Cotton Bowl 2013: Damontre Moore Is the Key for Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma

Barrett Sallee@BarrettSalleeSEC Football Lead WriterDecember 28, 2012

Of all of the bowl games, the Cotton Bowl between Texas A&M and Oklahoma may be the most intriguing matchup of all.

The former Big 12 rivals will meet at Cowboys Stadium with plenty on the line.

For Texas A&M, it's a chance to keep the momentum going toward a potential title run in 2013. Meanwhile, Oklahoma will be out to make a statement to its former conference foe.

Aggie quarterback and 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel will undoubtedly steal most of the headlines, but the outcome of this game will be determined when Oklahoma has the ball. Specifically, whether or not Texas A&M's defense—defensive end Damontre Moore, in particular—can pressure Sooner quarterback Landry Jones into mistakes.

Considering Jones—who has 16,368 yards, 122 touchdowns and 51 picks during his career—broke the Big 12 record for career passing yards this season, that may seem like a tall task.

However, Jones has been prone to making mistakes when he is pressured.

Moore has been doing plenty of that this season.

The junior defensive end had 20 tackles for loss, 12.5 sacks and 80 tackles this season—80 tackles from the defensive end spot is insane.

ESPN's Todd McShay (subscription required) projects that Moore would be the second overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft should he decide to declare early. A big game against the Sooners, who have only given up 14 sacks on the season, could vault him to the top spot.

Talk about motivation.

The Cotton Bowl has all the makings of becoming a shootout. Oklahoma's defense has been soft and we all saw the Aggie offense kick into high gear this season—its first in the SEC. 

If Moore can get cranked up for the Aggies, this game will go from a shootout to a blowout in a hurry.

Focus on Manziel, running back Ben Malena and wide receivers Ryan Swope and Mike Evans if you want, but the outcome of the 2013 Cotton Bowl will be determined when Oklahoma has the ball.

Damontre Moore's ability or inability to pressure Landry Jones is the biggest reason why.

 

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