Peeps, we've got another HUGE game this week. State travels to College Station to battle our SEC twin, the Texas A&M Aggies. If State can walk away from College Station in the win, the season really sets up nicely. But a State loss would put us firmly behind the 8 ball. Here's what I think needs to happen for State to get another big road win:
1. Control the Clock: State has to find a way to control the clock tomorrow. I don't care if we do it running or passing, but we have got to have some long, clock eating drives on Saturday. In our 3 game against FBS opponents, State's D has been on the field 35+ minutes every game. That absolutely cannot happen Saturday for State to win. aTm's offense is too good to ask the D to be on the field that much against them. The best defense we can have is to shorten the game by maintaining possession offensively and keeping aTm's offense on the sideline. If the D is on the field for 35+ tomorrow night, State loses - probably by 2 TDs or more.
2. Tackle: The Dawgs D has to have their best game tackling this week. aTm has some really explosive players, so wrapping up and limiting their YAC is going to be crucial. We can't try to knock a guy down with the shoulder and turn an 8 yard gain into an 18 yard gain or 40 yard gain. Because when you miss tackles, the Aggies' skill guys are good enough to do that. We've got to wrap up and be really sound fundamentally. Force aTm to drive the field and limit the big plays.
3. Pressure & Turnovers: aTm has struggled protecting QB Kyle Allen at times during the season. State needs to exploit this and get some heat on Allen. Force him to move and make throws under duress. A couple of sacks in crucial situations would be nice. We can't just let him stand back there with all day to decide which of his ridiculous WRs he wants to throw it to. State also needs to force at least one, preferably more, turnovers tomorrow night. Any time we can steal a possession from aTm and get our offense on the field, that's a positive. By the same token, our OL needs to continue doing its sterling work protecting Dak and we can't give aTm extra possessions with turnovers.
WMD's Thoughts: State has some momentum after beating Auburn on the road Saturday, but aTm is coming off a huge OT win against Arkansas. I expect this game to be a shootout. I'm not confident either defense can slow down the opposing offense. But Stat's going to have to start finishing drives on Saturday. The 18 points a game in SEC play won't be nearly enough to win. We can't go conservative and hope to win. The gas pedal has to stay firmly on the floor tomorrow night. It would be a great night for someone like Malik Dear to go off and have a big game. Bottom line, we're probably going to have to "outscore" aTm to win this one, and that's never an easy proposition.
That's how I see it. It should be a fun game to watch if you like offense.
In Mullen We Trust,