Ground Game for Texas A&M Football vs. Tennessee Rushing Defense
Tennessee is a middle-of-the-road rushing defense in the conference. By defensive PPA per rush, Arkansas is a higher-quality unit against the run, and the Volunteers are coming off a game where they allowed lowly South Carolina to exceed their rushing average by about 70%. Against Power 5 teams, the Volunteers haven’t been much better than average, especially when it comes to allowing big runs. Teams tend to be about 22% more explosive on the ground against the Volunteers than they are on average—that said, this Texas A&M football team is not the most explosive when it comes to the ground game. They will need to find consistency, at least, against the Volunteer front in order to take some of the pressure off of Max Johnson.
Advantage Score: Aggies by 2
Passing Offense for Texas A&M Football vs. Tennessee Passing Defense
Last week’s performance against Alabama didn’t quite inspire a lot of confidence in Max Johnson among the Texas A&M football fanbase. Of course, the defense for Tennessee isn’t quite that of the Tide, but they are not a bad unit by any means. This is an area where the Aggies have struggled to execute on the road before, as well, so they have quite a challenge ahead of them. Man-for-man, they are more talented, but the Volunteer defensive unit will be a tough nut to crack in the passing game. Ideally, Petrino can limit Max’s attempts to quick throws and deep play-action shots and lean on the run game the rest of the way. If the Aggies operate in that sweet spot, they’ll be golden—but that’s a tough ask.
Advantage Score: Tennessee by 3
Texas A&M Football’s Offensive Line vs. Tennessee Pass Rush
While their sack rate isn’t quite as good, the Vols put up more sacks per game than do the Aggies. Again, though, that has much to do with the competition they’ve faced. Adjusting for opponent sack rate allowed, Tennessee’s sack rate drops from second in the conference to sixth (the Aggies, who are still top in the SEC after said adjustment, have already faced numbers two and three in Alabama and Arkansas, respectively). Even so, this will be another challenge for the Aggies and an offensive line that was embarrassed in the second half of the previous game. The success of the run game will dictate this matchup as well: if the Aggies are consistently in unfavorable passing situations, they will be much more susceptible to the Vols breaking down their protection up front and getting home. I’ll give this matchup to the home team by a slight edge.
Advantage Score: Tennessee by 1