Texas A&M Football: 5 Keys to the Game vs. Ole Miss
The Texas A&M Football team will play the Ole Miss Rebels on Saturday in Oxford, MS. With both teams running a spread passing offense, this should be a high scoring contest and there are specific steps the Aggies will have to take to win the game.
Both teams need this win in order to qualify for a bowl game. The Ags are 3-1 overall and 1-1 in the Southeastern Conference. The are coming off a 58-10 win over Arkansas.
Ole Miss is 3-2 overall and 0-1 in conference. The Rebels dropped a 33-14 contest to Alabama.
This is a look at five keys to the game for the Aggies to beat Ole Miss.
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It is cliche, but the key to winning the game against Ole Miss will be winning the turnover battle. The Aggies have only committed one turnover through four games and that was with the backups in the game.
That means that A&M has been good at protecting the football but also that they are due. Johnny Manziel takes chances with the ball sometimes and eventually his luck is going to run out. He needs to protect the ball against the Rebels.
Ole Miss QB Bo Wallace will put the ball up for grabs at times, especially if he is pressured. The Ags will need to put pressure on him and force him into mistakes.
Solid, Fundamental Tackling
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The key to stopping a spread passing game is to have good one-on-one tackling. If the Aggies can tackle in space on Saturday, then they will be able to get their defense off the field.
The A&M defense struggled to tackle against Arkansas. Too many arm tackles allowed the Razorbacks to extend drives and keep the Aggie offense off the field.The Ags must tackle well on defense and get the Rebels off schedule on offense.
Get Up Early
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Ole Miss is not like Arkansas in that the players are not looking for a reason to give up. However, the Rebels have not won a conference game since 2010 so there is doubt in the players' minds.
If the Aggies are able to get up by two scores early, then the Ole Miss players will start to believe that it is the same song, different verse. With their spread offense, Ole Miss is going to continue to throw the ball late in the game so they are going to continue to be a threat to score.
Even their head coach Hugh Freeze is not confident they will win games. The Aggies need to score early to take the fans out of the game, and remove the thoughts of winning from the players' minds.
Control Donte Moncrief
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Ole Miss' 6'3", 216-pound wide receiver Donte Moncrief is a future All-American. For the season the sophomore from Raliegh, MS has caught 21 passes for 380 yards and four touchdowns.
The Aggies must do a good job of covering Moncrief if they want to win this game. Expect to see Deshazor Everett to line up at corner opposite Moncrief.
Moncrief only had two receptions for 37 yards against Alabama. He only had one catch for 23 yards against Tulane.
Bo Wallace injured his shoulder in the Tulane game. The Rebels have only passed for 146 yards against Tulane and 138 yards against Alabama. If Wallace's shoulder is still tender, expect Ole Miss to try to control the clock and the game with their running game.
Stuff the Run
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With Wallace questionable, the Ags are going to need to stuff the run. Arkansas pushed the A&M defensive line around early. The Ags cannot afford to get behind in the first quarter and get the Ole Miss crowd in the game.
If the Aggies defensive line can hold up at the point of attack, the Ags have enough speed at linebacker to run down the Rebel playmakers. If A&M stuffs the run and forces Ole Miss to pass with an injured quarterback, they could shut the Ole Miss offense down.
The A&M offense should be able to score points on the Rebel defense, so if they can stop the Ole Miss running game, they should be able to get a win on the road.