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It’s a historic day in College Station as Texas A&M makes not only its season debut and the Aggies head coaching debut of Kevin Sumlin, but it’s also A&M’s first ever game as a member of the SEC as they host Florida. The Aggies are 2-point favorites on WagerWeb.com.
This wasn’t supposed to be the season debut for A&M but its game last week with Louisiana Tech was moved to later in the season due to Hurricane Isaac. Texas A&M is coming off a 7-6 campaign in 2011 which included a victory over Big Ten opponent Northwestern in the Meinecke Car Care Bowl of Texas. But that wasn’t good enough for former coach Mike Sherman to keep his job.
Sumlin, a former A&M assistant under R.C. Slocum in 2001-02, was hired as the Aggies’ head coach in December after a highly successful four-year stint at the University of Houston. He compiled a 35-17 record at the helm of the Cougars and led the program to a school record 13 wins in 2011. In his time as an assistant at A&M, Sumlin coached the wide receivers and took over the offensive play-calling in 2002.
Redshirt freshman Johnny Manziel won the Aggies’ starting quarterback job in August camp and is set to become the first freshman QB to start an A&M season-opener since 1944. The Aggies have not had a freshman QB starter in the season-opener since freshmen became eligible in 1972, but used freshman signal-callers during World War II.
Aggies senior WR Ryan Swope enters 2012 in range of most of the career receiving standard in the Aggies’ record book. For his career, Swope has 180 catches for 2,204 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Florida didn’t look great in its opener, a 27-14 win over Bowling Green. Jacoby Brissett started the game but shared time under center with Jeff Driskel and coach Will Muschamp announced this week that Driskel would be the starter going forward. He was 10 of 16 passing for 114 yards and one touchdown vs. the Falcons. Brissett was the No. 2 quarterback last season behind John Brantley, after Driskel started the season as the backup.
One bright spot in the opener for UF was that senior RB Mike Gillislee ran for a career-high 148 yards and two touchdowns. A senior who spent the last three years playing behind Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey, Gillislee scored on runs of 15 and 38 yards in the second quarter. Bowling Green could have taken the lead in the second half, but fifth-year senior Stephen Stein missed field-goal attempts of 31 and 29 yards.
Gators are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games following a ATS loss. Gators are 1-9 ATS in their last 10 games overall. Gators are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 conference games. Aggies are 1-7 ATS vs. a team with a winning record in past 8 games.