Hugh Freeze
Auburn head coach Hugh Freeze speaks during NCAA college football Southeastern Conference Media Days, Tuesday, July 18, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

Auburn Hosts New Mexico State

The New Mexico State Aggies (8-3) are headed to Jordan-Hare Stadium to play the Auburn Tigers (6-4) on Saturday at 4 p.m.

Bowl Game Secured

Auburn is coming of a 48-10 victory over SEC-West-rival Arkansas (3-7). This win gave the Tigers their sixth win of the season, making them bowl eligible in their first season under head coach Hugh Freeze. This also puts them back on track after missing a bowl game last year for the first time since 2012.

The Aggies are in their second year with Head Coach Jerry Kill. Both seasons they have been bowl eligible. They are on a six-game win streak and are looking to finish strong and end the year with 10 wins. New Mexico State is coming off of a 38-29 win over Conference-USA-rival Western Kentucky (5-5).

On the Ground

The Tigers’ Run Game

The Tigers are on a three-game win streak and are looking to finish strong in their last two weeks. Running-back Jarquez Hunter has made a big impact throughout the season and has rushed for over 100 yards in each of their last three games. He has 745 rushing yards this season.

Auburn’s rushing attack as a whole has been its X-factor, as the Tigers rank eighth in rushing yards per game. Quarterback Payton Thorne is second in rushing for the team with 425 yards. The Tigers have three more rushers with over 200 yards. As a team, they have 2,072 rushing yards compared to 1,644 passing.

The Aggies’ Ground Attack

New Mexico State is 10th in rushing yards per game. Quarterback Diego Pavia has 2,257 rushing yards, 19 touchdowns and six interceptions, but also leads the team in rushing yards. He has rushed for 703 yards. On top of that, the team has a pair of running backs that has rushed for over 1,000 yards. Monte Watkins (531) and Star Thomas (515) make for a deadly duo in the backfield. As a team, the Aggies have rushed for 2,277.

Stop the Run

New Mexico State is 43rd in rushing defense, which will make for an interesting matchup against the Tigers who are 71st.

With Auburn 27th in passing defense, the Aggies may need to rely on their ground game. Auburn’s secondary will be the position group to lookout for because if the Aggies need to resort to the pass game, Auburn will have them right where it wants them.

The Tigers are looking to finish the season strong and do better than meeting the minimum requirements to make a bowl game. The Aggies are looking to extend their win streak to seven games and possibly end their season with double digits in the win column.

Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

About Michael Tubbs

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