Texas A&M Football: 5 Keys to the Game vs. Alabama
Exactly 10 years ago this week, the Texas A&M football team defeated the No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners at Kyle Field in a huge upset. The Aggies will try to repeat that feat on Saturday when they travel to Tuscaloosa, AL to take on the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday.
The Aggies will need to play an almost perfect game to beat the Tide. Texas A&M has won two Southeastern Conference games in a row on the road, so it have a lot of momentum.The Aggies have won all of their road games this season.
This is a look at five keys to the game between the Aggies and the Crimson Tide.
It is cliche, but the bottom line is that the Aggies will not beat Alabama if they lose the turnover battle. The Aggies have won two consecutive games on the road by limiting their turnovers.
The only turnover the Aggies have had was a fumble going into the end zone against Mississippi State, which replays showed was a poor call.
Alabama is going to try to control the ball in the game and keep the Aggies' offense off the field. The A&M football team cannot afford to help the Tide by giving them extra possessions with turnovers.
Control the Tide Running Game
Alabama may have the best offensive line in the country. It is unrealistic to expect the Aggies to shut down its running game, but the Aggies need to try to control it.
They need to force the Tide offensive into 3rd-and-long situations. If the Aggie defense can force Alabama into obvious passing downs, it should be able to get pressure on Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron.
Alabama is allowing two sacks per game. The Aggies should be able to generate some pressure.
Make One Explosive Play on Offense Each Quarter
The Aggies will need to make at least one explosive offensive play in every quarter if they want to stay in the game. Alabama's defense is too tough to have long extended drives against.
The Aggies are going to need Johnny Manziel, Ryan Swope, Ben Malena and Mike Evans to create some big plays of 20-plus on offense in order to flip the field.
The offense can score on Alabama, but it will need some big plays to do it.
Solid Special Teams
Texas A&M cannot have a repeat from the Mississippi State game in the kicking game. Taylor Bertolet has to be accurate when kicking field goals.
The Aggies cannot have any special teams breakdowns in coverage. They must have solid play from their coverage teams and not allow Alabama to change field position with kickoff and punt returns.
A&M would be helped tremendously if it could get some big returns from its own special teams. If the Aggies can simply get solid play from their special teams and make the plays they are supposed to, then they should be able to stay in the game.
Get Up by Two Scores
If the Aggies want to win this game, then they need to get up by two scores and take Alabama out of their comfort zone.
Alabama is not built to win a shootout. They want to play mistake-free football and win the game with their running game and defense.
If you can get Alabama down by two scores and force them to pass the ball, they will be put in a position they have not been in yet this year. If the Aggies can force the Tide to pass, their pass rush should be able to get to McCarron and force incompletions and turnovers.