What Needs to Happen for Texas A&M Football to Emerge Victorious
Ahead of Texas A&M football vs. Mississippi State, there are some questions swirling with regard to the availability of both Max Johnson and Will Rogers. The presence, and equally the absence, of one or the other will significantly shape how each team looks and therefore how the result of this game looks. That said, the information here can obsolesce very quickly. I still think much of it is valuable, however, and can help us understand how this game might go. Let’s jump in. As always, thanks to Parker Fleming on Twitter for the detailed breakdown from which I’m getting these factors.
What Should Happen for Texas A&M Football
- Bulldogs in a no-fly zone: State has one of the poorest passing offenses in the country. The Aggies are not only getting their starting corners back for this one, but have something to prove coming off that loss to Ole Miss.
- State unable to drive the field: A big key here will be not allowing the Bulldogs to operate in short field situations. All the relevant stats say that the Mississippi State is generally anemic when trying to put together consistency offensively, and that the defense for Texas A&M football is one of the best down in and down out at preventing teams from being efficient. If you keep the Bulldogs in situations with long fields ahead of them, things should break your way.
- Lots of State rushes, not much success: Mississippi State is much better on the ground than they are through the air, but that plays right into the hands of an Aggie team that is still one of the best in the nation at stopping the run. When accounting for down, distance, and game situation, the Bulldogs are also one of the most run-heavy teams in the country, so I don’t expect them to deviate much from what should hopefully be the equivalent of ramming their collective heads into a concrete wall over and over.
- Late-down defensive stands: The Bulldogs are one the nation’s least successful teams on third and fourth down, especially recently. The Aggies are one of the best teams at preventing conversions on late downs. Keep the Bulldogs behind the chains, and you’ll be in good shape.
What Needs to Happen for Texas A&M Football
- Success through the air: This would normally have gone in the above category, but with an unknown quarterback situation at the moment, things are a bit more uncertain. This is one of the worst passing defenses in the country, and the Aggies have had a decent level of efficiency (if not explosiveness) through the air this year. The drop from Johnson to Henderson is likely to be far longer than the drop from Weigman to Johnson, however, so this is a TBD.
- Capitalizing on scoring opportunities: For as bad as Texas A&M football has been at converting quality possessions into points, the Bulldogs have been equally bad at allowing teams to convert those possessions. This one is a push right now, but if Texas A&M football can get things to break their way, they’ll have a huge advantage.
- Lean on the Bulldog front: State has actually quietly put together a decent run defense this year. It’s no secret that the Aggie rushing offense has struggled, but last week, against a decent rushing offense for the Rebels, Texas A&M football was able to be pretty effective, especially in the second half. A solid rushing attack would go quite a long way in helping Henderson if he ends up being the guy.