Five Keys to Success - OSU Game

Saturday brings the first match-up of two Top 10 teams to Kyle Field since the Aggies beat Earl Campbell and the Texas Longhorns 20-10 in 1975. Texas A&M faces a potent OSU Cowboy offense and will need to find a way to outscore the Pokes. David Sandhop discusses his five keys to A&M's success for the game.

Saturday brings the first match-up of two Top 10 teams to Kyle Field since the Aggies beat Earl Campbell and the Texas Longhorns 20-10 in 1975. Texas A&M faces a potent OSU Cowboy offense and will need to find a way to outscore the Pokes. David Sandhop discusses his five keys to A&M's success for the game.


1) Stop RB Joseph Randle

All of the talk this week has been about Brandon Weeden's aerial production and his dynamic weapon Justin Blackmon. Blackmon is going to get his 100+ yards of receiving. The key is to contain the other receivers and to squeeze the passing lanes in the middle of the field. For that to occur, the base defense must be able to stop Joseph Randle and the OSU rushing attack. Otherwise, Tim DeRuyter will need to bring bodies into the box to stop the run and that will give OSU receiver plenty of open space to work and beat the Aggie cornerbacks.


2) Hit Weeden Early and Often

The 28 year-old signal caller generates a lot of offense, but he also has a reputation to make mistakes if forced to hurry. The OSU offense is such that getting sacks will be difficult. However, simply hurrying him in his reads and delivering some early hits should force more interceptions. He's thrown six already through the first three games. If Weeden is given time to throw in the pocket, the Cowboys will have plenty of offensive success and the Aggies are in trouble. If A&M's defensive linemen and jokers can get into the backfield and disrupt early in the game, they can set the tone for the afternoon. They need to do it with the front seven. Weeden will beat the defense if DeRuyter must consistently resort to bring corner and safety blitzes.


3) Tannehill Must Have Patience

Ryan Tannehill is a good quarterback. However, about 2-3 times a game he rushes his reads and throws a couple of bad passes. He needs to remain patient and not feel the pressure to match OSU's offense on every possession. Tannehill is very efficient and he has incredible weapons all over the field. If one play isn't there, don't force it and live to run another play. Also, while Tannehill has been trained to stay in the pocket this season to stay healthy, he's most effective when he's a threat to scramble and run the ball. Bottom line, Tannehill will need to eliminate mistakes and turnovers by remaining patient and not throw those weekly 2-3 ill-advised passes.


4) Fuller Needs to Step Up w/ Big Game

This is the setting and the national audience that can make Jeff Fuller a lot of money in next year's NFL draft. A big performance will go a long way in cementing Fuller as the best wide receiver to ever wear an Aggie jersey. While this Aggie offense has a lot of weapons in the form of Cyrus Gray, Ryan Swope, and Uzoma Nwachukwu, the only player that has the ability to rise up and dominate a game by himself is Fuller. I think back to the 2000 OU game where Robert Ferguson put on a clinic. Mark Farris was simply throwing the ball in his direction, and Ferguson found a way to catch it. Fuller has had solid outings this far, but on Saturday he needs to be the go-to man downfield.


5) Simply Match OSU's Special Teams Performance

Given the other match-ups on offense and defense, and the Aggies' home field advantage, Texas A&M doesn't have to outperform OSU on special teams or win the game on special teams, but they must avoid losing the contest with special teams mistakes. OSU's kicker is one of the best in the nation, forcing 16 touchbacks and making 6 of 7 field goals. In the punting game, OSU has a one yard per attempt net advantage over the Aggies. We know that gap could widen significantly with a couple of bad kicks from an inconsistent A&M punter. Now, there could be some light at the end of the tunnel as true freshman scholarship punter Drew Kaser booted a 68-yard effort to end last week's game. Of course, that followed a 20-yard shank. The Aggies don't need to be spectacular on special teams or even good. They need to avoid the big mistakes that can cost them a lot of yards in field position and allow the offense and defense to win the game.


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