AUBURN | Johnny Manziel, the Texas A&M quarterback, is a menace who won't be mitigated easily Saturday afternoon.
His team's defense is another matter.
The Aggies are ranked last among Southeastern Conference teams in yards allowed per game (474), next-to-last in points allowed (32) and are tied for last in explosive run plays conceded. For a team like Auburn, which will head for College Station with one of the nation's most effective rushing attacks in tow, those statistical markers bring hope that Texas A&M is far from unbeatable.
"It leaves the opportunity on the table for us to take," tailback Tre Mason said. "We need to take advantage of those opportunities and get points and put points up because we know they're going to put up points. We need to get to it."
The Aggies' defensive situation could be even more tenuous this weekend. Cornerback Deshazor Everett, his team's most high-profile defender, was knocked out of Texas A&M's win at Ole Miss and his availability for this weekend's game remains unclear.
Still, Gus Malzahn isn't thinking about that.
Auburn's coach said the Aggies' offense, which often scores quickly, places extra strain on the defense. Games last longer. Defenders rarely get much rest between drives.
He knows about those problems first hand: Auburn's 2010 defense felt the burn from Cam Newton's ability to change games in an instant.
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