Big D's Keys to Success (10/12)

Texas A&M hasn't won in Lubbock since 1993... Aggie Websider's Dallas Shipp has the five keys for the Aggies to end that streak.

Series Record:
Texas A&M leads 34-30-1
Series Notes:
• The Aggies have not won in Lubbock since 1993
Dennis Franchione is 1-3 against Tech since taking over at A&M in 2003
Texas Tech is 8-3 against the Aggies since the formation of the Big 12 Conference
BigD03's pick:
Texas A&M +9 – This game could go one of two ways—the Aggies control the clock and it comes down to the final minutes, meaning the Aggies cover, or, Texas Tech pours it on the Aggies and the Aggie Websider message boards are blowing up by halftime.

1. Win the first quarter
The Aggies have scored a total of three points in the first quarter in the last the last three games against Miami, Baylor and Oklahoma State. Another slow start could spell disaster for head coach Dennis Franchione and the Aggies this weekend. A&M cannot fall behind early in this game. If Texas Tech jumps out to big lead, it could get ugly for the Aggies. The Aggie Websider message boards will crash and Franchione's job could be in real jeopardy by halftime. A&M needs to open up the playbook and take an early lead. For once, if they win the coin toss, taking the ball and trying to score a cheap touchdown early may be a good idea. Whatever they do, they've got to come out looking better than they have in the first quarter so far this season.

2. Win the turnover battle
The Aggies are No. 11 in the nation and lead the Big 12 with a +7 turnover margin through the first half of the season. Meanwhile, Texas Tech is No. 6 in the Big 12 (no. 59 in the NCAA) with a turnover margin of zero through six games. Creating turnovers will help the defense keep the Red Raider offense off the field and in most situations, give the Aggies good field position. Franchione teams are 23-3 in games with a turnover margin advantage and just 7-21 in games with an even or minus turnover margin.

3. Pressure Harrell
The Aggies have struggled to record a lot of sacks this year, and don't expect them to improve those numbers this weekend in Lubbock. However, against an offense like Texas Tech's sacks aren't necessarily the best way to judge the defensive line. If they can just force Harrell out of the pocket, not giving him lots of time to find open receivers, it will go a long way to helping the secondary. Last year, the Aggies actually did a pretty good job of it and was one of the biggest reasons the Aggies were in the game. If Harrell has all day to sit in the pocket, he'll pick the Aggie secondary apart finding the open receivers.

4. Tackle, Tackle, Tackle
The vast majority of the Texas Tech yardage comes after the catch, and after watching this game for the past several years, missed tackles seem to be the biggest reason A&M has struggled. Texas Tech spends a lot of time looking for short to intermediate range routes in the middle of the field. If the Aggies can make the open field tackles, you can keep the Red Raiders in the 400-yard range of total offense instead of letting them rack up 600-700 yards.

5. Control the clock
Once again, Jorvorskie Lane will be called upon to lead the way for the Aggies. Goodson will be used as well, but a heavy dose of Jorvorskie Lane for three to five yards per carry will really help the Aggies control the flow of the game and keep the Tech offense on the sidelines. The A&M secondary has continued to struggle against the pass this year, so the best defense this weekend may be an effective offense that moves the chains and wears down the Red Raiders' defensive front.

Five Red Raiders to Watch
1. Graham Harrell, Quarterback – He's as hot as any quarterback in the country, and again, if the Aggies don't get pressure on him, it will be a long night for A&M fans.
2. Michael Crabtree, Wide Receiver – Crabtree is leading the nation in scoring, averaging nearly three touchdowns per game. He'll be a menace for the Aggie secondary, and whoever has the job of covering him will get a lot of airtime on ABC—good or bad.
3. Danny Amendola, Wide Receiver – If it weren't for Crabtree's emergence, Amendola would be the talk of the town. He's still a go to guy for Harrell and is also a threat on punt returns. Brantly will need to make him a non factor with high, booming punts when called upon.
4. Paul Williams, Linebacker – Williams is the leading tackler for the Red Raiders and will be called upon to defend against the run and containing Martellus Bennett and Joey Thomas in the middle of the field.
5. Jamar Wall, Defensive Back – McGee will have to keep an eye out for Wall. He leads the Red Raiders with two interceptions and five passes broken up this year.

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