By: Austin Gest
The New Mexico State Aggie football team will travel to #6 Texas A&M on Saturday night at 5:30 p.m. on ESPNU. Here is the preview to NMSU’s stiffest test of the season.
Texas A&M has surprised some folks
After starting the season unranked, A&M is heading into their eighth game of the season. Texas A&M will be coming off of their most important game of the season, having played top-ranked Alabama the week before. This is the third time that Texas A&M (6-0) has climbed to number six in the nation under coach Kevin Sumlin, who took the helm in College Station five years ago. Showing off his exciting style of play and flashy skills to the college football world, Johnny Manziel opened the door for several top recruits to come to Texas A&M in the past few years and as a result, they have been able to compete with the traditional SEC powers.
What to watch out for from Texas A&M:
Texas A&M thrives offensively by using an explosive rushing attack that is contributed to by several moving parts, and against competition such as UCLA, Arkansas, Auburn, and Tennessee, the offense is averaging just under 275 rushing yards per game. Starting quarterback Trevor Knight is a versatile threat. The former Oklahoma Sooner has thrown for 1,500 yards and nine touchdowns, while adding 500 yards on the ground. Starting running back Trayveon Williams has been enjoying his best season rushing for over 700 yards thus far. It is not only the offense that New Mexico State will have their hands full with. Texas A&M owns the 22nd-ranked defense in the nation, so the NMSU offense will have its hand full inside Kyle Field Saturday night.
How New Mexico State can stay competitive:
Looking into the history of New Mexico State’s football program, you would not expect them to have two wins this early in the season and they have won both games at home. As mentioned, this is another road game for NMSU, who have lost all of their road games by 16 points or more. The best player on the team, running back Larry Rose III has been essentially a non-factor in the games he has played in besides the win against Louisiana-Lafayette, in which he accumulated 161 total yards and a touchdown. For New Mexico State to have any chance of hanging around with one of the best teams in the nation, they must give Rose III a ton of touches, and Tyler Rogers needs to find success like the kind he has at home on the road. Turnovers will play a huge factor in this game if New Mexico State can come out on top. Their two wins have come in games where they forced two turnovers and if Rodney Butler and the defense can muster four or five turnovers, good field positions, and defensive scores, they will keep the game close. On the other side of the ball, Rogers will need to be better protected than he has been in the past two games, as NMSU has surrendered 10 quarterback sacks so far this season.
NMSU should walk into Kyle Field with a very straight-forward game-plan, avoid injuries, and leave College Station with all of the team’s key players healthy as they will head to Sun Belt rival Arkansas State for their next game.