Texas A&M at Ole Miss

Published on Thursday, 10/10/13, at 7:07 p.m. Eastern.

By Brian Edwards

Ole Miss will try to avoid a three-game losing streak when it takes on Texas A&M in Oxford. As of late Thursday afternoon, most books had the Aggies installed as six-point favorites with the total in the 75-76 range.

For first-half wagers, Kevin Sumlin’s squad is favored by three (at a -120 price) with a total of 38. Gamblers can back the Rebels on the money line for a +190 return (risk $100 to win $190).

Texas A&M (4-1 straight up, 3-2 against the spread) has had two weeks to prep for this spot. Before the open date, the Aggies went into Fayetteville and captured a 45-33 win over Arkansas in a back-and-forth affair. They failed to cover the number as 13.5-point road favorites.

Johnny Manziel threw for 261 yards and two touchdowns without an interception against the Razorbacks. He also had 59 rushing yards.

For the season, last year’s Heisman Trophy winner has completed 71.4 percent of his throws for 1,489 yards with a 14/4 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Manziel has rushed for 314 yards and three TDs, averaging 6.5 yards per carry.

His favorite target is third-year sophomore WR Mike Evans, who has made 28 catches for 691 yards and five TDs. RB Ben Malena has rushed for 303 yards and seven TDs, averaging 5.3 YPC.

Texas A&M is third in the nation in total offense and fourth in scoring with a 49.2 points-per-game average. But the Aggies have been dreadful on defense, giving up 30.8 PPG. They rank 114th nationally in total defense, surrendering 476.8 yards per contest.

The defense got even softer this week when starting nose tackle Kirby Ennis was lost to a season-ending injury. A true freshman will replace Ennis in the starting lineup. On the bright side, safety Floyd Raven is expected to return from an injury.

Ole Miss (3-2 SU, 2-3 ATS) won its first three games, including a pair of impressive road wins over Vanderbilt and Texas. But the Rebels got humbled in a 25-0 loss at Alabama two weeks ago. Then on The Plains last Saturday, Hugh Freeze’s team fell behind early and came up on the short end of a 30-22 decision at Auburn.

Ole Miss failed to cover against the Crimson Tide and the Tigers. The Rebels were favored by three at AU last weekend. As a home underdog on Freeze’s watch thus far, they own a 1-1 spread record.

Bo Wallace threw for 336 yards against Auburn but a pair of interceptions proved costly. The junior QB has a 6/2 TD-INT ratio for the season. Wallace has rushed for 117 yards and three TDs.

RB Jeff Scott has rushed for a team-high 424 yards and two TDs, averaging 8.7 YPC. He also had a punt return for a score in the 44-23 win at Texas.

Wallace has an outstanding set of WRs led by junior Donte Moncrief, who will likely be a first-round pick in the NFL Draft. Moncrief has 23 receptions for 355 yards and four TDs.

As a road favorite under Sumlin, Texas A&M has 3-2 spread record.

These schools met at this same venue last year in a wild contest that came down to the wire. Texas A&M escaped Vaught-Hemingway Stadium with a 30-27 victory, but the Rebels got the money as 12-point home underdogs. Manziel’s 20-yard scoring strike to Ryan Swope proved to be the game winner with 1:46 remaining.

Manziel threw for only 191 yards and was picked off twice. He ran for 129 yards and one score.

Wallace threw for 305 yards and one TD and also had a rushing score. However, he was intercepted twice. Scott ran for 108 yards and one TD.

The ‘over’ has cashed at a 4-1 overall clip for the Aggies, hitting in its lone road assignment. The ‘under’ is 3-2 overall for the Rebels, 1-0 in its lone home game.

ESPN will have the telecast at 8:30 p.m. Eastern.

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