A preview of the Aggies matchup this week vs. previously ranked Ole Miss (broken into multiple pieces for the ADD in all of us).
A Quick Look
- Texas A&M comes into this one after a much needed bye week. After not getting a bye week last season, they fortunately received one this year in the heart of their conference schedule. The Aggies should be feeling well rested in order to take on a pesky, but reeling Ole Miss squad.
Battle to Watch
- OT Jake Matthews vs. DE Robert Nkemdiche: Both defenses have been struggling, but the freshman Nkemdiche is arguably the best athlete on the field at any given time. If the Rebels want a shot at beating the Aggies, Nkemdiche will need to wreak havoc against the run and pressure Manziel into an ill-advised pass or two. I haven’t watched much of Matthews this year, but when I have it seems like he has been getting pushed into the lap of Manziel more often than his predecessor (Luke Joeckel) did. Matthews has the experience and will need to anchor down more strongly when taking on the freakish, 290 lb. frosh.
Close Eye on
- The Texas A&M secondary vs. Ole Miss O-Line: No that’s not a typo; the two will go hand in hand this weekend. The Ole Miss O-Line has struggled mightily the last few weeks, highlighted by the 6 sacks they gave up in their loss to Auburn. On the other side, the A&M secondary really seems to be missing Tim Deruyter and the stellar pass rush that graduated. The defense is ranked #117 in sacks, #109 in rush defense and #94 in tackles for a loss. If Ole Miss QB Bo Wallace takes advantage of a few extra ticks of clean looks in the pocket, the A&M secondary will be called upon to stick with the receivers even longer.
- A&M’s defense will need to generate pressure to keep this one from going down to the wire. While A&M is still the solid favorite, they have only produced a measly 4 sacks in 5 games. To put that in perspective the Aggies had 8 in week 1 last year. Sacks be damned, A&M should win, but sprinkle in a few extra and the game could be in hand by the 2nd quarter.
- Despite the Rebel defense allowing only one pass of more than 25 yards in the past four games, look for the big bodied Evans to pull in at least one of these on his way to an 9 catch 120 yard day (with a touchdown of course).
Offensive Outlook - Fireworks!
- A&M will look to take advantage of a porous Ole Miss run defense that is allowing almost 200 yards per game. On the other hand, the pass defense has been quite solid, allowing about the same amount. Expect to see a lot of runs, followed by some play action bootlegs that will offer Manziel the chance to run or throw (and do Johnny things).
- Texas A&M (-6) @ Ole Miss (Vaught- Hemingway Stadium) - 7:30 CST (College Station Time). A&M is 5-0 all-time vs. Ole Miss.
Head Coach Kevin Sumlin
- (On Johnny Manziel) “He’s matured when he takes off. He's probably slid more in the last two weeks than he's slid in his life. He’s going through his reads. It's a comfort level for both sides. He’s more comfortable being in his second year back there. He has freedom within the offense to check plays rather than him being stuck and having to take off and run with it. He has the ability now to look at some things and change the play to something that has a high probability of not being a negative play. It has nothing to do with telling him not to run as much. It has to do with his overall growth and development as a quarterback.”
- Defensive Tackle Kirby Ennis went down in the first half against Arkansas, but tried to play again after half time. He left almost immediately and it doesn’t look like the Bye week helped at all. He is done for the year, yet another a tough loss for the Aggies upfront.
- Just be Johnny. This section is almost as easy as the next one. As long as Manziel stays healthy, continues his passing game progression and doesn’t turn the ball over 2+ times, he will cause more than enough headaches for all aspects of the Rebels D.
- Bertolet/Lambo should be locked in a closet with nothing resembling a football and only allowed to kick extra points (and even those are a crap shoot). This will be my take on the kicking game until further notice.
- Texas A&M: Bye week
- Ole Miss: 30-22 Loss @ Auburn
- Ole Miss sticks around through halftime down only 24-13, but A&M makes the necessary second half adjustments and wins this one handedly 45-27.