The No. 9 ranked Texas A&M football team will travel to Fayetteville, Arkansas to take on the 3-1 Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday. If the Aggies are going to win their first road game of the season, they are going to need a big game from sophomore quarterback Johnny Manziel.
The Aggies have been winning with offense in 2013. Texas A&M leads the SEC in offense with 602 yards and 50 points per game.
Manziel is the leader of the offense. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner is ranked No. 8 in the nation in total offense per game with 370.8 yards per contest. That is with Manziel basically missing one entire game of playing time because of a suspension and blowouts.
The Razorback defense will be assigned the tough task of trying to contain Manziel. If they are able to keep Manziel under control, they will win their first SEC game of the season.
While Arkansas is tough against the run, their defense can be passed on. The Razorbacks allowed Rutgers to pass for 346 yards and three touchdowns in their comeback victory. Rutgers is only averaging 233 passing yards per game so they are not a passing juggernaut.
Arkansas was simply unable to cover Rutgers tight end Tyler Kroft and the rest of the Scarlet Knights receivers. That does not bode well for the Razorbacks against the Aggies' big-bodied receivers like Mike Evans.
The strength of the Arkansas defense is on their defensive line. Razorback senior defensive end Chris Smith leads the SEC with 5.5 sacks.
The Arkansas defensive line will be neutralized by the Aggies' offensive line. The offensive line, led by All-American left tackle Jake Matthews, has been dominant in 2013.
Alabama has set the standard for defense in college football under Nick Saban. They had the No. 1 ranked defense in the country in 2011 and 2012. The Aggie offensive line dominated the Tide, and the A&M offense rolled up more yards than any team in the history of Alabama football when the two teams met earlier this season.
The Aggie offensive line will keep Smith and his teammates off of Manziel. They will give Manziel time to pick apart the Razorback secondary.
Arkansas' defense is led by defensive coordinator Chris Ash. He followed Bielema to Arkansas. Ash coached against a quarterback with Manziel's skill-set twice while he was at Wisconsin.
In 2010, Ash was the Badgers secondary coach when Wisconsin beat Michigan and their dynamic quarterback Denard Robinson 48-28. Robinson passed for 239 yards and rushed for 121 yards in the loss.
In the 2012 Rose Bowl, Ash's defense allowed Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas to pass for 268 yards and rush for 155 yards in a 45-38 loss. It is obvious that Ash has struggled against mobile quarterbacks who can pass the ball.
Aggie fans should expect Manziel to pass for 400 yards and two touchdowns. Manziel will rush for 50 yards and another touchdown.
The Aggies' Heisman winner will lead them to a road win over Arkansas by the score of 48 to 23.