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Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald (7) is tackled by Texas A&M defensive lineman Jayden Peevy, center and Tyrel Dodson (25) during the first half of their NCAA college football game on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, in Starkville, Miss. (AP Photo/Jim Lytle)

Texas A&M and Auburn Battle for Bowl Eligibility Saturday

The No. 25 Texas A&M Aggies and Auburn Tigers have a lot in common entering their game this weekend. Both teams sit at 5-3 and lost to SEC West foe Mississippi State (who are also 5-3) this season. The Aggies were nearly knocked out of the AP poll following the loss, almost suffering the fate Auburn faced after losing to State. Now, both teams will battle to reach bowl eligibility at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

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The game may go down to the time of possession when considering Texas A&M is second in the nation at 36 minutes a game. Auburn sits on the opposite side of the FBS, averaging only 27 minutes per game. Although the Aggies offense struggled versus Mississippi State, Auburn similarly struggled on offense versus Tennessee and Ole Miss. The Aggies enter as the underdog in this road game, but the road team has won each of the last six meetings between these two teams.

The last time head coaches Jimbo Fisher and Gus Malzahn played each other was in the 2013 National Championship game. Malzahn said the win versus the Johnny Manziel-led Aggies propelled his team to the game.

On the other hand, Fisher said the comeback-win is one of his best memories.

Aggies running back Trayveon Williams, who has 824 rushing yards and eight touchdowns, will have to go up against a tough defensive line. Auburn has only allowed 10 offensive touchdowns this season. Malzahn expressed how the bye week gave the coaches time to breathe and the team time to heal.

Tough Schedules Ahead 

Both the Aggies and Tigers face a tough remaining schedule after their game this weekend. With bowl eligibility on the line, both teams will need some of their best performances to end the season on a high note.

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Aggies

Texas A&M has fallen to No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Clemson already, but still has SEC West opponents Ole Miss and No. 4 LSU in two of the last three games of the season. Ole Miss also joins the Aggies in the 5-3 club, but are only 1-3 in the SEC. The Rebels have just six touchdowns in 13 red zone trips in SEC play. However, the Aggies will face C-USA West leader UAB and the LSU Tigers in the final two weeks.

Tigers

Auburn will face No. 6 Georgia and No. 1 Alabama in two of the last three games of the season. The 7-1 Georgia Bulldogs can clinch the SEC East with a win against No. 11 Kentucky and also sit at No. 6 in the first College Football Playoff rankings. On the other hand, the Tigers will have a weaker opponent in Liberty before a clash with arch-rival Alabama in the final game of the season. Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide are 8-0 and are lead by Heisman-hopeful Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback.

About Homar Hernandez

Sports Journalist @ESPNGainesville, @VAVEL, @VAVEL_USA, @WUFTNews. Telecom at @UF. Miami Aficionado. Views are my own. RT's ≠ endorsements.

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