LSU and Texas A&M – both unranked and sitting at 7-4 overall, 3-4 in the SEC – will meet for the third time as conference and division opponents on Thanksgiving night, and for the first time without Johnny Manziel at quarterback for the Aggies.
Below is TSD’s scouting report on the Aggies offense, including a projected starting lineup and plenty of interesting tidibits/stats as well as matchup notes for the LSU defense.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
RB: Tra Carson (Jr., 6-0, 230)
WR: Ricky Seals-Jones (R-Fr., 6-5, 225)
WR: Josh Reynolds (Jr., 6-4, 190)
WR: Speedy Noil (Fr., 5-11, 190)
WR: Malcome Kennedy (Sr., 6-0, 205)
LT: Jarvis Harrison (Sr., 6-4, 325)
LG: Garrett Gramling (Sr., 6-6, 315)
C: Mike Matthews (Jr., 6-2, 285)
RG: Joseph Cheek (Jr., 6-7, 304)
RT: Cedric Ogbuehi (Sr., 6-5, 300)
Key Backups: TE Cameron Clear (Sr., 6-6, 274), RB Trey Williams (Jr., 5-8, 195), WR Edward Pope (So., 6-4, 180), WR Boone Niederhofer (So., 6-0, 197)
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
- Sumlin and second-year offensive coordinator Jake Spavital, at West Virginia as quarterbacks coach for two seasons before coming over to College Station, like to spread things out and spread the wealth to one of the best collections of receiving talent in the conference. Seals-Jones, the most physically imposing of the bunch, leads the team with 47 catches. Noil, the New Orleanian with crazy athleticism, has been a terror in the slot with 40 grabs. But the headliner has been Reynolds, a JuCo transfer who leads the Aggies in receiving yardage (746), receiving touchdowns (12) and is second amongst regulars with 16.6 yards per grab. Considering Texas A&M averages 41.1 pass attempts a game, completing 26.6 of them, each of these guys will see plenty of targets.
- Something that’s always interesting about playing teams like Texas A&M and Auburn is the time of possession battle and the style of play offensively. The Aggies, like the Plainsmen, prefer to move fast and either score methodically (and usually quickly) or fizzle out early, get behind the chains and punt. That tendency has led A&M’s opponents this season to average seven minutes and 28 seconds of possession more than the Aggies. Nothing could play more into the hands of what Les Miles and Cam Cameron want to do when LSU has the football. If John Chavis’ defense can get stops and be disruptive against the pass, I expect the Tigers to play keep away to the utmost of their ability.
- Unlike LSU the Aggies have made the switch to a true freshman under center. Allen, one of the nation’s top quarterback recruits a year ago, has started the last three contests, leading A&M to wins versus ULM and at Auburn before falling to Missouri in a tight game a week and a half ago. Allen over that three-game span has passed for an average of 206.7 yards an outing and eight touchdowns, with four of those coming at Auburn.
- There are three primary backs that will handle the ball for the maroon and white. Carson, at 230 pounds, is built like the every down back, while smallish Trey Williams performs like a scatback. Each have five rushing touchdowns on the season, but Williams averages 6.2 yards per carry compared to 4.7 ypc from Carson. A third back, junior Brandon Williams (6-0, 200), has accounted for three touchdowns. LSU is likely to see all three, but the reality is A&M is most dangerous through the air. The Aggies have scored 17 touchdowns this season rushing and 34 through the air.