LSU vs. Texas A&M: Complete Game Preview
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
Who: Texas A&M Aggies vs. Louisiana State Tigers
When: 11 a.m. CDT
Stadium: Kyle Field
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
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
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
82 James Wright 6'2", 203, Jr.
86 Kadron Boone 6'0", 207, Jr.
68 Josh Dworaczyk 6'6", 300, Sr.
73 Chris Davenport 6'4", 330, Jr.
70 La’el Collins 6'5", 321, So.
68 Josh Dworaczyk 6'6", 300, Sr.
64 P.J. Lonergan 6'4", 305, Sr.
55 Elliott Porter 6'4", 300, So.
56 Trai Turner 6'3", 306, RFr.
74 Josh Williford 6'7", 334, Jr.
78 Vadal Alexander 6'6", 350, Fr.
72 Alex Hurst 6'6", 331, Jr.
88 Chase Clement 6'5", 265, Sr.
84 Nic Jacobs 6'5", 265, So.
3 Odell Beckham, Jr. 6'0", 187, So.
10 Russell Shepard 6'1", 195, Sr.
80 Jarvis Landry 6'0", 195, So.
8 Zach Mettenberger 6'5", 230, Jr.
17 Stephen Rivers 6'8", 225, RFr.
4 Alfred Blue 6'2", 220, Jr.
27 Kenny Hilliard 6'0", 231, So.
(or) 11 Spencer Ware 5'11", 225, Jr.
44 J.C. Copeland 6'1", 272, Jr.
43 Connor Neighbors 5'11", 236, So.
49 Barkevious Mingo 6'5", 240, Jr.
59 Jermauria Rasco 6'3", 255, So.
77 Josh Downs 6'1", 287, So.
9 Ego Ferguson 6'3", 308, So.
18 Bennie Logan 6'3", 295, Jr.
90 Anthony Johnson 6'3", 304, So.
99 Sam Montgomery 6'5", 260, Jr.
89 Lavar Edwards 6'5", 258, Sr.
52 Luke Muncie 6'3", 210, Jr.
58 Tahj Jones 6'2", 205, Jr.
46 Kevin Minter 6'2", 246, Jr.
22 Ronnie Feist 6'2", 230, Fr.
57 Lamin Barrow 6'2", 229, Jr.
45 Deion Jones 6'2", 202, Fr.
28 Jalen Mills 6'0", 185, Fr.
32 Jalen Collins 6'2", 195, RFr.
6 Craig Loston 6'2", 205, Jr.
34 Micah Eugene 5'11", 190, RFr.
1 Eric Reid 6'2", 212, Jr.
26 Ronald Martin 6'1", 202, So.
24 Tharold Simon 6'3", 187, Jr.
13 Dwayne Thomas 6'0", 175, Fr.
What Happened to the Aggies Last Week?
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?
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
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
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
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.....
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....
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: 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.