LSU Football: 5 Keys to the Game vs. Texas A&M
The LSU Tigers will continue their quest back to the top of the SEC with a big road matchup this Saturday against Texas A&M.
After a huge win against South Carolina last weekend, this LSU team should have plenty of confidence to go into College Station and leave with another big victory.
But make no mistake, Texas A&M is no slouch.
The Aggies are 5-1, with their only loss coming against Florida, the same team that handed the Tigers their lone loss this season.
So what will LSU need to do in order grab another big SEC road victory?
Let's go ahead and list five keys to the Tigers game against Texas A&M.
Bleacher Report Style!
1. Contain Johnny Manziel
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Texas A&M freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel is one of the most underrated players in college football.
Manziel is putting up Heisman Trophy-caliber numbers this season, and if the Tigers are going to win this football game, they are going to have to find a way to slow down the Aggies' talented freshman signal-caller.
To give you an idea of just how good Manziel is, take a look at his numbers. Through six games this season, Manziel has already thrown for 1,680 yards and 14 touchdowns, but that's not all. The talented freshman also leads the team in rushing with 676 yards and 10 scores.
Those are RGIII caliber numbers, and yes, this kid is only a freshman.
Les Miles and this LSU coaching staff must come up with a plan to slow down Manziel in this game.
2. Control the Time of Possession
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LSU dominated the time of possession last weekend against South Carolina, and the outcome of the game resulted in a win for the Tigers.
Les Miles' team controlled the ball for nearly 37 minutes, with just over 23 minutes for the Gamecocks.
How do the Tigers do that?
It's simple: Establish the run.
If LSU can run the ball, and add in some high-percentage passes here and there, then they should win the possession battle in this contest.
If they can do that, they should win this game as well.
3. Cut Down on the Turnovers
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LSU is 6-1 this season because it has been dominant on defense and has been able to run the football successfully, for the most part.
But that one issue that won't seem to go away is the turnover bug.
LSU has turned the ball over in every game this season, and the majority of those turnovers have come from fumbles or interceptions by first-year quarterback Zach Mettenberger.
Les Miles raved about Mettenberger's poise and skill set earlier this year, but the Tigers' starting signal-caller has been anything but poised in the first half of the season.
If LSU is going to beat Texas A&M on the road, Mettenberger is going to have to play better and cut down on the constant turnovers.
Chances are that this will be a close game, and it could come down to the final possession. Because of that, the Tigers simply can't afford to give up any possessions of their own.
4. Take the Crowd out of the Game Early on
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For those of you who didn't know, Kyle Field at Texas A&M is known as the "Home of the 12th Man."
It is known as that because these fans get so crazy and so loud that it's like the team has a 12th man out on the field. Yes, it is that much of an advantage.
LSU has already played away from home on two separate occasions, one of which resulted in a loss to Florida and the other of which resulted in an ugly 12-10 win over Auburn.
If the Tigers can get off to a fast start, they can take these crazy fans out of the game and make it a more inviting environment.
5. Run, Run, Run
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It's really simple, but true. When LSU runs the football, the team wins football games.
The Tigers are 6-0 when rushing for more than 150 yards this season. In the Tigers' lone loss, against Florida, they ran for a measly 42 yards on 25 carries, an average of just 1.7 yards-per-carry.
The beauty of this is that Les Miles isn't relying on one back to carry the load.
We have seen Kenny Hillliard, Alfred Blue, Spencer Ware and, just this past weekend, Jeremy Hill, all have breakout games for this LSU team.
Who will it be this week?
If LSU can establish the run early and often, I see the Tigers leaving College Station with a win under their belts.
Count on it!