A&M vs. Colorado: Matchups

The Aggies return home after a solid road victory against Iowa State, and are favorites for only the third time this year as the host the Colorado Buffs. Aggie Websider's Taylor Freeman takes a look at the matchups for this Saturday's game at Kyle Field.

If there was ever a mirror team for Texas A&M to play, it would be this year's Colorado Buffaloes. While Texas A&M has had its well documented defensive struggles, Colorado has had extreme problems moving the football, showcased in their 58-0 loss to Missouri. This was the first shutout Colorado has experienced in, get this, 20 years, with the last coming against Nebraska in 1988. This game will be a test to see which weaker unit wins out, and one of these units and teams will leave Kyle happy. Let's take a look at the matchups.

Texas A&M Passing Game vs. Colorado Pass Defense

Jerrod Johnson is setting records at a blistering pace. He broke another one last week, when he completed 79.5 percent of his passes, en route to a 31-39, 381 yard performance. On top of that, he was able to reach those numbers because the receiving corps has markedly improved every game. They are clicking on all cylinders and have established 3 go-to guys in Jeffery Fuller, Ryan Tannehill, and tight end Jamie McCoy.

Attempting to stop this attack is a Buff defense who has allowed a Big 12 low 213 yards per game through the air. They are led by senior Ryan Walters who average 7.4 tackles per game and has two interceptions and three fumble recoveries on the year. Unlike Iowa State, this defense tries to limit the big play and not contest the throwing lanes, so while Jerrod's completion percentage may be at another season best level, he must be content with marching the ball through intermediate passes to be successful.

Advantage: Texas A&M

Texas A&M Rushing Game vs. Colorado Rush Defense

The good news for Texas A&M is not only that Michael Goodson is reported to be back for this game, but also that veteran right tackle Travis Schneider is good to go as well. Given the circumstances, the offensive line has held up fine with what they have had to work with, but there is no grading on a curve on Saturdays. The Aggie line will need to do a better job of displacing people to be effective.

Colorado's defensive front seven has not been tested heavily in the run game, save for two games against West Virginia and Florida State earlier in the season, where they gave up 311 and 259 yards, respectively. In Big 12 play, they have yet to allow a team to rush for over 200 yards, although they have faced pass-heavy teams most of the way. With Goodson and Schneider back in the arsenal, this will be a tie, although if either of them cannot play then Colorado gets the nod.

Advantage: Push

Colorado Passing Game vs. Texas A&M Pass Defense

Colorado's passing attack has been abysmal this season, with yards per game, average per attempt, and completion percentage all Big 12 lows. Last week they were led by freshman quarterback Tyler Hansen, who was just 12 for 16 for 72 yards, and Cody Hawkins, who was 9 for 17 for 86 yards. While they run two quarterbacks, both have similar strengths and weaknesses, so it should not be a challenge to contain this unit.

I say should, however, because Texas A&M must learn to take away passing lanes and not just be content with making the tackle. While A&M ranks third in total passing defense, they have given up Big 12 lows in completion percentage and yards per attempt. Even worse, they have been atrocious on third downs, allowing drives to extend which further hurts the defense. They do not face a tough task this weekend, but they did not against Iowa State either, and must to a better job here at home.

Advantage: Texas A&M

Colorado Rushing Game vs. Texas A&M Rush Defense

You don't quite know what to make of this Colorado running game. Two weeks ago, they torched Kansas State's defense for 247 yards on the ground, and subsequently followed it up with a 47 yard outing against Missouri. There was much hype surrounding this attack after the number one running back in the nation, Darrell Scott, committed last year, but as a true freshman he has been used sparingly in favor of Rodney Stewart. The Buffs rank 11th in the Big 12 in rushing, and have scored a miserable 5 touchdowns on the ground this year.

However, this could be a turnaround week for Hawkins' crew. Texas A&M is pacing the Big 12 for rushing defensive ineptitude in almost every category, and has allowed 20 rushing touchdowns through just 8 games. Despite a gritty performance against Oklahoma State, this unit has allowed the ball to be moved at will, and has yet to find a leader or force in the front seven apart from the defensive end position. As bad as the Buffs may be, in this area the Aggies may be fielding their worst run defense in history.

Advantage: Colorado

Special Teams

Another sore spot for both teams, one unit may look good simply by default after this week's game. Both side's coverage teams have been awful; specifically punt returns for Texas A&M and kickoff returns for Colorado. The deciding factor here is the field goal unit, with freshman kicker Randy Bullock providing hope for the Aggies, while the Buffs have only connected on three of ten tries this year.

Advantage: Texas A&M


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