With the game between Texas A&M football and ULM fast approaching, it’s time to check out the matchups we’ll be seeing between the different units in this one. This is a new feature, so I’ll say what I said last time: in this series, 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.
Let’s jump into it.
Texas A&M Football vs. ULM: Aggie Run Game vs Warhawk Run Defense
This is an area that has not exactly jumped off of the stat sheet so far for the Aggies, but also one that I would bet OC Bobby Petrino would like to have rolling headed into conference play. I expect a concerted effort to establish the run; though, knowing Petrino, if ULM sells out to stymy the ground game in the same way that New Mexico did, I’m sure he’s more than happy to call several downfield shots over their heads.
That said, the Warhawks are currently allowing fewer than 4 YPC on the season (though sack yardage does play into that mark). They’ve only faced Army and Lamar, of course, but I was impressed to see how inefficient they made a tough triple option scheme. Army doesn’t exactly boast superior athletes when it comes to D1 competition, but if ULM sets their mind to it, they won’t just be run over by the Aggies.
Advantage Ranking: Aggies by 4
Texas A&M Football vs. ULM: Aggie Pass Game vs Warhawk Pass Defense
Conversely, this is an area where the Aggies very much have jumped off the stat sheet. I don’t think that Weigman will exceed his mark of 5 touchdowns from the game against UNM, but this is a secondary that is begging for opposing OCs to throw; against those two poor opponents that I mentioned, the Warhawks have allowed 7.8 YPA.
It should be no surprise to anyone that ULM doesn’t have anyone who can match up with Noah Thomas or Evan Stewart on the outside. We could see another aerial assault from the Aggies in this one, very similar to the first game.
Advantage Ranking: Aggies by 5
Texas A&M Football vs. ULM: Aggie OL vs Warhawk Pass Rush
The physical dominance piece of things in this matchup definitely favors the Aggies; however, the question is whether the offensive line is able to operate well in the face of confusion. They didn’t do a great job last week at Miami (though part of that is on the QB position and the protection calls Conner made), but they did decently against the Lobos in week 1.
The Warhawks have already notched 5 sacks on the season, which is impressive considering that one of their two opponents runs the triple option. Similar to New Mexico, they run a lot of games on the defensive line, stunting and twisting to try and cause confusion in the protections. As I said, though, those gave the Aggies fewer problems than did the simulated pressures of Lance Guidry’s defense. Even though Conner is by far the most blitzed and pressured QB in the conference, he has only taken one sack so far, so the offensive line is doing something right.
Advantage Ranking: Aggies by 3