Texas A&M Football: 5 Keys to the Game Versus LSU
The No. 18 Texas A&M Football team takes on the No. 6 LSU Tigers at Kyle Field on Saturday. It will mark the Tigers' first visit to College Station since 1995.
The game will be the continuation of a 50 year rivalry. LSU leads the all-time series with a 27-20-3 record. This will be the first time the two teams have met as conference foes.
This is Aggie head coach Kevin Sumlin's first game against a top 10 opponent since arriving in Aggieland.
This is a look at five keys to the game against LSU.
Have to Win the Battle in the Trenches
The Aggies are taking a step up in competition when they play LSU. Aggie fans will need to realize that if the running backs average 3.5 yards per carry against the Tigers, that is a solid night.
This game will be won in the trenches. The Aggies are going to have to get a push up front from their offensive line, and hold up on the defensive line against the LSU running game.
LSU is going to try to win a war of attrition. They are going to pound the ball for three to four yards per carry in the first three quarters, knowing that those runs will go for 20-30 yards in the fourth quarter.
The Aggies need to contain the LSU running game, and force them into passing situations in the fourth quarter.
Force the Tigers to Pass
The Aggies must force the Tigers to pass the ball. LSU coach Les Miles wants to run the ball and play defense. He wants a low scoring game that the Tigers will win through a war of attrition.
The best way for the Aggies to combat this is to stuff the run and take a two possession lead late in the game. LSU is not comfortable trying to move the ball down the field by passing it. If the Aggies can get up by ten or more, they can force LSU out of their comfort zone.
The LSU offensive line played great against the South Carolina defensive line, but it is still an inexperienced group. Force LSU into passing situations and let Damontre Moore put pressure on LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger.
Stay Within a Touchdown in the Fourth Quarter
Ideally, the Aggies will get a two touchdown lead in this game and force LSU out of their comfort zone. If they cannot do this, it is imperative that the Aggies keep the game within a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Man for man, LSU is a better football team than Texas A&M. In the fourth quarter, A&M has a fighting chance because they have Johnny Manziel on the team and he is a threat to score on any given play.
The last two games have proven to his teammates that Manziel is capable to taking over and winning a game in the fourth quarter. If the Aggies can keep the game close, then Manziel gives them a chance to win it.
Limit Big Plays from Odell Beckham Jr
LSU wants to grind out drives and move slowly move the ball down the field. They will be willing to punt and play field position football. The Aggies need to limit Odell Beckham Jr. from making big plays in the passing game and return game.
If they can keep Beckham from flipping the field with big plays, they stand a much better chance at stopping the Tiger offense. The Aggies must get solid play from their secondary against Beckham.
Win the Turnover Battle
The Aggies will not win this game if they lose the turnover battle. In the first six games of the season, Manziel has been able to throw the ball up and let his receivers make plays on the ball.
Against LSU he will not be able to throw those 50/50 balls as much because the LSU secondary is excellent. He needs to limit turnovers. Expect to see a lot of short passes like you saw against Florida.
The Aggies are going to need Manziel to make good decisions and keep A&M in the game until the fourth quarter, when he can take some chances and try to win it.