On Saturday, December 2, 2017, the 4-7 South Alabama Jaguars take on the 5-6 New Mexico State Aggies. New Mexico State enters this game as winners of two of their last three and three of their last five contests, including a seven-point victory over Idaho last weekend. South Alabama has lost three of their last four games, including being absolutely crushed by Georgia Southern last weekend 52-0.
South Alabama is 5-11-1 against the spread over their last 17 games, and are 2-7-1 against the spread in their last 10 road games. The Jaguars have won only four of their last 12 games and have gone under in six of the last eight contests.
The Aggies are 8-4 against the spread in their last 12 games, but just 2-4 in their last six games against the spread. New Mexico State has won only eight of their last 25 games and they have gone over in five of the last seven.
Moneyline: South Alabama +315; New Mexico State -380
Totals: Over/Under54.0 (-110)
SOUTH ALABAMA JAGUARS
South Alabama is the team that is struggling to put together a consistent offensive game plan each week, averaging 20.1 points per game. They have only scored 51 points over there last four contests, including being shut out last week verse Georgia Southern.
This is a passing team, which uses two different quarterbacks to lead them on the field, Cole Garvin and Dallas Davis. Garvin has thrown for 1222 yards while Davis has thrown for 1292. The two have combined for 14 touchdowns, but the biggest concern is that each has thrown six interceptions this season and neither has completed better than 58% of their passes. They will make mistakes, force the ball when pressured, and that could be a bad combination against New Mexico State.
There is not much of a running game for the Jaguars, as Xavier Johnson leads the team with 445 yards rushing and six touchdowns. It is disappointing that they don’t give the running back more of an opportunity, as he is averaging 5.4 yards per carry. He is averaging just 10 carries per ballgame, which may be a result of them being down early and needing to scrap their game plan.
On defense, what works well for South Alabama is that they are able to strip the ball away. This team has 12 fumble recoveries and seven interceptions this season. Jeremy Reaves is the leading tackler on the team with 97, plus he has 1.5 sacks, three interceptions, and two fumble recoveries. This young man is quite a talent and will need to have a big game if the Jaguars are going to pull off the upset.
NEW MEXICO STATE AGGIES
New Mexico state can get points on the board, averaging better than 30 a game. However, they are also giving up nearly 32 points a contest, which is not a good combination. However, they should easily be able to play well enough against a Jaguars offense that will give the ball away.
Despite giving up a lot of points per contest, the Aggies know how to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks. They have 35 sacks this season, led by Charles Wilcots who has 7.5. Six different players on this team have at least 2.0. Ron LaForce and Jaden Wright each have three interceptions this season. Dalton Herrington leads the team in tackles with 116, and always seems to be in on the play. He also has 5.5 sacks.
The Aggies will also pass the ball, as Tyler Rogers is one of the better quarterbacks in the country in terms of numbers. Rogers has thrown for 3374 yards and 24 touchdowns. He has completed a solid 61.9 percent of his passes this season, but has also thrown 15 interceptions in 451 attempts. He’ll make mistakes, and forced the ball into places that it doesn’t belong because of how strong his arm is.
The leading rusher is Larry Rose III, who has 755 yards rushing and nine touchdowns. Rose is averaging 4.7 yards per carry.
Jaguars vs. Aggies Betting Lines
New Mexico State should absolutely dominate this game. While both teams can move the ball, it is the Aggies defense that is far superior to that of South Alabama. The only thing standing in the way of a decisive victory for the Aggies will be the play of Rogers. He simply cannot throw interceptions if this team is going to dominate. Take the Aggies to cover the spread and expect this game to go over 54.