Welcome to Position Matchups, a new weekly article we’re doing here on the site for every Texas A&M football game. In this, I’ll look at each dimension for both teams, on offense and defense, and how they match up against one another before concluding with who I think has the advantage at each spot. I’ll do this with a one-to-five “advantage ranking,” with one being the slightest of edges, and five being a complete mismatch. I’ll also from time to time rate a matchup as a draw.
Without further ado, let’s examine the matchups in the upcoming contest between Texas A&M football and the Miami Hurricanes, starting with the Aggies on offense.
Texas A&M Football vs. Miami: Aggie Run Game vs. Hurricane Run Defense
As I mentioned in our full preview, this is the dimension that holds the key to the Aggies’ offensive success in this game. If the Aggies aren’t able to consistently keep ahead of the chains with an efficient run game, keeping the Miami defense honest, then Lance Guidry’s unit will be able to tee off on Weigman on late downs. His ability to mix coverages could prove a stumbling block for the young QB—talented as he is—and would give the Hurricanes a decided edge.
That’s all a big ‘if’, however. Though the strength of this Hurricane defense is on the line of scrimmage, the Aggies, through the trials and tribulation of the injuries they endured both of the last two years, have assembled quite the lineup of talented offensive linemen with game experience. Fatheree, Bisontis, Nabou, Dewberry, Foster, Robinson, Zuhn, Crownover, Ogunbiyi—all have been starters at one point or another and have given quality reps.
I think the Aggies are up to the task; however, it’s no runaway contest in this regard. I trust Petrino to keep the Hurricanes off-balance somewhat with his play calling in the run game, but I still think the Hurricanes are talented enough to approach this one with caution.
Advantage ranking: Aggies by 1
Texas A&M Football vs. Miami: Aggie Pass Game vs. Hurricane Pass Defense
It appears—and certainly is the dear hope of many Texas A&M football fans—that the Aggie aerial attack has done a complete 180 from 2022. Weigman was absolutely slinging it in week 1; showcasing an ability not only to make the right read under pressure, but to deliver the ball to his receiver with pinpoint accuracy under duress.
Not only that, but the receivers themselves displayed dominance, destroying a distraught defense for the Lobos time and time again. The third touchdown caught by Noah Thomas looked—dare I say—absolutely Mike Evans-esque, as he came back almost through a defender’s body to snatch the ball out of the air.
I haven’t been overly impressed with what I’ve seen from the Hurricane defensive backs; though they boast an All-American at safety in Kamren Kinchens, the Miami corners struggled at times in not only coverage but tackling once their man became a ball-carrier. If the receivers for Texas A&M football are able to match up man-to-man against them, I think we could witness another “aerial circus,” as John Harris put it in his film breakdown.
Advantage Ranking: Aggies by 4
Texas A&M Football vs. Miami: Aggie OL vs. Hurricane Pass Rush
I was impressed with the Aggie OL’s ability to handle the exotic looks that New Mexico threw at them in week 1—it wasn’t purely physical domination, though that factor was indeed present. The big guys up front communicated well, passed off and picked up the twists and stunts they faced down in and down out. Dealing with Leonard Taylor, though, is a completely different affair than the front line they have down in Albuquerque.
As I said before, the Hurricane defensive line is their most talented unit; however, it’s not as if the Aggies don’t have their own talent on the line of scrimmage. Bryce Foster is a worthy opponent for Taylor, and Zuhn looks much improved from his injury-plagued play last year at left tackle. Fatheree’s recovery from injury concerns me at the other tackle spot, however. Bisontis played well against UNM; he’s clearly extremely gifted when it comes to pure power and is no slouch when it comes to technique either, but the unknown factor is whether he’s ready to play in a road environment against an opponent with the level of skill that Miami has.
Because of the unproven nature of the Aggie OL as a unit and the proven nature of Miami’s DL, I have to go with the Canes here. Even if they do end up generating pressure consistently, though, Weigman’s ability to evade it just long enough to throw a dime—or to tuck it and run—will help the Aggies. Of course, that factor doesn’t play into the advantage ranking here (it is just OL vs pass rush, after all), but it’s worth mentioning.
Advantage Ranking: Hurricanes by 2