Knowing the Enemy
Record 8-3 overall, 4-3 SEC
Texas A&M and LSU meet Saturday night in what has been a strange season for both teams. The Aggies and Purple and Gold were expected to compete for the SEC West and overall SEC titles this year. Saturday night will be a fight for both teams to salvage some pride for the 2015 season, a grudge match.
The Aggie offense has had three quarterbacks this season, whether due to injury, lack of performance, or both. This Saturday, sophomore Kyle Allen will get the start. He threw for over 300 yards against Vanderbilt last Saturday. Allen recently stated he has been injured since the Alabama game. He is a capable quarterback who has capable receivers.
Freshman Christian Kirk is the leading receiver for the Aggies this year. Kirk has 871 yards in receptions with 67 catches. He averages 13 yards per grab and has six touchdowns. Junior Josh Reynolds is second on the team in receiving with 659 yards, but he averages over 18 yards per catch. Ricky Seals-Jones has 526 yards in receptions, and he averages 13.1 yards per reception. Sophomore Damion Ratley and junior Jeremy Tabuyo are good receivers. The most talented receiver of this bunch might be New Orleans sophomore Speedy Noil, but he has been fighting injuries this year.
The Aggies have something they did not have at the beginning of the season, a running game. Senior Tra Carson has had four straight games of rushing for at least 100 yards. Carson is also a good receiver. He is the sixth leading receiver on the team averaging 6.4 yards per grab.
The right side of the Aggie offensive line is strong with junior right tackle Germain Ifedi, who probably will go pro at season’s end, and senior right guard Joseph Cheek. Senior center Mike Matthews has been a starter for three seasons, and is the latest in the line of Matthews offensive linemen to play at A&M.
The Aggies are the worst team in the league at stopping the run. They give up over 200 yards per contest on the ground. They have not stopped a good rushing team all year, mainly because there are no consistent performers on the Aggie defensive line.
They have a good defensive end, one of the best in the nation. Sophomore Myles Garrett is tied for fifth in the country with 10 solo sacks. Garrett also has the capability to play inside on occasions. He is good at forcing turnovers. Sophomore safety Armani Watts is second in the SEC in tackles with 105, and 69 solos.
One thing to note, is former LSU and now Texas A&M defensive coordinator John Chavis knows the offensive scheme of the Purple and Gold. The Aggies may not be good on defense, but neither were Arkansas or Ole Miss.
This game has more subplots than a John Grisham novel. It will be interesting to watch.
Will this be Les Miles’ last game in Tiger Stadium as the head football coach at LSU?
What will the reaction be on the return of Chavis as an opposing coach?
Will the Tigers snap their three game losing streak?
Will the Purple and Gold be able to run a decent play after a timeout?
Stay tuned, same cat time, same cat channel.