Appalachian State vs. Texas A&M Odds, Picks: Value on Total in This College Football Week 2 Matchup?
Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Texas A&M Aggies wide receiver Yulkeith Brown #8.
- Appalachian State is recovering from a heartbreaking loss to UNC in Week 1, and now it has to travel to College Station to take on Texas A&M.
- The Aggies shutout Sam Houston in their first game of the college football season.
- Stuckey breaks down this matchup and provides his best bet.
Appalachian State vs. Texas A&M Odds
Appalachian State will try to bounce back from a devastating loss in its home opener against UNC in a game that eclipsed 120 total points.
There’s no time to dwell for the Mountaineers, who will travel to face their second straight Power Five opponent — this time in an extremely hostile environment against a ranked Texas A&M squad.
Conversely, the Aggies didn’t have to sweat much in Week 1 against Sam Houston State (a very solid FCS team) in a 31-0 shutout after a lengthy weather delay.
Can the Aggies take care of business and cover the number in front of the 12th man? Or can Appalachian State bounce back from a tough loss to keep this close and possibly even repeat history by pulling off a stunner similar to its win at the Big House almost exactly 15 years to the day?
Let’s take a closer look.
Head coach Shawn Clark returns for his third season in Boone following a 10-4 campaign that included a division title.
Offensively, the Aggies will benefit from the return of quarterback Chase Brice, an experienced offensive line and the dynamic running back duo of Nate Noel and Camerun Peoples, who combined for over 2,000 rushing yards last season.
The running back room is really a three-headed monster with Daetrich Harrington.
The biggest question on offense comes in the pass-catching department after the departure of four super-senior wide receivers, who all signed with NFL teams after the draft.
On the other side of the ball, the 3-4 base defense has a few more questions, specifically at linebacker and in the secondary.
App State must replace star linebacker D’Marco Jackson, who was drafted by the New Orleans Saints after winning 2021 Defensive Player of the Year in the Sun Belt.
The Mountaineers also lost a pair of two-year starting safeties in addition to cornerback Shaun Jolly, who’s now with the Cleveland Browns.
All-American cornerback Steven Jones returns at one secondary spot, but the rest of the defensive backfield could be a work-in-progress, especially after what we saw against UNC last week.
Jimbo Fisher continues to bring in elite recruiting classes as he tries to get Texas A&M to its first CFP appearance.
However, while the roster has no shortage of talent, the Aggies did lose plenty of key contributors from last season, including four NFL draft picks:
- OG Kenyon Green (First Round)
- DE DeMarvin Leal (3rd Round)
- DE Michael Clemons (4th Round)
- RB Isaiah Spiller (4th Round)
Texas A&M also has a new starting quarterback in sophomore Haynes King, who made one start last year before suffering an injury. He’s thrown multiple picks in both career starts against Kent State and Sam Houston State.
If King can settle into his role and avoid costly turnovers, he has the necessary supporting cast of skill positions to excel in College Station.
However, there are major questions all along the offensive line, which really struggled in the opener against an FCS school.
In addition to Kenyon Green, Texas A&M lost starting left tackle Jahmir Johnson and had to make do without starting center Bryce Foster last week due to an illness. Fisher stated he’s now day-to-day, so his status remains up in the air for Saturday.
Plus, the Aggies have dealt with a number of injuries along the line in recent weeks. In total, they only had 23 career starts among the starting five last week.
That lack of continuity really showed in their opener, when they rushed for only 110 yards on 32 carries.
The defense should be one of the best in the country, assuming the inexperienced (but uber-talented) pieces can fill in for the departures along the defensive line. I’m also interested to see if this unit feels any ill-effects of the loss of coordinator Mike Elko, who left for the head coach position at Duke.
In positive news, Texas A&M will get a pair of defensive starters back who missed the opener in DL McKinnley Jackson and CB Jaylon Jones.
Appalachian State vs. Texas A&M Betting Pick
I believe we are getting value on this under after what we saw from Appalachian State in that absolutely wild shootout with UNC. What I took from that game is the UNC defense is still indeed a hot mess.
This will be an astronomical step up in competition for quarterback Brice, who has struggled against elite defenses in his collegiate career. Unlike last week, he won’t benefit from receivers racing up the sidelines wide open.
Meanwhile, after getting embarrassed, I expect App State’s defense to give a much better effort against a Texas A&M offense still working in a new quarterback and figuring out its offensive line rotation.
I’m not sure the Aggies can fully exploit some of the inexperienced Mountaineers pieces on the back end.
In his presser this week, Fisher hammered home trying to figure out the rushing attack. I’m not one to put too much stock into coach speak, but that aligns with his philosophy and is an area the Aggies need to figure out before conference play.
Also, if they build a big lead — as the line suggests — I expect Fisher to go even more conservative than usual and work on the run blocking assignments with Miami (FL) on deck.
For what it’s worth, the conservative Fisher has gone 78-61-2 (56.1%) to the under, including 26-20 (56.5%) at Texas A&M. Also, in the nine games the Aggies have faced a non-Power Five team under Fisher, they have held those opponents to an average of only 7.4 points per game.
Only one scored more than 14 points when UAB got to 20 in Fisher’s first year, but even that took two late touchdowns (one after a fumble inside the 10) in a blowout.
I think we end up seeing something along the lines of 34-14.