New Mexico State (2-1) at Auburn (1-2) -16.5 7:00 PM GamePlan

Source: Scout.com

Why to Watch: Oh this will be interesting. Auburn has been awful so far, needing a late rally to get by Kansas State before losing to South Florida and Mississippi State. At least, it’s been awful offensively. Meanwhile, New Mexico State, coached by former Kentucky head man Hal Mumme, has one of the nation’s most prolific offenses, averaging 523 yards and 33 points per game. Yeah, the Aggies have lit up SE Louisiana, New Mexico and UTEP, but it’s a team built to throw, throw and throw some more to keep the pressure on. Auburn will have to come up with a win to close out this four-game homestand, or things might get really ugly with a trip to Florida to follow.
Why New Mexico State Might Win: Auburn’s offense decided to take the first three games off. Kansas State, South Florida and Mississippi State all have good defenses, but this is Auburn; it’s supposed to have offensive playmakers, and it doesn’t. New Mexico State’s defense is far, far worse than anything the Tigers have had to face so far, but it’s vastly improved since last year and is doing a good job of getting into the backfield. The last thing the Auburn quarterbacks need is to be under pressure, but they’ll be hit. If the Tiger running game isn’t pounding the ball, there could be major problems.
Why Auburn Might Win: The Tigers have been all too happy to give it away so far this year with 12 turnovers, but there won’t be much concern about making mistakes this week against an Aggie defense that’s not great at forcing errors. No, Auburn hasn’t faced anyone who can throw the forward pass with any consistency, but it’s done a fine job of generating pressure in the backfield, and has done an excellent job of slowing down the short to midrange passes. Get to QB Chase Holbrook, and the timing will be off.
Who to Watch: New Mexico’s diminutive junior WR Chris Williams has caught fire again. The nation’s leading receiver in 2006, with 92 catches for 1,415 yards and 12 touchdowns, started off the season slowly against SE Louisiana with just four catches, but two went for touchdowns. Over the last two weeks, he’s been all but uncoverable with 19 catches for 331 yards and five scores, and the numbers could’ve been far better if he didn’t have a few drops. He has to be the number one focus of the Auburn defense, while the Tigers offense will be centered around the quarterback situation. Veteran Brandon Cox has struggled, forcing the coaching staff to fast-forward the future by playing Kodi Burns against Mississippi State. Burns adds a scary rushing element to the mix, but he still needs time. This is still Cox’s team, but if he throws a few early interceptions, that will change.
What Will Happen: The game will be taken out of the hands of the Auburn quarterbacks as much as possible with the running game trying to pound away with underused running backs Ben Tate and Mario Fannin, who’ve been underused so far. Expect close to 300 rushing yards, five sacks from the AU defense, and a little bit of sweat during an Aggie scoring run late in the first half.
CFN Prediction: Auburn 38 … New Mexico State 20
Line: Auburn -16.5
Must See Rating: (5 Curb Your Enthusiasm - 1 Kid Nation) 3

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