Texas A&M vs. Texas Tech: Matchup

How will the Aggies compete against the rolling Red Raiders? Was the overtime game against Nebraska a sign of a chink is Tech's armor? Will the Aggies regain Kyle Field's advantage? Websider takes a look at the matchups for this Saturday's game.

Tortillas. Foil. Pirates. Batteries. Alamo. Bell Ringers. Squeeze. The heated rivalry this game has become has evolved from many events over the last decade, but however it happened, one thing is for sure; there is absolutely no love lost between these two teams. The Raiders come marching in to Kyle Field ranked in the top 10 in the nation, even while getting a scare last week with an overtime win at Nebraska. Texas A&M on the other hand is 1-3 at home, and is looking for any positives to turn around their slump. Let's take a look at how these teams match up.

Texas A&M Running Game vs. Texas Tech Run Defense

Here is a scary stat for Aggie fans: Colt McCoy is 20 yards behind Mike Goodson in total rushing yards. Unfortunately, A&M has allowed teams to jump out to early leads this season, requiring a very limited running game to what is a very talent backfield. This, coupled with the inexperienced offensive line, has left the stars like Goodson, Lane, and Gray ranked 10th in the Big 12 in rushing per game.

Also new this year is the fact that Texas Tech is fielding a competent defense. They are allowing only 104 yards per game on the ground, mainly due to the hard hitting sophomore linebacker Brian Duncan. The Aggies need their running game to be successful to keep the Tech offense off of the field, but are going against the best run defense they have gone against this year.

Advantage: Texas Tech

Texas A&M Passing Game vs. Texas Tech Pass Defense

The Texas A&M is one of the pleasant surprises of the season, in what was considered a very weak area for the team. They have improved every week, and last week allowed quarterback Jerrod Johnson to throw for a school record 419 yards. Two receivers have made a big impact this year, namely Ryan Tannehill and Jeff Fuller, and should continue to improve as the season goes on.

The Aggies will have to deal with the pass rush of McKinner Dixon, the junior defensive end who has racked up 6 sacks on the year and provides Tech with an area they have been lacking in years past. Tech's secondary can be beat, but I'd imagine Tech will blitz Jerrod all day, and if the Aggies' offensive line does not do a better job protecting him, this could be a long day for Texas A&M. If they can, however, look for Jeff Fuller to have a big day against the smaller Tech secondary.

Advantage: Push

Texas Tech Running Game vs. Texas A&M Run Defense

While many people think Texas Tech has gotten over the hump this year because of their defensive play, Tech has also reached the level it is at because they have excelled at another dimension of their offense. Tech currently has two running backs ranked in the top 10 of the Big 12 in yards per game in sophomore Baron Batch and senior Shannon Woods.

It will be a struggle for Texas A&M to contain these two, as they have had difficulties with the run all year. Additionally, defensive coordinator Joe Kines might be tempted to keep more men in the secondary to combat Tech's aerial assault, which should open up running lanes even more. The most surprising stat of this game may come from the ground game of Texas Tech.

Advantage: Texas Tech

Texas Tech Passing Game vs. Texas A&M Pass Defense

Was there any doubt who would be leading the Big 12, and the nation, in total passing yards this season? Once again, Leach's offensive attack through the air is clicking on all cylinders, with the connection from Graham Harrell to Michael Crabtree picking up where it left off last year. Both players are darkhorse Heisman candidates, and have yet to be stopped all year long.

Texas A&M should, however, provide a decent test for Tech's passing game. They come into this game ranked #1 in the Big 12 for pass defense, and have played two true freshmen that should be improving rapidly as they get experience. If A&M can play aggressive, it can throw some of Tech's smaller receivers off, and hurt the timing of Harrell's throws. There is no defense for Crabtree though, who can beat you in so many ways.

Advantage: Texas Tech

Texas A&M Special Teams vs. Texas Tech Special Teams

In what should be an emphasis for both coaches and schools, both of these squads have struggled in the past games. Texas A&M has allowed a punt return for a touchdown, a missed extra point, and a blocked kick for a touchdown, while Texas Tech's kicker has missed four extra points, and is just 3 for 7 on field goals. Luckily for him, Leach will most likely go for it on fourth down. The edge goes to Tech, who has at least returned a kick for a touchdown, something A&M has failed to do.

Advantage: Texas Tech

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