Scouting A&M: Keys to the game

Special teams play and the running game should play major roles in the Cowboys' game plan Saturday. Focus is the name of the game, as the OSU defense takes on the No. 10 passing offense in the nation...

Let's start with the number one key for the Cowboys on Saturday at Kyle Field. Oklahoma State has to be able to run the football. The Aggies "Wrecking Crew" defense has been more of a wreck itself with a conversion this season from the 3-4 to the 4-3. Top that off with the injury to returning linebacker Jarred Morris in the middle, and that A&M has had to go to a major youth movement and have really struggled compared to their normal run-squashing past. A&M is giving up over 170 yards a game rushing on the average and Nebraska rolled up over 330 yards. If the Cowboys can run the football that will unlock and open up the rest of the offense. Get A&M zeroed in on run and then Rashaun Woods, the rest of the receivers, tight ends and fullbacks become open targets for big plays.

The Cowboys have to play keep away from Aggie safety Jaxson Appel, who is definitely the big play man for the Aggie defense. Appel missed most of the game against Oklahoma State last season in Stillwater as he came into the game with an injury. He is healthy for this one and the guy that gives the Aggies a chance for the momentum seizing big play on defense.

A&M is tops in the Big 12 in kick returns, so Cole Farden needs to keep those booming kickoffs going out of or deep into the endzone. Other than that the Cowboys should win the special teams battle as A&M may even again be without punter Cody Scates.

On defense the Cowboys will face a duo similar to what they faced with Kansas State. OSU did a pretty good job of keeping K-State quarterback Ell Roberson and tailback Darren Sproles from hurting them with the running game. Texas A&M features sophomore quarterback Reggie McNeal and redshirt freshman speedster Courtney Lewis at tailback. The Aggies aren't bruising in the running game, but instead have speed and moves. The Aggie duo isn't as experienced as the Kansas State tandem and will make errors. A&M is 110th in the country in turnover margin and had eight giveaways last week in the 48-12 loss to Nebraska. After a 2-1 edge in turnovers with Texas Tech last week, the Cowboys are no even up for the season in the turnover department. Turnovers on the road are death. If the Cowboys can take the ball from the Aggies a few times, especially early then the game could be controled and the crowd taken out of it.

Oklahoma State just needs to focus on 60 more minutes of football and then everything they have wanted to play for will be on tap the next Saturday in Norman. Stay focused and the reward will be great.

GoPokes Top Stories