(16) UCLA @

Texas A&M

Sat, Sep 3
12:30 PM Pacific
Rotation: 186
Odds: Texas A&M -3, Total: 54

Game Analysis

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TEXAS A&M (-3)  33   Ucla  26

UCLA is ranked 16th in the nation but unranked Texas A&M is rightfully favored. The reason that the Aggies are unranked is because of the uncertainty at the quarterback position after last season’s poor performance from that position and the defections of Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray, who both left the program after the season. I see last year’s issues as an isolated incident given that Kevin Sumlin’s offenses at Houston and here at A&M have been consistently good until last year’s hiccup. Former Oklahoma starter Trevor Knight has reportedly looked incredibly good in camp and Knight is 0.9 yards per pass play better than average in his career (503 pass plays at 6.6 yppp against teams that would allow 5.7 yppp to an average quarterback) and is a gifted runner. Last season the Aggies’ quarterbacks combined to be 0.1 yppp worse than average so there will be significant improvement if Knight plays at his career level, which is what I’ll expect until I see some evidence of improvement. Knight’s problem is turnovers and I do expect a higher than normal interception rate, but overall I project the Aggies’ offense to be significantly improved in 2016 after last season’s uncharacteristically mediocre performance (5.6 yards per play against teams that would allow 5.5 yppl to an average team).

The Aggies’ defense should also be improved with star Myles Garrett (12.5 sacks) and 6 other starters returning from last year’s better than average unit that allowed 5.4 yppl to teams that would combine to average 6.1 yppl against an average team. The run defense was a problem last season (5.7 yprp allowed) but A&M’s defensive line is bigger up the middle and should be better stopping the run while the pass defense should be just as good with 3 of last year’s 4 starting defensive backs returning and with Garrett once again terrorizing quarterbacks.

UCLA will be a good test to see if the improvement I expect is going to be realized. The Bruins were a solid team last season, rating at 0.6 yppl better than average on offense (6.4 yppl against teams that would allow 5.8 yppl to an average team) and 0.9 yppl better than average defensively despite a rash of injuries. That defense should be even better this season with 10 starters returning but I don’t see the offense being any better with just 4 starters returning. One of those starters is sophomore quarterback Josh Rosen, who was the nation’s #1 rated high school quarterback two years ago. Rosen was good in his freshman campaign, averaging 7.1 yards per pass play (against teams that would allow 6.3 yppp to an average QB) with a low interception rate, and he is likely to be significantly better this season, as is the norm for sophomore 2nd year starting quarterbacks. However, the receiving corps lost their top two receivers and four of the top five, which will inhibit Rosen’s progress a bit.

The UCLA rushing attack probably won’t be as good and it’s not because they lost leading rusher Paul Perkins. Perkins was great in his final season before leaving early for the NFL (1343 yards at 5.7 ypr), but backups Jamabo and Starks should be just as good after combining for 724 yards at 6.2 ypr in 2015. However, the offensive line is not likely to be as good this season. Last year’s line was the most experienced in the nation (131 career starts) and 3 of those starters are gone, which makes the line much less experienced. Rosen will be better but the pieces around him won’t be and I rate the Bruins’ attack at the same level as last season.

My math model would have favored Texas A&M by 3 points using last year’s stats and I think the Aggies have improved more than UCLA has. In fact, my ratings favor Texas A&M by 7 points in this game with a total of 59 ½ points. I lean with A&M and the Over.

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • UCLA
  • Texas A&M


  • Run Plays 33.2 35.6
  • Run Yards 119.8 170.6
  • YPRP 4.1 5.1


  • Pass Comp 22.8 17.2
  • Pass Att 37.8 35.2
  • Comp % 60.3% 48.9%
  • Pass Yards 305.6 186.4
  • Sacks 2.0 1.8
  • Sack Yards 15.2 11.4
  • Sack % 5.0% 4.9%
  • Pass Plays 39.8 37.0
  • Net Pass Yards 290.4 175.0
  • YPPP 7.3 4.7


  • Total Plays 73.0 72.6
  • Total Yards 425.4 357.0
  • YPPL 5.8 4.9


  • Int 0.8 1.0
  • Int % 2.1% 2.8%
  • Fumbles 0.4 0.4
  • Turnovers 1.2 1.4
  • Points 28.2 22.4
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