LSU vs. Texas A&M: Complete Game Preview

Michael TaglientiFeatured ColumnistOctober 16, 2012

LSU vs. Texas A&M: Complete Game Preview

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    The No. 18 Texas A&M Football team will take on the No. 6 LSU Tigers at Kyle Field on Saturday. The game will be the first against a top 10 team for Kevin Sumlin since he took over as head coach at A&M.

    The Aggies are riding a five-game win streak into the game and have a lot of momentum. The Tigers have struggled with injuries and inconsistency on offense during the first half of the season. They need this win to help reassert their status as an elite team in the Southeastern Conference.

    This is a preview of the two teams that will square off in College Station on Saturday.

Game Day Information

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    Who: Texas A&M Aggies vs. Louisiana State Tigers

    When: 11 a.m. CDT

    Stadium: Kyle Field

    TV: ESPN

    Radio: WTAW 1620, Sirius 139, XM 201

    Rankings: Texas A&M No. 18 BCS, LSU No. 6 BCS

    Records: Texas A&M 5-1, 2-1, LSU 6-1, 2-1

Texas A&M Depth Chart

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    Offense

    QB: Johnny Manziel

    Backup: Matt Joeckel

     

    WR: Mike Evans

    Backup: Derel Walker

     

    LT: Luke Joeckel

    Backup: Germain Ifedi

     

    LG: Jarvis Harrison

    Backup: Germain Ifedi

     

    C: Patrick Lewis

    Backup: Mike Matthews

     

    RG: Cedric Ogbuehi

    Backup: Ben Compton

     

    RT: Jake Matthews

    Backup: Joseph Cheek

     

    TE: Michael Lamothe

    Backup: Nehemiah Hicks

     

    WR: Uzoma Nwachukwu

    Backup: Sabian Holmes

     

    WR: Ryan Swope

    Backup: Malcome Kennedy

     

    WR: Kenric McNeal

    Backup: Thomas Johnson

     

    TB: Ben Malena

    Backup: Christine Michael

     

    Defense

    DE: Gavin Stansbury

    Backup: Julien Obioha

     

    NG: Kirby Ennis

    Backup: Jonathan Mathis

     

    DT: Spencer Nealy

    Backup: Ivan Robinson

     

    Rush: Damontre Moore

    Backup: Tyrone Taylor

     

    WLB: Steven Jenkins

    Backup: Donnie Baggs

     

    MLB: Jonathan Stewart

    Backup: Justin Bass

     

    SLB: Sean Porter

    Backup: Michael Richardson

     

    CB: Deshazor Everett

    Backup: Dustin Harris

     

    CB: De'Vante Harris

    Backup: Floyd Raven

     

    BS: Deshazor Everett

    Backup: Steve Campbell

     

    FS: Steven Terrell

    Backup: Toney Hurd, Jr.

LSU Depth Chart

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    Offense

    WR

    82 James Wright 6'2", 203, Jr.

    86 Kadron Boone 6'0", 207, Jr.

     

    LT

    68 Josh Dworaczyk 6'6", 300, Sr.

    73 Chris Davenport 6'4", 330, Jr.

     

    LG

    70 La’el Collins 6'5", 321, So.

    68 Josh Dworaczyk 6'6", 300, Sr.

     

    C

    64 P.J. Lonergan 6'4", 305, Sr.

    55 Elliott Porter 6'4", 300, So.

     

    RG

    56 Trai Turner 6'3", 306, RFr.

    74 Josh Williford 6'7", 334, Jr.

     

    RT

    78 Vadal Alexander 6'6", 350, Fr.

    72 Alex Hurst 6'6", 331, Jr.

     

    TE

    88 Chase Clement 6'5", 265, Sr.

    84 Nic Jacobs 6'5", 265, So.

     

    WR

    3 Odell Beckham, Jr. 6'0", 187, So.

    10 Russell Shepard 6'1", 195, Sr.

     

    WR

    80 Jarvis Landry 6'0", 195, So.

     

    QB

    8 Zach Mettenberger 6'5", 230, Jr.

    17 Stephen Rivers 6'8", 225, RFr.

     

    RB

    4 Alfred Blue 6'2", 220, Jr.

    27 Kenny Hilliard 6'0", 231, So.

    (or) 11 Spencer Ware 5'11", 225, Jr.

     

    FB

    44 J.C. Copeland 6'1", 272, Jr.

    43 Connor Neighbors 5'11", 236, So.

     

    Defense

    LE

    49 Barkevious Mingo 6'5", 240, Jr.

    59 Jermauria Rasco 6'3", 255, So.

     

    LT

    77 Josh Downs 6'1", 287, So.

    9 Ego Ferguson 6'3", 308, So.

     

    RT

    18 Bennie Logan 6'3", 295, Jr.

    90 Anthony Johnson 6'3", 304, So.

     

    RE

    99 Sam Montgomery 6'5", 260, Jr.

    89 Lavar Edwards 6'5", 258, Sr.

     

    SLB

    52 Luke Muncie 6'3", 210, Jr.

    58 Tahj Jones 6'2", 205, Jr.

     

    MLB

    46 Kevin Minter 6'2", 246, Jr.

    22 Ronnie Feist 6'2", 230, Fr.

     

    WLB

    57 Lamin Barrow 6'2", 229, Jr.

    45 Deion Jones 6'2", 202, Fr.

     

    LCB

    28 Jalen Mills 6'0", 185, Fr.

    32 Jalen Collins 6'2", 195, RFr.

     

    SS

    6 Craig Loston 6'2", 205, Jr.

    34 Micah Eugene 5'11", 190, RFr.

     

    FS

    1 Eric Reid 6'2", 212, Jr.

    26 Ronald Martin 6'1", 202, So.

     

    RCB

    24 Tharold Simon 6'3", 187, Jr.

    13 Dwayne Thomas 6'0", 175, Fr.

What Happened to the Aggies Last Week?

