Texas A&M Football: 5 Keys to the Game vs. Auburn
The No. 20 Texas A&M Football team will take on the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday. It is an important matchup for the Aggies in their quest to qualify for the Southeastern Conference Championship game in Atlanta.
The Aggies are currently 2-2 in SEC play with a 2-1 record against western division opponents. They need to beat Auburn to keep pace with Alabama and LSU.
Auburn is 1-6 on the year and 0-5 in the SEC. They are fighting for their lives. They have to win all five of their remaining game in order to qualify for a bowl.
This is a look at the five keys to the game for the Ags to get a victory over Auburn.
Get Up Early
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Much like Arkansas earlier in the year, the Auburn players are simply looking for a reason to quit. It is imperative for the Ags to get out to an early lead and take the Auburn crowd out of the game.
It is a night game, so the Auburn fans should be lubricated and loud at kickoff. The Aggies need to get off to a quick start and make the crowd turn on their own team.
If A&M can get out to a two-score lead, the Auburn fans will concentrate on how much they dislike their head coach Gene Chizik, rather than trying to rally their own players to a win.
The Aggies have done a good job of scoring early so far in conference play. They have taken an early lead in every one of their SEC games.
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The Aggies lost to LSU because they turned the ball over four times. They cannot turn the ball over in SEC play and expect to win ballgames.
Aggie quarterback Johnny Manziel needs to do a better job of protecting the football. He threw three interceptions against LSU, which ruined the Aggies' chances of winning the game.
The Ags cannot turn the ball over on the road and expect to win. Auburn has a very poor offense, but they can be a dangerous team if they play on a short field.
A&M needs to protect the football and make Auburn drive the length of the field to score. If A&M does not turn the ball over, the Ags will get a win on the road.
Create Turnovers on Defense
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The Aggies have not created any turnovers in their last two games. With Auburn looking for a reason to give up on the field, a couple of turnovers could be the key to a victory.
If the Ags can force turnovers it will give them some extra possessions against a suspect Auburn defense. The key to taking the crowd out of this game is to get ahead by more than one score.
If the Aggies create turnovers, the create their own momentum and will take the Auburn crowd out of the game. If A&M is able to create two turnovers then they should win the game.
Make Auburn Pass the Ball
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Auburn quarterbacks have combined to throw for three touchdowns and 11 interceptions through seven games.
Auburn has a very dangerous receiver in Emory Blake but they have suspect quarterback play. If the Aggies can shut down the Tigers' running game and force their quarterbacks to win the game, they should be able to create turnovers.
Both Kiehl Frazier and Clint Moseley have struggled under center for Auburn. The Aggie defense needs to force Frazier and Moseley to win the game.
Establish the Running Game
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The Auburn defense is allowing 194 yards rushing per game and 4.7 yards per carry. The Aggies should be able to run the ball on the Tigers.
They can use the run to set up play-action pass and get some quick scores. Nothing is more disheartening than watching another team impose their will on you.
With the Aggies offensive line, they should be able to consistently churn out first downs by running the ball on the Auburn defense. If they do that, then they should be able to control the pace of the game and take the crowd out of the game.
Seeing the Ags extend drives on the ground should be enough to send the Auburn fans back to their tailgates to grouse about Chizik.