Texas A&M Aggies vs. Vanderbilt Commodores
Saturday – November 21 – 6:30 pm CT
Vanderbilt Stadium – Nashville, Tennessee
Both teams got back on the winning track last weekend after a string of inconsistent play and tough losses. Texas A&M easily handled Western Carolina defeating them 41-17 while Vanderbilt took down Kentucky at home 21-17. This will only be the second true road game of the season for the Aggies who were embarrassed at Ole Miss a month ago falling 23-3. The Commodores are 3-2 at home but just 4-6 overall and will likely fail to reach a bowl game unless they can knock off A&M and Tennessee in their final two outings.
What to look for when A&M has the ball
Quarterback competitions typically take place in spring camp and in August practices leading up to the start of the season. For the Aggies however the battle for the starting spot is still ongoing. Head coach Kevin Sumlin said after last Saturday’s win that Kyler Murray, Kyle Allen, and Jake Hubenak would all have a chance to earn the job based on this week of a practice. It’s hard to fathom that a team could be headed into its eleventh game of the year and still not know who the right field general to lead the team is but in all fairness injuries to both Allen and Murray have certainly played a factor. The starter will be announced just shortly before kickoff. Wide receivers Speedy Noil and Josh Reynolds were both suspended from the Western Carolina game for violating team curfew rules. It will be interesting to see if either can get out of the doghouse. If they can’t then the Ags will rely heavily on Christian Kirk to be the real offensive team leader as he’s been all year. Running back Tre Carson has continued to put up one hundred plus yard games against inferior opponents and should do the same again in this one.
What to look for when Vanderbilt has the ball
On the flip side Vandy knows who their starting quarterback is and it’s freshman Kyle Shurmur. That’s not necessarily a good thing though as their offense is ranked 116th in the nation and average only 15.4 points per game. They were shutout this season by the Houston Cougars and are all around really weak at moving the football. One bright spot though has been running back Ralph Webb who is closing in on 1,000 yards rushing for the season. Considering the porous A&M run defense, he could have a field day and help keep Vanderbilt in this one given the fact that they do have a top 20 defense nationally. Defensive End Myles Garrett was just named one of four Lombardi Award finalists and Shurmur will surely need to watch his back at all times when dropping back to pass.
As if one needed further proof of what a disappointment this season has been for Aggie fans, the coaches, and the players, they come into this game as only a six point favorite. The over/under is at only 41.5 as well, a total that A&M was averaging on their own through their first five games. Look for Vandy to play hard as they fight for a bowl and for A&M to continue to look like a team with no real direction.
Prediction: Texas A&M 27 – Vanderbilt 17