Texas A&M Football 3 Keys: Ole Miss

Texas A&M football Three Keys

The Texas A&M Aggies arrive at a moment of great importance. With LSU being their only remaining SEC opponent after this one, Texas A&M knows that if it wins this game, it will force Alabama to run the table to win the SEC West.

By Matt Zemek

Alabama’s games against Arkansas and especially Auburn will not be a walk in the park. A&M is still very much in the division title hunt. If it somehow wins the SEC West, that is a game-changer for Jimbo Fisher. Even though Alabama is down this year, the idea that A&M could have won the West was ludicrous when the Aggies lost at home to Mississippi State. It seemed then that the Aggies would finish close to the bottom of the division. Now they can finish near the top if they can overcome Ole Miss on the road in Oxford. Let’s look at what the Aggies need to do in order to put the pressure on Alabama down the stretch.

1 – Find a quick, short pass play which can reliably get yards

Texas A&M and Fisher will need to protect Zach Calzada, the quarterback who took down Nick Saban and has led a resurgence after a terrible September. Calzada was roughed up by Auburn’s defensive line. The Aggies’ offensive line was outplayed in that game. A&M won because its defense stood tall and dominated the proceedings. It’s obvious that the offensive line has to play better, but the proliferation of “ball out quick” passing schemes makes it a natural point of focus for Fisher to devise plays which can dependably get yards against the Ole Miss defense. Whether it’s the slant, the screen, or a flat pass, or a quick hitch, Texas A&M has to find a bread-and-butter pass play in which Calzada can get rid of the ball quickly and not take too many hits. The more the Aggies can do this, the better their chances in Oxford.

2 – Pound Matt Corral

The Rebels’ quarterback is immensely talented and one of the featured attractions in SEC football this season, but A&M has to make it known that he will pay a price if he wants to run the ball. The Aggies also need to hit him in the pocket and land body blows (legally) whenever they can. The accumulated toll of the season has affected Corral’s game. Ole Miss was much more explosive in the first half of the season. The Rebels haven’t been nearly as productive or potent over the past month. Mike Elko’s defense has to play the “hits,” so to speak.

3 – 50-50 balls

While Texas A&M needs to find quick passing plays, it will likely need receivers and tight ends to win balls in the air and outmuscle Ole Miss corners and safeties. There will probably be at least one or two times when an up-for-grabs pass needs to be grabbed by an Aggie receiver. Making those plays will give A&M a lot of leverage.

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