Week 12 SEC: Missouri at Texas A&M

    Missouri (7-2) at Texas A&M (7-3) Nov. 15, 7:30, SEC NetworkHere’s The Deal: The battle of the Big 12 now takes on a lot more meaning than it seemed like

    November 12, 2014

    Missouri (7-2) at Texas A&M (7-3) Nov. 15, 7:30, SEC Network

    Here’s The Deal: The battle of the Big 12 now takes on a lot more meaning than it seemed like it would before last weekend. Texas A&M was floundering after losing three straight and struggling against a mediocre ULM team, and then came the dominant first half against Auburn and the hang-on-for-dear-life finish to give the team a signature win. With home games against Missouri and LSU to close, the Aggies still have a chance to make even more noise in the SEC world and can jockey for a great bowl position. At the moment, losing to Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Alabama isn’t all that bad, and maybe, just maybe, the team really is one of the 15 best in America. More importantly, a win over Mizzou can change the SEC East dynamic. 

    The Tigers aren’t playing all that well, but they’ve still managed to get to 7-2 thanks to the crazy win over Florida and the comeback victory over South Carolina. They got through the layup line against Vanderbilt and Kentucky, and now the real work begins. One loss to Texas A&M, Tennessee or Arkansas, and Georgia takes the East with a win over Auburn – there’s no margin for error for a team that’s really, really struggling offensively. They’re finding ways to win, and they’re getting the play from the defense needed to get by, but it’s going to take a little more scoring pop than the 24 points its averaging over the last six games. 

    Even with the Big 12 performances, this is just the 15th meeting between the two. The Tigers managed to case Johnny Manziel last year in a key 28-21 win, after getting blown out 59-29 in 2012. Helped by a winning streak in the 1950s, Texas A&M has an 8-6 lead in the series. 

    Why Missouri Might Win: Will the ULM version of Texas A&M show up, or will it be the version that rocked Auburn last week? Missouri might have a slew of problems offensively, but the defense has been terrific over the last three weeks, not allowing more than 14 points in any of the three games. Why is Mizzou 7-2? Turnover margin. The offense gave it up five times against Georgia and just five times in the other eight games with just one turnover in the last three games. The Tigers have given it away fewer than twice in seven of the nine games this year, while Texas A&M has been in the negative on turnover margin in seven of its ten games. 

    Why Texas A&M Might Win: If the offense gets hot early, Missouri might not be able to catch up. The Aggie passing game might not have rocked against Auburn, but it was effective, getting the job done early on and finishing with four touchdowns to do what it needed to do. Kyle Allen is still trying to figure out what he’s doing, but if he can get the ball out of his hands early, and if he can avoid the big mistake, the offense will move. The Tiger passing game doesn’t turn the ball over, and it came up with two touchdown passes in each of the last two games, but the yards aren’t there. Outside of rocking against Toledo, and throwing wild against Indiana in the strange loss, the passing attack hasn’t come up with over 200 yards in any one game. That isn’t going to fly against A&M. 

    Who To Watch Out For: That was the Kyle Allen who was the five-star superstar prospect who was expected to be the next A&M superstar quarterback right out of the box. He was bad against ULM, but against Auburn he only turned it over once and completed 19-of-29 passes for 277 yards and four touchdowns. The Mizzou pass rush is going to bother him, but he needs to hold up under the pressure. 

    What’s Going To Happen: Missouri is finding ways to win, and Texas A&M has been extremely flaky, but the offensive disparity will come through. At home, A&M’s offense will work just enough to make Maty Mauk and the Tigers press. Mizzou won’t be able to keep up. 

    Prediction: Texas A&M 24 … Missouri 20 
    Line: Texas A&M -6.5 o/u: 59 
    Must Watch Factor: 5: Foxcatcher – 1: The Comeback … 3 

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