Texas A&M football: 5 ways Aggies can stun LSU
Texas A&M faces its 3rd No. 1 opponent of the season when it travels to Baton Rouge to take on the top-ranked Tigers on Saturday night in Tiger Stadium. It’s another in a string of monumental challenges over the course of the 2019 schedule that the Aggies have had to take on.
So far, they haven’t had much luck in those games. The Aggies lost 24-10 to Clemson and 47-28 to Alabama. LSU will pose the 5th top 10 team that the Aggies have faced this season. They are 0-4 so far with one last chance to make a statement.
But in order for Texas A&M to pull off an upset of this magnitude, these 5 things must happen.
1. Joe Burrow is only human?
Isn’t he? I mean at some point in the season Burrow has to stumble. He hasn’t so far in the first 11 games. So, to prove he’s only human, Burrow would have to stumble on Saturday. That means some inaccurate throws, bad reads, and a hint of doubt in by him mentally in his play. Burrow has only thrown 6 interceptions, but he threw 1 in a couple of the Tigers’ closest games: 1-score wins over Texas and Auburn.
That’s really the only way any team is going to beat Burrow; Burrow has to beat himself. It hasn’t happened so far. Is he due for a letdown Saturday?
2. Aggies can stop the run
The Aggies have been pretty good against the run this season. Nothing like last year’s incredible success, but very good still the same. The Aggies have held their past 3 opponents to under 100 yards rushing. Last week, they became the first defense to hold Georgia to fewer than 100 yards. And while all eyes are on Burrow, Tigers RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire has pounded the final nail in opposing team’s coffins with hard-nosed running and deceptive speed.
Slowing down Edwards-Helaire and taking away the run game would go a long way in making the Tigers one-dimensional, and then see what happens from there.
3. Aggies convert on those long possessions
Texas A&M leads the SEC in time of possession, averaging nearly 34 minutes per game. And while the best way to slow down a high-powered offense like LSU is to keep it off the field, the Aggies must not only maintain that edge in TOP but also score afterward. While controlling the football will be a key, it’s scoring points off those drives that will determine whether the Aggies can hang with LSU on Saturday.
The Tigers don’t need much time to do their damage. Last Saturday, against Arkansas, LSU possessed the ball for less than 20 minutes but still scored 8 touchdowns. So the Aggies must finish those long drives with touchdowns if they hope to keep up with the Tigers on Saturday.
4. Mann flips the field
We keep talking about All-America punter Braden Mann and his ability to flip the field, but it’s true that he can be a valuable weapon against a steamroller of an offense like LSU’s. While Mann hasn’t had quite the distance he had last season on his punts, he still poses a threat in making the Tigers travel the length of the field to score. So far that hasn’t been much of problem for Burrow and Co. but forcing that upon them at least increases the chances for error.
5. Tigers distracted
It’s Senior Day for LSU and that can sometimes lead to emotions running high as the Tigers seniors take the field one final time. It’s been known to be a distraction from the actual game itself and has in the past thrown off more than one player from his usual game. Thinking ahead to the SEC Championship Game, where LSU will meet Georgia the following Saturday, could also present a challenge for the Tigers to stay focused on the task at hand.