Hop's Five Keys to Success - Texas Tech

Two years ago, a young Texas A&M team limped into Lubbock after an embarrassing loss to KSU and the fact that an Aggie team hadn't won at Jones Stadium in 16 years. The Aggies handily won the game. Now, most of those freshmen and sophomores who won two years ago are now juniors and seniors. Aggie Websider's David Sandhop gives his five keys to another victory on the plains.

1) Establish the Ground Game and Control the Clock

I don't think many people doubt that Texas A&M will run the ball successfully. The question is whether A&M decides to use the ground game as a weapon to milk the clock and keep the delirious Texas Tech crowd out of the night game. Snapping the ball with 17 seconds on the play clock is playing into Tech's hands. Tempo must be deliberate as long as the Aggies are successfully running the ball.

2) Composure in a Hostile Environment

It's going to be wide in Lubbock and the Tech fans smell blood in the water as they welcome the Aggies for the last time. It will be loud early, and it will get nasty. Expect the Tech players to start the game on cloud nine with a lot of emotion and energy. The Aggies must withstand that first 15 minutes and keep their composure. Also, there will be a lot of trash talking and maybe a few hits after the whistle. The A&M players can't get suckered into a cheap 15 yards with the extracurriculars.

3) Stretch the Field

While I expect the Aggies to establish a running game, the Aggies will need to keep Tech's safeties from cheating toward the line of scrimmage to stop the run. A&M's vertical passing game has been non-existent this season and that is one of the problems with the lack of scoring in the second half. The offense must keep the Red Raider defense honest and worried about covering the entire field. Paging Jeff Fuller

4) Create Turnovers on Defense

If you are searching for answers to why this Tim DeRuyter's defense isn't as successful as last year's unit, look no further than turnovers…or lack of turnovers created. The defense actually forced quite a few punts in last week's game, but for a second straight week the unit could not strip a ball or pick off a pass. In this era of high octane, high risk offenses, a defense must rely on turnovers to slow down the opposition. It's the third week in a row the A&M defense will face a high-powered offense, and for the Aggies to walk out of Jones Stadium with a much-needed win, DeRuyter's crew will need to get a turnover or two.

5) Avoid Turnovers in Run Game

Sure, Christine Michael had a career day rushing for 232 yards and scoring several touchdowns. However, despite all of the great runs and impressive spin moves, the Aggies likely win last week's game if he doesn't put the ball on the ground in the second half. Michael has had his problems with turnovers in his career, and if he puts the ball on the ground in Lubbock, it will likely cost the Aggies again. Not only does a fumble turn the ball over, but it also puts the A&M defense back on the field and it jacks up the Jones Stadium crowd. The Aggies can't fumble the ball and win.

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