A&M's journey to Jones AT&T Stadium for Saturday's 6 p.m. kickoff could
be the last time the Aggies face off against Texas Tech in the foreseeable
A&M's departure from the Big 12 has been media fodder for months but was recently made official by both Texas A&M brass and Southeastern Conference officials. If this weekend's clash is the final meeting between the two, the game sets up to be an epic battle.
A&M's passing attack is led by Ryan Tannehill.
The senior from Big Spring has completed 100-of-147 passes for 1,139 yards with six TDs and 5 INT's this season; backup Jamiell Showers is 4-4 with no TDs or INTs.
Additionally, Tannehill is the Aggies' 3rd leading rusher with 15 carries for 121 yards, including a 65-yard scamper against Oklahoma State, and one TD.
Junior running back Christine Michael, pronounced like Kristen, is A&M's leading rusher. So far, he has 57 carries for 408 yards and five scores.
Next on the depth chart is senior Cyrus Gray, who has 80 rushes for 363 yards and 6 trips to the end zone this season. Gray is actually listed as the starter but Michael has been slightly more productive this season. Besides their combined 11 rushing scores, Tannehill has the only other rushing score for the Aggies.
Jeff Fuller, a 6-4 senior is A&M's best receiver. Fuller has 26 receptions for
268 yards and two scores. Ryan Swope is next for A&M and he also has 26
catches, but for 380 yards and two more touchdowns and the other weapon for the
Aggies is Uzoma Nwachuku who
has 17 catches for 175 yards but no scores.
Running back Cyrus Gray and backup Hutson Prioleau have the other receiving TDs for the Aggies, but the main threats in A&M's receiving group are Fuller, Swope and Nwachuku.
Quarterback Seth Doege leads the Texas Tech offense so far completing 118-161 passes for 1,315 yards with 14 TDs and one INT on the season.
Despite throwing his first INT of the season last week against Kansas, Doege has been very sharp through the first part of the 2011 slate.
Eric Stephens paces Tech's rushing attack with 87 carries for 468 yards and seven TDs. Next is true freshman DeAndre Washington with 21 carries for 106 yards and two scores.
4-star tailback Kenny Williams had his redshirt removed and became the 11th true freshman to play during the Nevada game. His future is bright but he's managed only five yards on six carries. Look for his workload to increase. Listed at 5-9 and 214 pounds, he may be the closest thing Tech has to a goal line back.
Eric Ward has really stepped up for the Red Raiders while Darrin Moore has been out with a knee and ankle injury suffered early in the game against Nevada. The sophomore from Wichita Falls has 20 catches for 215 yards and seven scores in that span including three consecutive multi-touchdown games which hasn't been done since 2008.
Darrin Moore has 21 catches for 339 yards and four TDs, before going down with the injury, and Tommy Tuberville was asked about Moore's availability for Saturday's contest during his radio show Thursday evening. He said Moore has practiced some all week and looks like he may be able to play. No number was given, but odds are that Moore is well south of 100%.
Doege has done a good job about sharing the wealth as Jacoby Franks, Bradley Marquez and Tramain Swindall each have one score. Beyond that, emerging freshman tight end, Jace Amaro, has five catches for 36 yards and two scores.
Finally Cornelius Douglas is another weapon in the arsenal as he has 10 catches for 150 yards and was instrumental in keeping drives alive and getting extra yards at Kansas last weekend. Though he didn't score, last weekend's game was something of a breakout performance for him.
Much has been written about Texas A&M's defensive rank against the pass. So far this year, A&M ranks 120th out of 120 Football Bowl Subdivision teams. Statistics can be used and manipulated for argument's sake. It may be that A&M is terrible at pass defense, or it may be that they have played a couple of prolific passing offenses. Either way, it will be interesting to see how the wrecking crew defense fares against Texas Tech's veritable cornucopia of reliable receivers.
With that said, an equally vital part of Saturday's game centers around defensive coordinator Chad Glasgow's personnel. Can the Red Raiders slow down two of the Big 12's finest running backs? Glasgow's boys welcomed defensive lineman Leon Mackey back from injury last week and this week will get another much-needed player with the return of defensive end Scott Smith. Jones Stadium has provided Texas Tech with a fearsome home field advantage but it may not be enough this weekend.