Auburn vs


at Nashville
Sat, Dec 30
11:00 AM Pacific
Rotation: 267
Odds: Maryland +6.5, Total: 47.5

Game Analysis

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Strong Opinion – Maryland (+6.5)  26   Auburn  27

Taulia Tagovailoa, Maryland’s 4-year starting quarterback, won’t play in this game but I think the adjustment made by the market was too much and didn’t take into account how much Auburn’s defections are worth.

Auburn was better when quarterback Payton Thorne was on the field and backup Robby Ashford has transferred. However, the Tigers’ only impactful receiver, Ja’Varrius Johnson, entered the transfer portal and is not on the depth chart for this game. That’s huge, as Johnson averaged 13.3 yards on 26 targets against 11 FBS opponents while the rest of the receivers combined to average only 6.1 YPT. Replacing Johnson’s 26 targets with the average of the rest of the receivers is a difference of 0.7 yards per pass play, which equates to 1.9 points per game. Auburn’s offense was 0.2 yards per play better than average for the season (5.6 yppl against FBS opponents that would combine to allow 5.4 yppl to an average team) and I rate that unit as average with Thorne but without Johnson.

Maryland’s defense was 0.4 yppl better than average in the regular season (5.0 yppl allowed, excluding garbage time, to teams that would average 5.4 yppl against an average defense) and I rate that unit at 0.2 yppl better than average without starters LB Barham and CB Still. Still isn’t as important in predictive metrics, as he had just 7 passes defended and 5 other players on the defense have at least that many. He was valuable because 5 of those 7 passes defended were interceptions, but future interceptions are predicted using passes defended (and/or completion percentage allowed) so while 5 interceptions is worth about 20 points his passes defended is worth only about 6 towards a prediction of future interceptions – which is why he’s not as valuable as he might seem. I have Maryland’s defense rated a bit better than Auburn’s offense and I don’t think the significance to Johnson being out for Auburn is reflected in the market. I project 363 yards at 5.6 yppl for the Tigers in this game.

Maryland was 0.6 yppl better than average offensively this season but should be significantly worse without 4-year starting QB Taulia Tagovailoa. Billy Edwards is in line to get the start behind center, and he’s not been good throwing the ball when given the opportunity to play in the past. Edwards has averaged only 3.9 yards on his 65 career pass plays and he was 2.7 yppp worse than average in his one career start, last season against Northwestern, when he averaged only 4.3 yppp against a defense that would allow 7.0 yppp on the road to an average QB (game was played at Maryland). Edwards has shown some ability to run, as he ran for 93 yards on 12 runs in his lone start and has averaged 7.8 yards on 29 career runs, excluding the 10 yards on 12 QB sneaks this season (6 went for touchdowns). I expect more running with Edwards at quarterback (and better running) but project a drop of 1.6 yppp from Tagovailoa, who was 0.8 yppp better than average this season. Maryland’s offense rated at 0.2 yppl worse than average in Edwards’ start last season against Northwestern and I project the Terrapins’ attack to be 0.2 yppl worse than average with Edwards at quarterback for this game (could be better given that the Maryland offense was better overall this season than it was last season).

Auburn’s defense was disappointing this season, rating at just 0.4 yppl better than average (5.9 yppl allowed to FBS teams that would average 6.3 yppl against an average defense) and they’ll be significantly worse heading into this game. The Tigers will be without 4 starters, as CB DJ James, CB Nehemiah Pritchett, DT Marcus Harris, and S Jaylin Simpson are all not on the depth chart for this game. I calculate those losses as worth 0.53 yppl (3.6 points) and project the Tigers’ defense to be 0.1 yppl worse than average for this game. I predict Maryland’s offense to gain 386 yards at 5.9 yppl, as the Terrapins should run the ball really well against a defense that was just average against the run in the regular season (5.4 yprp allowed to teams that would average 5.4 yprp against an average defense) and is without their best interior defensive lineman. I don’t expect much from Edwards in the passing game, but it will help having 2 of 4 starters in Auburn’s defensive backfield out (as well as 8 game starter Pritchett, who has transferred).

I would have favored Maryland by 1.7 points before all the adjustments for transfers and opt outs. Obviously, Tagovailoa is the most significant player not playing (worth 6.6 points) but Auburn lost a lot of defensive talent (3.6 points worth) and their only explosive receiver (1.9 points). Maryland’s other defections, aside from Tagovailoa, are only worth 1.6 points. I get Auburn by just 1.0 points and 52.8 total points and there is just no way to justify Auburn being favored by nearly a touchdown in this game.

Maryland is a Strong Opinion at +6 points or more and a Lean down to +4.5 points.

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • Auburn
  • Maryland


  • Run Plays 36.0 33.4
  • Run Yards 213.2 181.7
  • YPRP 5.9 5.4


  • Pass Comp 12.8 16.6
  • Pass Att 21.7 27.4
  • Comp % 59.0% 60.8%
  • Pass Yards 140.5 201.7
  • Sacks 2.8 2.3
  • Sack Yards 14.0 13.0
  • Sack % 11.5% 7.7%
  • Pass Plays 24.6 29.6
  • Net Pass Yards 126.5 188.7
  • YPPP 5.2 6.4


  • Total Plays 60.6 63.0
  • Total Yards 339.6 370.5
  • YPPL 5.6 5.9


  • Int 0.8 0.7
  • Int % 3.8% 2.7%
  • Fumbles 0.4 0.6
  • Turnovers 1.2 1.3
  • Points 27.3 21.9
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