1. Stop Calvin Dawson and the ULM running game
Louisiana-Monroe running back Calvin Dawson is on a roll—literally. He's rushed for 100 yards in each of his last seven games dating back to 2006, which was built primarily against Sun Belt Conference opponents. However, he ran for 121 yards against Clemson last week, so he's capable of running against the big boys from the BCS conferences. In fact, those kind of opponents motivate Dawson even more.
"It's very different and it does motivate me," Dawson said. "I feel like I've got to prove a point to them, to show them that I can play with the bigger guys, too. I can compete at your level, too. It's really wanting to make a point that y'all are human just like me."
After being exposed by Fresno State's offensive line a bit in the second half last week, Dawson will be an extremely good test for the Aggies' defensive front.
2. Score—a lot.
Fans are starting to get restless with the lack of offensive prowess against Montana State and Fresno State in the Aggies' first two games. And while running up the score is not really that important to A&M head coach Dennis Franchione and the Aggies, throwing for 200+ yards and putting up 40-50 points sure will make everyone's life easier inside the Bright Complex heading into the Thursday night game against Miami next week. The Warhawks are giving up 42 points per game, and the Aggies need to continue that trend.
Franchione still claims that the Aggies are holding part of their offensive playbook close to the chest, but look for him to open things up a bit to take pressure off of quarterback Stephen McGee. If the Aggies post another sub-100-yard passing effort, expect anther interesting post-game press conference.
3. Continue dominating on the ground
A&M is averaging 289.5 yards per game on the ground, and after two weeks of the 2007 season, McGee is the nation's leading rusher among quarterbacks. The running game is the catalyst of this offense and this week will be no different. Running back Mike Goodson is the only member of the A&M backfield who hasn't had a breakout game yet. If fullback Chris Alexander bounces back from an unknown injury against Fresno State, this could be the game that Goodson steps up and hits the century mark.
4. Gain confidence in the secondary
The warhawks are averaging 107 yards through the air in their first two games and are completeing less than 40 percent of their pass attempts. This could be a big weekend for the Aggies to gain some confidence in their secondary. Marquis Carpenter and Arkeith Brown have looked really good at cornerback at times through the first two games of the year, but A&M will need solid years from Jordan Peterson and Danny Gorrer if they're going to achieve many of their season goals. I expect a solid performance from the A&M secondary this weekend, allowing 150 yards or less through the air and hauling in a couple of turnovers on defense.
5. Play for 60 minutes
The Aggies put together an impressive second half against Montana State in the season opener, and a dominating performance in the first half against Fresno State last weekend at Kyle Field. In fact, the Aggies have really played pretty well for three quarters in each of the first two games, but have slipped up for one quarter in each game that has really haunted them.
In the season opener against Montana State, the Aggies gave up five first downs on six third down attempts by the Bobcats in the first quarter and allowed a scoring drive without much resistance. A&M allowed just two conversions on 13 third-down attempts the rest of the game.
Last week, the Aggies allowed 103 yards of total offense in the first half against Fresno State, but came out flat in the third quarter, giving up 14 points in the third quarter that turned a blowout into a hard fought game.
The Aggies need to put together 60 solid minutes of football this week and prove to fans that they have the capability of driving the nail into the coffin of their opponents.
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