1) Defense Must Stop Run and Get Off Field
LSU will try to use its power run game for two reasons. First, Coach Miles wants to keep the ball away from the potentially explosive Texas A&M offense and shorten the game with long, time-consuming drives. Second, LSU wants to wear down an under-sized defensive front that does not like to rotate often. Even if the Aggies can stay close to the Tigers through the first three quarters, a tired A&M front seven will turn soft and LSU will own the fourth quarter. If Texas A&M can stay off the field in the first half, they may be able to hold the rope through the fourth quarter.
2) Texas A&M Must Jump Out to an Early Lead
Another way to stop LSU's power rushing attack is to jump out to an early lead and force the Tiger offense to play catch-up through the air. For Texas A&M to win the game on Saturday, they must have a good first half and go into the locker room with more than a one score lead. If LSU goes to the break with lead, they simply have to hold-on to the ball and move the pile forward on offense and kill the clock.
3) Employ Zone Read Elements and Build in Wrinkles
The LSU defense is big and fast. In fact, this unit may be the best in the nation giving up only 219 yards a contest. Statistically, they are behind only SEC rival Alabama. Johnny Manziel and the A&M offense won't have success in standard 5-step drops and long sideline routes by Mike Evans that the duo likes so much. The LSU DB's are simply too good to allow separation without some type of strategic diversion. Manziel's running ability is good enough to garner the attention of defenders. So Coach Kingsbury must leverage Manziel's threat to run in the zone read and throw out of these sets on some quick timing routes. A&M has some good athletes on offense, but as a unit they simply don't match up athletically with LSU, so to beat the Tiger defense Kingsbury must outsmart them schematically and create different plays out of different looks. Basically, A&M can't be predictable. They can't line up and say "my eleven are better than your eleven."
4) Johnny Football Must Protect the Ball
Manziel is going to see a much better defense and a much faster defense than he's seen since week one. The windows of opportunity will be tighter and more difficult to exploit. The worst consequence for Manziel is to get impatient and try to force passes into small windows. When scrambling and running, Manziel can't get too greedy and avoid big hits that will certainly come from LSU if he takes defenders head-on like he has against smaller, slower defenses.
5) Damontre Moore Must Have a Big Game
LSU is dinged up along the offensive line, so A&M has an opportunity to create some plays if and when the Tigers are forced to pass…and A&M's playmaker is Damontre Moore. Moore has had an all-SEC and even an all-American caliber season so far, so he will need to show up and lead this defense in establishing big plays on defense.
Five Keys to Victory - LSU
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