Texas A&M vs. Iowa State: Matchup

Does the matchup against the 2-5 Cyclones provide a winnable matchup for the struggling Aggies? Should Texas A&M pull of the upset in Ames? Aggie Websider's Taylor Freeman takes a look at the two teams battling it out this weekend.

Not quite. These two words define both the Aggies and the Cyclones' season thus far. Not quite on the level of the Big 12 contenders. Not quite able to put together 4 quarters of solid football against a quality opponent. While the most impressive win either of these teams has is a road victory against New Mexico, both teams have come close to upsetting a ranked foe, with Iowa St. collapsing against Kansas and Texas A&M collapsing against Tech.

This game, fortunately for both teams, is very winnable on either side. It will force one team to rise to the occasion and come out of Saturday's contest with a win. For the losing team, they will slip to 2-6, and both teams' schedules only get harder from here. In this must win game for both coaches, let's take a look at the matchups.

Texas A&M Passing Offense vs. Iowa St. Pass Defense

This should be a perfect game to test Jerrod Johnson's ability to handle pressure. Iowa St. likes to use an aggressive secondary, and will try to stay in front of their man and force an interception. However, they can also be beaten deep, allowing a conference worst 8.6 yards per attempt, and 12 touchdowns on the year.

Coach Sherman must be willing to take shots down the field, and trust his freshman receiver Jeffery Fuller to make a play deep. If Jerrod can scramble out of any collapsing pockets as well as he has done in past games, this should allow Fuller and Tannehill time to beat the aggressive coverage and pick up big gains.

Advantage: Texas A&M

Texas A&M Rushing Offense vs. Iowa St. Rush Defense

Oh, what a difference a year makes. The Aggies have not been able to get anything going on the ground, rushing for just 20 yards last week against Texas Tech. It gets worse, as starter Michael Goodson figures to be out with a strained MCL, and it is left up to Cyrus Gray and Bradley Stephens to carry the load.

Iowa St. is allowing the second most yards per attempt in the Big 12, but have not given up a run for over 50 yards all year. They are lead by senior defensive tackle Kurtis Taylor and junior linebacker Jesse Smith. Iowa St. has been susceptible to the run, but the Aggies must commit to more than 10 attempts per game if they are to show any real progress.

Advantage: Iowa St.

Iowa St. Passing Offense vs. Texas A&M Pass Defense

The Cyclone passing attack is led by sophomore signal caller Austen Arnaud, who has thrown for 1200 yards, 8 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions with an efficiency rating of 119.8. Thus far, however, he has been relatively ineffective, as the Cyclones are one of only three Big 12 teams to average less than 200 yards through the air.

The Aggie secondary, led by Trent Hunter, have been effective at containing aerial assaults if struggling to completely shut them down. In particular, Texas A&M has struggled against the more physical, athletic receivers that can overpower them physically. Luckily for the Aggies, Iowa St. lacks a true deep threat receiver that they have been searching for ever since Todd Blythe ripped apart the Aggies for 4 touchdowns 3 years ago.

Advantage: Texas A&M

Iowa St. Rushing Offense vs. Texas A&M Rush Defense

Iowa State's rushing attack mirrors their pass defense, in the fact that it has sprung big plays, but on the whole is unimpressive. Currently, even with runs of 67 and 68 yards on the season, no Iowa State back is averaging over 55 yards per game. They are led by Alexander Robinson, and explosive back who ran for the 67 yarder last week against Nebraska.

This may be a chance for the A&M run defense to get its feet back underneath them, as the Aggie front seven has looked atrocious so far this season. A&M is allowing over 200 yards per game and 5 yards per carry, and has allowed defenders to move the ball at will. Coach Sherman has shifted personnel in the unit to try and find the playmakers he needs, but so far has been unsuccessful.

Advantage: Iowa St.

Texas A&M Special Teams vs. Iowa St. Special Teams

For Texas A&M, Randy Bullock has assumed kicking duties and performed well against Texas Tech, hitting all three field goals he attempted. Justin Brantly is also performing well, continuing his impressive performance with another 45 yard average game. However, the Aggies must improve on their return teams, who have allowed big gains much of the year.

Iowa St. on the other hand does a very solid job on its return teams. They are allowing only 2.4 yards per punt return and have done well against kick returns. Their problem lies with the kicker, who has made only 10 of 15 field goals this year, and has two touchbacks on the year in 36 attempts. With Gray and Stephens back to return for the Aggies, they could challenge the Cyclones for special teams yardage.

Advantage: Iowa St.

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