Texas A&M Football Pressures Jefferson
KJ Jefferson, the QB for Arkansas is a big man. He is sometimes compared to Cam Newton, and not without cause; both signal callers are basically built like defensive ends. Because of this, Jefferson can be punishing to bring down in the run game; when the Hog offense is operating at its best, Jefferson is throwing deep passes and keeping you honest with his ability to pick up chunks of yardage on the ground seemingly at will. He’s been able to do this with a high level of efficiency over the last two years thanks in large part to the excellent play of the Arkansas OL, with guys like Ricky Stromberg protecting him in passing situations and road grading in running situations.
The OL for Arkansas this year, however, is not up to snuff. Arkansas currently ranks 107th in the nation for sacks allowed, giving up 2.75 per game (not too far ahead of Auburn, who gives up 3 per game—of course, if you take last week’s contest against A&M out of things, the Tigers would only be giving up 1.67 per game). That’s an opportunity for the Aggies. They showcased their ability up front in a huge way last week, and if that can continue, it’ll be a long day for KJ. The Arkansas OL doesn’t fare any better in the run game, either—the Hogs are currently 99th in the nation by yards per carry. Of course, there’s some cross-pollination there—if you give up a lot of sack yardage per game, that’ll affect the mean rushing number given the way it’s calculated in college—but it is obvious to the naked eye that the Arkansas offensive front this year isn’t what it has been in seasons past, both in the run game and in pass protection. I think the front for Texas A&M football continues in what we saw last week, and really get after Jefferson—of course, KJ is much better equipped to hurt you downfield than was either Thorne or Ashford, but facing constant harassment up front will diminish that ability anyway.