The Texas A&M Aggies (3-7) are mired in the middle of their longest losing streak in 50 years.
By Steve Wright
On Saturday, they get a game that they simply must win as they take on the UMass Minutemen (1-9).
Here are the three keys to a Texas A&M victory:
1 – Who Is Healthy?
There is no way I am going to make excuses for A&M and Jimbo Fisher, as there is no reason that the Aggies should be playing with the lack of heart and energy we have seen at times this year. However, this season, Texas A & M has been blown apart by injuries and illness. Their one constant – running back Devon Achane – missed the Auburn game through injury. True freshman quarterback Conner Weigman has no one to throw the ball to – targets Evan Stewart and Max Wright became the latest pass-catching options to go down in the last game – and his development is hurting because of it. The Aggies have to find a way to get healthy this week.
2 – Remember, You Are An SEC Team
A&M may be stunningly bad for their expected level, but UMass is stunningly bad for any level. Despite everything wrong with the Aggies – from the coaching to the player’s health to the game plan – they are still an almost 35-point favorite against the Minutemen. This is a UMass team that CBS sports ranks as THE WORST in all of the FBS, sitting at No. 131 out of 131 schools. They can’t score, they can’t stop other teams, and their one win was over Stony Brook of the FCS, where they still only managed to score 20 points. The Aggies are bigger, stronger, and faster, and they need to show all those traits on Saturday with a swagger and bullying instinct that they haven’t shown in weeks.
3 – Run Over UMass
There are options here when the Aggies have the ball, as UMass doesn’t stop anything. The problem is that while Weigman is a 5-star prospect, the game is still moving very quickly for him, and there is an element of shell shock after he was thrown into the SEC fire. Running the ball is a no-brainer if Achane is healthy, but even if he isn’t, that is where the game plan should be. The Minutemen give up almost 180 rushing yards per game at a clip of 4.8 yards per carry. That isn’t even against SEC-level offensive lines like the one that the Aggies will bring. This game has to be a “run until they stop us” type of game.