Texas A&M 52
When Texas A&M has the ball
With an offense that showcased two completely different game plans in the first two weeks no one can be sure what to expect this week. What we all know is Sherman and crew will figure out how best to exploit FIU's defensive tendencies. Inexperience seems to be one of the biggest problems with the FIU defense and with their first road game against a high-tempo offense like Texas A&M I'd expect Jerrod and company to march up and down the field at will.
Some will point to the Rutgers game as a reason to be concerned. The problem is Rutgers offense is nowhere near A&M's. They lost 3 offensive lineman from a team that ranked 88th (out of 120) in total offense in 2009! Add to this they were playing on the road for the first time and I think it's easy to see why they might have struggled against a defense with a pulse. A&M, while also having a few new faces on the Offensive Line, is still more experienced than Rutgers and is playing with the 12th man behind them.
I expect to see A&M use some more misdirection and play-action than in previous weeks to take advantage of the faster FIU defense. However, PA passing is tough to pull off if you cannot get the running game going. If there is one thing I want to see from the offense it is the ability to consistently gain chunks (4-6 yards) in the running game from start to finish. While they had success stopping the run last week I believe it was more due to Rutger's deficiencies than what FIU was able to do defensively. Rutgers only mustered 6 points in the first half against Norfolk State in Week 1 (at home), no one should compare their offense with ours.
When FIU has the ball
The name of the game for Florida International will be protecting the football and getting the running game going. Last week they lost 3 fumbles and tacked on a pair of interceptions. I'd expect to see a big improvement in this despite Tim DeRuyter's emphasis on taking the ball away. They're going to try to open the field and use their speed at the QB position to grind the game out. Last week they ran the ball 36 times at a 4.6 ypc clip for 167 yards on the deck. If they are able to control the clock like Louisiana Tech last week in the first half this could be a closer game than most want.
With a healthier Von Miller, a faster overall defense, and a 3-4 scheme I just don't see the zone-read teams hurting A&M as much as they have in the past. I'd expect the crowd to rattle a team that much like Louisiana Tech still has question marks at the quarterback position. The only way FIU should stay in this game is if the A&M offense or Special Teams continue to turn the ball over. If A&M can protect the rock and grind away at their smaller opponent it will only be a matter of time until the flood-gates open on both sides of the ball.
Texas A&M 41
Though I prematurely called it last week, a focused effort of the interior line and running backs will lead to an expected yet overdue heavy presence between the tackles and on the ground in general, which paves the way for the above average passing game, is A&M has no problems putting points on the board. The defense will keep up their rising standard of play but a combination of FIU's spread, spread-option, and wildcat (and perhaps a special teams flub of our own) will provide just enough opportunity to put FIU in scoring position twice (they'll get a touchdown and miss a field goal).
The Aggies clean it up and though facing a slightly more challenging defense, A&M isn't Rutgers. We have a highly potent and varied offense, as well as a disruptive, fast, and swarming defense. The good guys put it on the Panthers 41-7.
Texas A&M 42
FIU will be the next whipping boy for A&M. Having lost 19-14 to Rutgers last week, they lose for the second time this week to a balanced offense and the now stingy defense. FIU did out gain Rutgers 2 to 1 on the offense side of the ball...but, 5 turnovers will get you every time.
Offense: Rutgers won't be able to match up with the big wideouts and the talented running backs. Swope has another big game with huge yards after the catch. JJ throws for another 300 + and leaves the game mid 3rd qtr.
Defense: the new scheme continues to work this week. Another week of practice and coaching, this team will shut down the run game...look for some improvement in the defending the middle of the field.
Special Teams - coaching staff patience is lacking with this unit. As witnessed last week with the punt returners, they will continue to move kids around until they find someone that can catch a punt.
A&M wins 42 - 14. Record improves to 3-0 and look forward to the OSU Thursday night match-up.
Texas A&M 48
The Aggies once again run, throw and jump and slide past a cream-puff for a big win. The Panthers of FIU are no match for the myriad of skilled position players A&M puts on the field.
The offense will again throw for 350 yards and run for 200 yards keeping the Aggies in the top 10 and top 40 teams in the country by yards, respectively. Expect the Aggies to use a similar attack as the past two weeks with more emphasis on technique and repetition while not showing much more of the playbook. C-Mike continues his trend of 100 yard rushing games while Cyrus Gray continues to contribute over 100 all purpose yards. Unfortunately, don't expect Sherman to give Ryan Tannehill much meaningful playing time at QB. RT will get most of the fourth quarter in a hand off mode. Expect EZ, Fuller, Swope, Hicks, Prioleau, Tannehill, and McCoy to make big catches.
On Defense expect Coach DeRuyter to shows us a little bit more as he prepares for OSU. Moore, Miller, and the Crew will get real excited very early when they come in very focused and very well prepared this week. Expect Sherman to give them an ear full prior to coming on to the field so they understand that if you come out flat against an OSU, OU, tu., NU or even Baylor they can and will beat you. The defense forces a couple more turnovers and gives up no big plays of over 20 yards.
Special teams are expected to continue to struggle as the coaches continue to try new options at some positions. Bullock makes a few field goals but also misses one. All things considered the team looks better in this win but the glaring issues remain. Can this team resolve the mental errors and is this team tough enough to maintain the level of competition required to be successful a full season in the Big XII. Once again Aggies everywhere are happy this team puts a big win together but they go home with unanswered questions and concerns.
TEXAS A&M 52
Your Texas Aggies will have their best game so far and will be clicking on all cylinders in the race to be fully prepared for a tough rest of the year. Jerrod Johnson's throws will continue to improve and he will show his proclivity for making plays with his feet. Look for Christine Michael to have his best game of the year and Von Miller to notch his first two sacks.
Texas A&M 38
FIU's defense completely shut down Rutgers last week in the team's season opener. Are the Golden Panthers really that good on defense, or did they take advantage of a lousy Scarlet Knight offense? Probably, it was a little of both. But, Texas A&M has struggled to establish a consistent rushing attack against lesser front sevens, so this will be the big match-up of the evening. But when it's all said and done, the Aggies will be able to throw the ball at will. FIU has no answer for Johnson or Fuller. The FIU offense will struggle with inconsistent QB Wes Carroll given the starting nod on Wednesday. The Aggies will have at least two interceptions and will keep the Golden Panthers out of the end zone. While I think A&M will win with relative ease, if the Ags can't run the ball then the game will be much closer than most people think. But I think A&M will rush for 185 yards.
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