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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One step away
June 8, 2024

On to Auburn: 4 things to watch for

Ricky+Seals-Jones
Photo by Photo by Kathryn Perez
Ricky Seals-Jones

1) Do not sleep on Auburn — or Peyton Barber
For a team that was picked by the vast majority to win the SEC, the Tigers never lived up to the hype they received over the summer. However, that does not mean this is not a good football team. They still have plenty of talent on both sides of the ball, and they gave Ole Miss all it could handle last week.
Running back Peyton Barber has carried the load while they transition quarterbacks, and he has made the most of his touches. So far, he has 180 carries for 780 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns on the season, and he should have the offense on his back again on Saturday night, against a porous A&M run defense. The Aggies will need to make Barber ineffective and force redshirt freshman quarterback Sean White to throw against a very good A&M secondary. Keep an eye on Peyton Barber throughout the game.
2) Kyler Murray: Take two
The freshman dazzled in his first career start for A&M against South Carolina. This week, he takes on the Will Muschamp-led Auburn defense, which has been statistically abysmal this season. They might throw a few coverages at Murray he has never seen before in order to make him panic and turn the ball over, but his arm and feet are going to create headaches for the Tiger defense.
Holding onto possession of the football will be critical on Saturday, and for A&M, it will all start with Murray. This is sure to be a bit of a learning experience for Murray, so do not expect him to have the same near-flawless success he had against the Gamecocks. He will play well enough, but this game is going to be a bit more challenging.
3) The Aggie rushing attack can be lethal once it gets going
A&M quietly put up 321 yards rushing last weekend thanks to the 156 yards Murray chipped in. Beyond that, Tra Carson was over the 100 yard mark (21 carries, 122 yards), and he’s shown steady consistency over the last few weeks, at least when he has the opportunity to touch the football.
Also, the return of James White to the backfield has taken enormous pressure off Carson, and ultimately Murray as well. Once this rushing attack gets moving downhill and find a groove, they can really move the football. Look for Carson, White and Murray to be the key statistical leaders for A&M on the ground Saturday night.
4) Watch out for Ricky Seals-Jones
Since arriving at A&M, Seals-Jones has faced injuries, scrutiny and heard he was a bust of a recruit from some. Now, in 2015, he is finally coming into his own and becoming the kind of receiver Kevin Sumlin and his staff dreamed he could be. It took some time, but Seals-Jones has been as sure handed as they come for A&M.
His productivity on Saturday will be a trigger for the Aggie offense, and look for Murray to target the big-framed receiver more as he begins to take shots down the field. It is nice for a young quarterback to have a sure-handed receiver like Seals-Jones in his arsenal of attack.

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