UTAH – TEXAS A&M PREVIEW

Will the Utes be able to compete with Texas A&M down in College Station in front of the crazy fans at Kyle Field? It is a big test for the Utah football program as a whole and, it could serve as a starting point to building a successful program in Salt Lake City.

Looking at this game strictly on paper it should be a mismatch. The Aggies are bigger, stronger, faster, and play at home to boot. But that's why they play the games.

UTAH RUNNING GAME VS AGGIE RUN DEFENSE - Utah was successful using the spread offense in its opening game. The key performer was Brandon Warfield, who ran for 173 yards and a touchdown. He will need another huge game for the Utes to be successful not only running the football, but also allowing the running game to take pressure off of the passing attack.

Texas A&M has a reputation on defense as the "Wrecking Crew". They are especially known for linebackers, and this year is no exception. Leading the way in their opening win over Arkansas State was a true freshman, OLB Justin Warren. Get used to that name; you will hear it a lot over the coming years around college football. They also have SLB Archie McDaniel and MLB Jared Morris in the starting lineup that can both play at a high level. Up front the Aggies are really big with both DTs going over 290-pounds. It will be very hard to run on the Aggies.

ADVANTAGE: Texas A&M.

UTAH PASSING GAME VS AGGIE PASS DEFENSE - If Brett Elliott was ever going to have an error free game, this is the time. After an opening game in which he caught seven passes for 103 yards and a touchdown, wide receiver Paris Warren needs to come up big once again. The Utes need to find a compliment to Warren so he doesn't see constant double teams all day long.

The Aggies are always aggressive in their pass defense, usually playing a lot of tight man-to-man coverage as a rule. With newly hired defensive coordinator Carl Torbush now on the Aggie staff look for that to continue. The Aggies do not have a bona fide All-American in the secondary, but there is a lot of talent as a whole. Watch and see if cornerbacks Sean Weston and Byron Weston gamble and try to intercept passes. Look for them to take their shots.

ADVANTAGE: Texas A&M.

AGGIE RUNNING GAME VS UTES DEFENSE - Derek Farmer is one of the nation's most underrated tailbacks. He actually started as a true freshman against Notre Dame two seasons ago. But he may not even be the best tailback on the roster. Red-shirt freshman Courtney Lewis is a serious talent and could be the next great tailback in the Big XII Conference. Both players will see considerable action.

With Jason Kaufusi likely missing the game because of his shoulder injury it will probably mean very few negative yardage plays for the Ute defense, and could lead to an up hill battle against the Aggies offense in general if they control the line of scrimmage. The Utes will get back linebacker Zach Tune who missed the first game due to suspension.

ADVANTAGE: Texas A&M.

AGGIE PASSING GAME VS UTES DEFENSE - The Aggies have a lot of weapons at the wide receiver position, starting with Terrance Murphy and Jamar Taylor, who actually played for coach Meyer at Notre Dame before transferring to College Station. Both players have NFL ability. Dustin Long and Reggie McNeil are talented signal callers that can get it done. McNeal can beat you with his feet or with his legs. Keep that in mind.

The Utes surrendered 280 passing yards to Utah State, but that is somewhat misleading because they abandoned the running game and threw the ball on virtually every down after getting behind. Still, the Aggies have a talent advantage here that can and will be exploited if everyone is on the same page unlike their first game against Arkansas State.

ADVANTAGE: Texas A&M.

SPECIAL TEAMS - This is the area that really should concern both head coaches. Early in the season everyone is susceptible to blocked kicks and kicking game snafus in general. The Aggies have more talent, but coach Meyer is an excellent special teams coach.

ADVANTAGE: Even.

INTANGIBLES - This game means a heck of lot more to Utah than it does to Texas A&M. Let's be honest, the Aggie players are expecting to roll over the Utes. That should serve as motivation and an opportunity to pull the upset. Coach Meyer is a great motivator and you know he will use this aspect to his advantage.

PREDICTION: Aggies 31 Utes 14


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