Texas A&M Football: Power Ranking the Aggies' Toughest Remaining Games
The Texas A&M football team has completed the first half of their season with a 5-1 record overall and 2-1 in the Southeastern Conference. The Aggies need to run the table in their remaining six games if they want to stay in contention for the SEC title, but they have multiple obstacles left on the second half of their schedule.
The Texas A&M defense is allowing 474 yards per game. Since they cannot consistently stop anyone on defense, every remaining team on the schedule is a threat to the Aggies.
This is a look at all of the remaining games on the Aggies schedule, from the easiest to the toughest.
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The UTEP Miners are 1-5 on the season. They have a very good offense that averages 31 points and 414 yards per game.
The Miners are struggling on defense, allowing 37 points and 458 yards per game. The Miners are led on offense by former Aggie quarterback Jameill Showers.
Showers graduated from A&M early, then transferred to UTEP in search of more playing time. He is passing for 209 yards per game and has thrown 11 touchdown passes with only four interceptions. Showers is the Miners' second-leading rusher with 191 yards and three touchdowns.
Showers will put up solid numbers against the porous Aggie defense, but the Aggies will beat the Miners comfortably. This will be a game where the coaches will get to develop some of the depth on offense and defense in the second half.
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The Vanderbilt Commodores are 3-3 overall and 0-3 in the SEC. Defense has typically been a strong point under head coach James Franklin, but the 'Dores are struggling to stop people in 2013.
Vanderbilt is allowing opposing offenses to rush for 4.5 yards per carry and are giving up 26.5 points per game. Franklin likes to employ a grind-it-out style of play. That is hard to do when your defense cannot get off the field.
The 'Dores do have one of the best wide receivers in the nation in senior Jordan Matthews. He leads Vanderbilt with 47 receptions for 709 yards and five touchdowns.
The Aggies will have a tough time containing Matthews but should be able to outscore Vanderbilt at Kyle Field.
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The Mississippi State Bulldogs are 3-3 overall and 0-2 in the SEC. The Bulldogs have solid talent but have not been able to put it all together on the field.
After getting ran off their own field in the second half in a 59-26 loss to LSU, the Bulldogs scraped by Bowling Green 21-20 in their next game.
They are led on offense by dual-threat quarterback Dak Prescott. He averages 224 total yards per game and has scored 11 touchdowns on the ground and through the air. Prescott is averaging 7.1 yards per rush.
The Bulldogs have a big-play receiver in Jameon Lewis, who is averaging 17.1 yards per catch. This team has talent up and down the roster; it just appears to lack the leadership to make them a winner.
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How tough Missouri is or isn't is directly proportional to quarterback James Franklin's health. If Franklin can play, then the Tigers are the second-toughest game remaining on the Aggies schedule.
If Franklin's separated shoulder keeps him out of the A&M game, then the Tigers may be too high on this list.
Missouri is currently 6-0 with a 2-0 record in the SEC. With Franklin on the field the Tigers had an explosive offense, piling up 45 points and 515 yards per game. The Tigers are currently ranked No. 14 in the polls.
The Aggies play Missouri in the last game of the regular season in Columbia. Even if Franklin is out, getting a win on the road is always tough.
In 2012 the Tigers struggled with injuries during their first season in the SEC. It will be interesting to see how the team holds up physically as they continue through the meat of their SEC schedule.
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The Auburn Tigers will come into College Station on October 19 sporting an identical 5-1 overall record and 2-1 conference record to the Aggies. The Tigers are led by their head coach Gus Malzahn.
Malzahn likes to spread defenses out, then pick at the defense with various running plays and formations until he identifies a weakness. Then he will repeatedly pound that weakness with the run until the opposing defense submits.
Malzahn has an extremely bright offensive mind and has the Tigers program headed back in the right direction.
Auburn is a run-dominated offense that averages 6.3 yards per rush and 287 yards rushing per game. They have struggled with the pass, with junior quarterback Nick Marshall averaging 180 yards passing per game with four touchdowns and four interceptions.
Marshall was a defensive back at Georgia before he transferred to a junior college so he could play quarterback. He is more of a running threat right now than a threat throwing the ball.
Auburn has a gambling defense under defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson. The Tigers have racked up an impressive 49 tackles for loss on the season but still allow 398 yards per game. The Auburn defense has only allowed opponents to score 18 points per game.
Auburn has very good talent up and down their roster. They will be a very tough challenge for the Aggies at home.
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LSU is the toughest opponent remaining on the Aggies schedule. The Tigers sport the best receiving duo in the nation in Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. The two receivers have combined for 84 catches for 1,407 yards and 13 touchdowns.
LSU has arguably the best running back in the nation in sophomore Jeremy Hill. The 6'2", 235-pound sledgehammer of a tailback is averaging 7.3 yards per carry and has rushed for 715 yards and nine touchdowns despite missing 1.5 games due to a suspension.
There is not another team in the nation who can put a running back and two receivers on the field that are the quality of Hill, Beckham Jr. and Landry.
The LSU defense has not been their typical dominating self, allowing 22 points and 348 yards per game. They are improving and still feature playmakers like linebacker Lamin Barrow and defensive tackle Anthony Johnson.
On paper, LSU may have the most talented team in the country. With the Aggies' defensive deficiencies, it is hard to see how they will find a way to come out of Baton Rouge with a win.