Texas A&M football: 5 advantages the Aggies have over LSU
After spending the past 2 weeks watching from home, Texas A&M will look to get back on the field this week against LSU.
If you said at the beginning of the season that this matchup would feature only 1 contender, many would have assumed it would be the Tigers. However, it was the Aggies who opened as 14.5-point favorites.
They are sitting at No. 5 in the country with a 5-1 record, compared to 3-3 for defending national champ LSU. It seems everyone expects A&M to pull this one out, and I wouldn’t bet against that. Here are 5 advantages the Aggies have over the Tigers.
1. Quarterback play
Kellen Mond continues to rewrite Texas A&M record books this season.
The senior has already become the Aggies’ all-time leader in total offense and touchdown passes. He has 1,468 yards and 16 touchdowns through 6 games. His progress is one of several reasons the Aggies are being talked about as a College Football Playoff contender.
On the other side, LSU is dealing with a quarterback that has played in only 3 games.
True freshman TJ Finley has been the Tigers’ starter since Myles Brennan suffered an abdominal injury that ended his season. He had his best game this past week against Arkansas, throwing for 271 yards and 2 touchdowns in the 27-24 victory.
Finley is still figuring things out at this level, though. The game before that, he threw 2 interceptions against Auburn in a 48-11 loss. The Aggies have the overwhelming edge with Mond here.
Believe it or not, Texas A&M allows the fewest yards per game in the SEC.
The Aggies were heating up before COVID-19 forced them to halt play. They had 12 sacks in their past 4 games and did not surrender a touchdown in their last game against South Carolina.
The only conference team that LSU allows fewer yards per game than is Ole Miss.
The Tigers have given up 40 or more points on 3 occasions. They gave up a 400-yard game to Missouri quarterback Connor Bazelak. And remember the Mississippi State game to start the year? Mond could be next in line for a huge outing.
The Aggies again have the clear advantage.
3. Offensive line
It’s not that LSU’s offensive line has played particularly poorly. It’s that A&M’s has played exceptionally well.
The Aggies are 3rd in the country in sack rate, having allowed only 1 all season. They also have a power success rate (percentage of 3rd or 4th downs with 2 yards or less to go converted) of 87.5 percent.
LSU is solid, with a power success rate of 71.4 percent and the nation’s 66th-best sack rate.
But much like opposing pass rushers, they don’t come close to touching the Aggies.
4. Extra rest
There is a lot of wear and tear that goes on over the course of a college football season.
There are nagging injuries and bruises that can make the week-to-week grind exhausting. Of course, A&M would have preferred it if it hadn’t had to postpone 2 games, but there is a positive.
LSU also postponed a game against Alabama because of COVID-19 issues.
The Aggies had extra time to recover and come back fresh. They will presumably resume practice this week, so they should have plenty of time to shake off any rust and prepare for the Tigers. Expect them to be eager to play.
5. Ainias Smith
There’s no one on the Tigers’ roster quite like Smith.
Listed at running back, he lines up both in the backfield and as a receiver for the Aggies. He leads the team in receiving, though his 312 yards are only 1 more than both Chase Lane and Jalen Wydermyer.
He is also A&M’s punt returner.
Smith’s speed makes him a big-play threat defenses have to keep an eye on. He’s just another element that makes the Aggies offense so dangerous. Having him is definitely an advantage for A&M.