Defense for Texas A&M Football Denies Bama in Red Zone
As Parker Fleming of CFB Graphs showed in his preview of this game, and as I have mentioned a couple of different times this week, the Tide have had a tough time creating quality drives. When they get the ball, they are very middle-of-the-road when it comes to their ability to actually get inside the opponents’ 40 yard line. The Aggies, conversely, are one of the best teams defensively at stopping opponents from creating such drives. That adds up to a very low likelihood that the Tide will be able to move the ball up and down the field with consistency on Saturday.
When they do, however, move the ball down the field, and specifically get within the red zone, I see the Aggies doing a great job of stopping the Tide’s march. Alabama has struggled mightily once they get inside the 20 to actually get touchdowns—in fact, they are the worst team in the conference at converting red zone trips to touchdowns, doing so just a shade over 50% of the time. The Aggie defense, on the other hand, is excellent at denying opponents touchdowns once they get within the 20, allowing teams into the end zone at a 37.5% clip. In fact, the only opponent to score a red zone touchdown against the Aggies was Miami, who did so on 3 out of their 5 trips, and all with the passing game. In other words, the Aggies still have yet to give up a red zone rushing touchdown on the season (and have only given up one rushing touchdown overall this year).
Milroe’s biggest passing issues come in a condensed field, so the matchup here falls heavily in favor of the Aggies. If they can stop the Tide’s rushing attack up front and force Milroe to pass once the field shrinks, I have full confidence that they can shut the Tide out in the red zone.