into the mix.
“He’s such a great player,” Pinkel said. “If you watch him game in and game out, then you see the consistency oh how he plays and the way he does it. You have to contain him the best you can, and you have to score points on offense. There is nothing magic about this.”
But Manziel will have to deal with a defense that leads the SEC with 35 sacks and 18 interceptions and a defensive unit that has forced turnovers in 41 consecutive games… good for the nation’s longest streak.
“They really improved from last year, obviously, and statistically lead the league in sacks,” Sumlin said. “They lead the league in interceptions too, which is an underrated stat.”
And with a Missouri running game that ranks second in the SEC with 238.0 yards a game along with their defense, the early lines have made the Tigers a (minus) -4.5 point favorite for Saturday’s contest. As the spread may change, be sure to check the latest odds here through Wonder Punter up until game time.
Revenge will be fresh on the minds of the Tigers who last year suffered a 59-29 beat down at the hands of Johnny Manziel who went 32 of 44 for 372 yards and three scores while adding two rushing touchdowns of his own on 67 yards.
That A&M win last year snapped the Tigers three game winning streak in the series.
As for the numbers, the Aggies average 45.6 points to Missouri’s 39.7 but the Tigers have the better defense yielding 19.3 to A&M’s ‘soft’ 31.2 points per contest.
A&M sophomore Mike Evans is the biggest threat with 61 catches for 1,314 yards with 12 touchdowns.
This year I expect the Tigers’ senior quarterback James Franklin to make it three-out-four years for the Missouri Tigers beating the Aggies. Franklin returned to action last week after missing time with a shoulder injury.
“It’ll be just nuts because it’s Senior Night and because of how we’ve been doing this year,” said Franklin. “The fans want to come for what’s on the line.”
By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter