A&M vs. Army: Matchup Breakdown

As the Aggies look to rebound after the Miami game and prepare for Big 12 play, the Black Knights of Army come to Kyle Field in what should be a great matchup for A&M. Both teams began the season with slow starts, as Texas A&M holds the only win between the pair, and sits at 1-2. The Aggies are 0-2 on Kyle Field this season, and must win the battle in the following areas to improve on that mark.

A&M Passing Game vs. Army Secondary

With rumors of Stephen McGee being ready for Saturday's ballgame, this should be an excellent chance to test out both quarterbacks in preparation for Big 12 play. While the Black Knight secondary has only allowed 169 passing yards per game through 3 games with a high of 204, opposing quarterbacks have completed a solid 65% of their passes for a pass efficiency rating of 139.34.

Look for Jeff Fuller to tie or break the freshmen record for wide receiver touchdowns on Saturday, as none of the Army cornerbacks have the size to effectively contain him. The one thing army does well in the secondary is limiting the big play, as their opponents have only completed one pass over 30 yards. The Aggies may have to continue to rely on intermediate passes to move down the field.

Advantage: Texas A&M

A&M Running Game vs. Army Defensive Front

The Army front seven has been average at best against their 3 opponents, yielding 4 yards per rush and 140 yards per game this year. More importantly, they have allowed these yards to backs nowhere near the caliber of Mike Goodson, Cyrus Gray, Bradley Stephens, or Keondra Smith. The Black Knights are led by sophomore defensive end Josh McNary, who hails from Houston and leads the team in tackles with 25, including 3 for a loss.

Another big story line will be the carries, or lack of, of fullback Jorvorskie Lane. Attitude and weight aside, Jorvorskie remains one of, if not the, premier scoring threat in the Big 12, and at the very least utilizing Lane will give Big 12 coaches yet another stud back to have to plan against.

If Texas A&M can limit the turnovers on offense, they should have a monster game. I believe coach Mike Sherman will open up the offense for his two quarterbacks, tipping his hand to fans and fellow coaches as to what this offense is capable of, and in the process giving his players confidence that they can be a success heading into conference play.

Advantage: Texas A&M

Army Passing Game vs. A&M Seconday

The Army passing game is virtually non-existent, due largely to the veer attack new coach Stan Brock has instilled. However, Army is further hampered by their transparency of their attack. Carson Williams is the quarterback for passing downs, having thrown 33 of their 39 total attempts, while Chip Bowden is the QB used largely for the normal offense, with 35 rush attempts compared to only 4 passes.

In total, the Black Knights have thrown for only 232 yards all season, which, for those of you keeping score at home, is 43 yards less that Texas A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson threw for in his starting debut against a much tougher defense than Army has seen thus far. With the Aggies able to accurately predict the nature of the offensive play before the ball is snapped, the secondary should have no problem holding Army to under 100 yards of total offense through the air.

Advantage: Texas A&M

Army Running Game vs. A&M Defensive Front

This is the one area of the game that could test Texas A&M's ability. With the veer running attack, gap assignments are crucial, and the young linebackers for the Aggies have not yet shown that they can consistently fill their lane. Texas A&M has given up an abysmal 5.7 yards per rush, and has allowed it's 3 opponents to run for an average of 210 yards per game.

Senior Colin Mooney, another Houston native, will lead the rushing charge for the Black Knights, but Army likes to rotate in many players in its rushing attack, with 10 players having over 5 rushing attempts so far this year. Given the lack of a passing game, it will be interesting to see if defensive coordinator Joe Kines chooses to blitz as frequently as he has done in the past, or stick to a base defense and allow his young linebacking corps to make the correct reads.

Advantage: Push

A&M Special Teams vs. Army Special Teams

In a classic case of the stoppable force and the movable object, Texas A&M has returned 15 kickoffs this year for a disappointing 15.6 yard average, while the Black Knights of Army has allowed an astonishing 215 yards of returns on only 5 kickoffs, for a 43 yard average. The battle of field position will be in A&M's favor due to the punting game, however, as senior Justin Brantly averages 10 more yards per kick than the Black Knights' squad, with a 46 yard average.

In the Black Knights' favor, however, is the field goal kicking unit, with Matthew Campbell perfect on the year at 2 for 2, while Richie Bean is a frustrating 1 for 4. Army's best return man is sophomore Patrick Mealy with a 23 yard return average, which is a number he should again reach as the Aggies allow that same average of yards per kick. Overall, the Aggies should reap the rewards from putting most of its playmakers on the field in the return game, and hopefully will not have to rely too heavily to be successful.

Advantage: Texas A&M

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