Five Keys to Success - Arkansas

The Aggies travel to Fayetteville to battle the Razorbacks for the first time since 1990. This will also be the only trip to the Ozarks for the Aggies until at least 2024 with the next 11 meetings coming at Cowboys Stadium. Here's the five keys to success for the Aggies on Saturday night.

The Aggies travel to Fayetteville to battle the Razorbacks for the first time since a rare 1990 win that ended Arkansas' run in the SWC. This will also be the only trip to the Ozarks for the Aggies until at least 2024 with the next 11 meetings coming at Cowboys Stadium. Here's the five keys to success for the Aggies on Saturday night.


1) Stop Alex Collins and the Hog's Run Game

The freshman phenom is Arkansas' most dangerous weapon on offense having already tallied 481 yards on the ground. That doesn't bode well for an Aggie defense that has surrendered an average of 225 yards per game on the ground. However, the defense did show some signs of life against SMU limiting the Mustangs to 13 points and 93 yards rushing. But Arkansas will be more formidable on the ground. If A&M can hold the Razorbacks to under 150 yards rushing, that should be plenty of room for Johnny Manziel and the offense to comfortably stay ahead of Bielema's troops. Anything close to 200 yards and the offense will have a small margin for error.


2) Take Advantage of Arkansas' Secondary

The Arkansas defense isn't spectacular by any stretch, but it's a solid bunch up-front. While the defensive ends constitute the playmakers on this unit, the secondary lacks overall athleticism and speed. In other words, Mike Evans and company have an opportunity for a big game. The Arkansas staff will looking to limit Evans' touches by double covering him, but that will leave other receivers like Malcolme Kennedy, Sabian Holmes, and Derel Walker an opportunity to have a big game in single coverage. Can somebody other than Evans and Kennedy step up and take advantage of the opportunities in the defensive backfield? If that happens, this offense will be tough to contain by an Arkansas defense that simply doesn't have the horses in the secondary yet.


3) Solve Kicking Problems

The kicking woes haven't cost the Aggies a game so far this season, but if the good guys continue leaving four, five, and even six points off the board because of the inability to make an extra point or short field goal, it will eventually result in a loss at some point this season. If A&M plays to its capabilities on Saturday, the struggles likely won't matter this week as well. But when you take into account an expected sold out raucous night crowd at a location where the Aggies have won once since 1957, it should make fans nervous nevertheless.


4) Neutralize Hogs' Pass Rushing DE's

The strength of Arkansas' defense comes in the form of their bookend rush defensive ends Chris Smith and Trey Flowers. Together, the duo has registered 8.5 sacks. They will be hard-pressed to match those kind of numbers against Jake Matthews and Cedric Ogbuehi, but the only way to slow down Johnny Manziel is to collapse the pocket before he can plan his escape route and do his thing. If the Razorback defensive front isn't successful getting to Manziel early, the Aggie offense will sizzle and it will be a long, long night for the home team in Fayetteville. That won't be calling the Hogs you hear coming from the stands.


5) Play a Clean Game

Ultimately, Texas A&M is the better team this season. The Aggie offense is a juggernaut led by Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel and potential first round picks Jake Matthews and Mike Evans. With Bret Bielema in year one of a rebuilding job, the Razorbacks have too much to overcome in this match-up…unless, the Aggies help by turning the ball over multiple times. Texas A&M rolled into Oxford last season as significant favorites, and after six turnovers were lucky to escape with an improbable last minute victory. If A&M loses the turnover battle by three or more, that makes this a nailbiter. Play a clean game and minimize Arkansas' chances for easy scores, and this game should reflect the 15-point spread listed in Vegas.

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