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    The Aggies beat No. 22 Louisiana Tech 59-57 in a shootout at the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana. It was the fifth straight win for the Aggies after opening the season with a 20-17 loss to Florida.

    Red-shirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel broke his own SEC record with 576 total yards in the game. He set another SEC record by becoming the first freshman in the conference's history to have two games with 500 total yards in a season.

    Manziel has accomplished that feat in his first six games. Manziel passed for 395 yards and three touchdowns to go along with 181 yards rushing and three touchdowns.

    The Aggies defense decided to stop tackling after halftime and allowed Louisiana Tech to make it a game. The Ags will need to tackle much better against LSU if they want to stay in the game.

What Happened to the Tigers Last Week?

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    LSU beat then-No. 3 South Carolina in Baton Rouge, 23-21. It was a huge win for an LSU program that has struggled with injuries in 2012. The Tigers lost their previous game to Florida, and many pundits were predicting a loss to the Gamecocks.

    LSU rode freshman running back Jeremy Hill to victory against the Gamecocks. Hill rushed for 124 yards on 17 carries with two touchdowns for the Tigers. LSU's offensive line has been ravaged by injuries in 2012. True freshman Vadal Alexander started at right tackle for LSU against South Carolina and had a very solid game.

    Safeties Eric Reid and Craig Loston each had interceptions for LSU. The Tigers sacked Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw four times.

What a Win This Week Would Mean for the Aggies and Tigers

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    A win for A&M over LSU would be a signature win for Kevin Sumlin at A&M. It would send shockwaves across the nation. The general consensus when A&M announced they were joining the SEC was that they would not be able to compete in their first few years.

    A win over LSU would prove that the Aggies can be competitive with the elite programs in the SEC right now. It would mean that a lot of national pundits would have to eat crow.

    For LSU, a win would just reinforce that it is still an elite SEC program. Right now, A&M has proved they are a middle-of-the-pack SEC team. A win by LSU would just be another solid win on its resume as it tries to make a case for a BCS bowl game.

    It would also mean that it is still in the running for SEC West title and the SEC title game.

Key Player for the Aggies

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    Senior wide receiver Uzoma Nwachukwu had two touchdown receptions for A&M the last time the Aggies faced the Tigers in the 2011 Cotton Bowl.

    The Aggies are going to need a similar effort from their senior receiver on Saturday. Nwachukwu He has four touchdown receptions on the season, but struggled to catch the ball against Louisiana Tech.

    The Tigers are going to apply a lot of pressure to the Aggie offense. The Ags are going to need Nwachukwu to make plays on the 50/50 balls in the air against LSU's talented secondary.

Key Player for the Tigers

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    Sophomore wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. is the most explosive playmaker on the Tigers squad. He is has great speed and is a threat in the passing and the return game.

    After its struggles against Louisiana Tech, the Aggie secondary will need to clamp down on Beckham. The Tigers defense is once again one of the best in the nation. The Aggies cannot allow Beckham to make big plays and give the Tigers a two-score lead.

    Beckham leads the Tigers with 22 receptions on the season and averages 17.5 yards per catch. The Aggies need to keep him bottled up if they are to have any shot in this game.

    Beckham needs to be active in order to take pressure off the Tigers running game. If the LSU passing game struggles, then the Aggies will be able to concentrate on shutting down the run, which they have been effective at doing in 2012.

Aggies Will Win If.....

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    The Aggies will win the game if they limit turnovers and win the battle at the line of scrimmage. The last time the Aggies played LSU in the 2011 Cotton Bowl, the Tigers were able to physically dominate the Aggie defense.

    LSU pushed the Aggie defensive line all over the field. Damontre Moore was a true freshman outside linebacker in the game, and he was not physically able to match up with the LSU offensive tackles.

    If the Aggies are able to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, then they will win the game. The Aggie defensive line has to prevent the LSU offense from controlling the lock by going on long, sustained drives running the football.

    LSU is not going to score a lot of points unless the Ags turn the ball over. If it limits turnovers and controls the line of scrimmage, it will win.

LSU Will Win If....

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    It plays a typical LSU football game. Right now, A&M does not have the horses to stand up on the lines against LSU. Even with the Tigers' injury-ravaged OL, the Tigers will still likely have success grinding out drives against A&M.

    The LSU defense will force some negative plays against the Aggie offense. If the LSU offensive line can control the line of scrimmage, it will be able to grind down the clock and keep the Aggie offense on the sideline.

    As long as LSU limits turnovers, it has a great chance to win this game.

Prediction

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    Prediction: LSU 26 Texas A&M 16

    The Aggies struggled to contain Louisiana Tech running back Kenneth Dixon. The Tigers have four running backs like Dixon. Having Steven Jenkins back from suspension will help, but LSU will likely grind away the clock and use its suffocating defense to shut down the Aggies offense.

    The Ags' best hope for victory is to keep the game within one touchdown with a minute left in the game and hope for a big play from Johnny "Football" Manziel.

    The Aggies have made some strides this season, but the Tigers defense is too tough for A&M to overcome right now.