When Texas A&M football is on offense
This is possibly the worst FBS defense the Aggies have faced since playing ULM. Now, as I have mentioned before, the Tigers have much better athletes than many teams the Aggies have played, and too often Texas A&M football has been the source of their own offensive woes rather than excellent defensive play stymying them, so it’s entirely possible that the Aggies come out with a complete dud on that side of the ball. However, the numbers make clear that the worst part of the Tiger defense is their rushing defense, rather than their passing defense. Given the added element of the QB run that Jaylen Henderson brings, this is great news.
I think the Aggies will be able to open things up through the air by getting things going on the ground. Even if Evan Stewart is unavailable for this game due to injury, I don’t think the Tiger DBs can effectively check Ainias Smith, Moose Muhammad, and Noah Thomas. Now, this will be Henderson’s first game away from the friendly confines of Kyle, so how he will perform in an environment like this is a bit of an unknown quantity. Hopefully, the way the game is called by Petrino helps Henderson here—I loved some of those plays against State where they sent Thomas in motion that went right into a wheel route where he was wide open. Concepts like that: easy reads, quick decisions, that will help the offense stay ahead of things.
Again, though, it’s not like this defense is filled with world-beaters. They allow the second highest third down conversion percentage in the conference, behind only Vanderbilt. They allow the most points per red zone trip in the conference. They allow the highest success rate in the conference. This is a defense that can be had. Will the Aggies meet the call?