Five Reasons Why Texas A&M Will Beat OSU

The Texas A&M football team opens up the 2010 Big 12 season with a nationally-televised showdown with Oklahoma State in Stillwater. Many Aggie fans see the game as a referendum on the Mike Sherman era. Aggie Websider's David Sandhop takes a look at the case for an Aggie win on Thursday

The Texas A&M football team opens up the 2010 Big 12 campaign with a road trip to Stillwater to face the red-hot No. 25 ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys. After two seasons of rebuilding, many Aggie fans see tonight's game as a referendum on Mike Sherman's progress in bringing back the program to the levels reached in the 1980's and 1990's. So here's the case why the Aggies will break-through with a big road win over a ranked team to open up conference play.

1) At last year's Armed Forces Bowl, Air Force defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter forced the nation's leading passer, Case Keenum, into throwing six interceptions while limiting the Cougars to just 222 yards and one touchdown through the air, the lowest output of the season for Dana Holgorsen's offense. Fast forward nine months and now DeRuyter is leading Texas A&M's resurgence on defense while Holgorsen is engineering the Cowboys' No. 1 ranked offense. One of the worst pass defenses in the nation in 2009, DeRuyter already has the Aggies' pass efficiency defense up to No. 3 in the nation and there's no reason to think that he won't work his magic against Holgorsen again in 2010.

2) While Oklahoma State boasts the nation's No. 1 offense, the Aggies aren't far behind with the No. 9 ranked offense with most of the pieces back from last year's No. 5 rated offense. On the other hand, the Aggies have been more impressive than the Cowboys on defense leading the nation in tackles for loss and ranked No. 10 in the country in total defense. In contrast, the OSU defense has given up a lot of yards and points despite outscoring its opponents, ranking No. 78 in the nation.

3) The Aggies returned 16 starters and are a much older and more experienced unit than in 2009 when they dropped a close 36-31 decision to the Cowboys. On the other hand, OSU lost as many as 18 starters and replaced a veteran quarterback and most of their playmakers at wide receiver, as well as a majority of their defensive standouts from 2009. A more mature A&M team should be able to handle the spotlight of a Thursday night nationally televised game and the step-up in competition.

4) Despite struggling in the Big 12 conference for the past decade, the Aggies have had success against the Cowboys owning a 10-4 record since the Big 12 Conference formed in 1996. That success has carried over to games on the road in Stillwater where Texas A&M owns a 5-2 advantage since 1996.

5) Coming off a bye week, Von Miller is close to 100% healthy. He sprained his ankle in week one and that has limited his playing time and effectiveness on the pass rush. In his place, true freshman Demontre Moore has emerged on the scene as another pass rushing specialist, leading the squad with three sacks and several more tackles for loss. With Miller returning to his all-American form, expect to see an effective Texas A&M pass rush that will rattle OSU QB Brandon Weeden and will force him into some mistakes that the Aggies will capitalize on in the game.

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