Texas A&M Football: 5 Keys to the Game Versus Louisiana Tech
The No. 21 Texas A&M Football team will take on the No. 23 Louisiana Tech Bulldogs on Saturday in Shreveport. It will be the first time the Aggies will enter a game this season while ranked in the top 25.
Louisiana Tech is only the second ranked team the Aggies have faced after playing Florida in their season opener. The game against the Bulldogs was originally scheduled before the Florida game, but was postponed due to concerns about Hurricane Isaac.
This game will match up two of the most explosive offenses in college football. The Bulldogs are ranked No. 11 in the nation in total offense, while the Aggies are right behind them at No. 12.
This game may simply come down to who has the ball last. This is a look at five keys to the game for the Aggies against the Bulldogs.
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The Aggies cannot afford to lose the turnovers battle against Louisiana Tech. Through the first four games of the season, the Ags had done a tremendous job protecting the ball with only one turnover. Against Ole Miss, the Aggies proceeded to turn the ball over six times.
If they turn the ball over six times against Louisiana Tech, they will lose the game in a blowout. Freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel must do a better job of protecting the football.
If the Ags win the turnovers margin on Saturday, then they should win the game.
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The Aggies need to be sure tacklers on defense against Louisiana Tech's spread offense. When they played Ole Miss, the A&M defense missed a lot of tackles and had multiple coverage busts.
Louisiana Tech has the athletes to take advantage of those mistakes and put a lot of points on the board. The Ags need to make solid fundamental tackles in space in order to contain the Bulldogs explosive attack.
If the Ags defense displays good tackling technique, specifically in the secondary, the Aggies should win the game going away.
Pressure the Louisiana Tech Quarterback
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Colby Cameron is the triggerman in the Bulldogs offense. The senior quarterback is averaging 291 yards passing per game. The Aggies must get consistent pressure on him in order to disrupt the timing of the Bulldogs' spread offense.
Cameron is not particularly mobile, averaging only two yards per carry. If the Ags can force him to speed up his decision-making, they may be able to force him into turnovers. Cameron has not thrown an interception yet in 2012, and any mistakes he makes will be magnified by the Bulldogs' poor defense.
QB Johnny Manziel Must Run the Offense
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Freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel regressed against Ole Miss. When he played Arkansas the week before, Manziel was exceptional at going through his reads and delivering the ball in the second and third quarter.
Against Ole Miss, Manziel inexplicably held onto the ball and refused to simply execute the plays that were there. It is a learning process for Manziel. Luckily, the Ags were able to win while Manziel had a poor game.
Against Tech, the Ags should have plenty of opportunities to get the ball to their playmakers in space. The Tech defense is allowing over 530 yards per game and is one of the worst in the nation. The A&M offense will need Manziel to spread the ball around in order to take advantage of the Bulldogs' deficiencies on defense.
De'Vane Harris Must Play Well
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Freshman cornerback De'Vante Harris was frustrated by the physical play of Ole Miss wide receiver Donte Moncrief, in addition to the officials' unwillingness to enforce the rules, and was pulled from the game in the first quarter.
With Deshazor Everett's status still unknown for the game and backup safety Howard Matthews serving a suspension, the Ags are going to need Harris to step up and have a big game against the Bulldogs.
The Ags' depth is already questionable heading into the game. They cannot afford to have Harris hang his head after giving up a completion or two against a team that is going to make some plays on offense.
Harris needs to have the best game of his career to this point if the Aggies want to contain the Louisiana Tech passing game.