The Miami Hurricanes travel west to College Station to face the Texas A&M Aggies, on Saturday, September 17th. The ‘Canes will “mess with Texas” at 9pm eastern time on ESPN. This is the fourth time the ‘Canes and Aggies have faced off, with Miami holding a 2-1 lead.
Miami is 2-0 after wins over Bethune Cookman (FCS) and Southern Miss. (102nd per the SP+) while Texas A&M is 1-1 with a win over Sam Houston and a loss to 57th ranked (per SP+) App. State.
Can Jimbo Fisher bounce back after the Aggies upset loss to Appalachian State? He’s lost pairs of games before while at Texas A&M but does seem to bounce back for big games against teams like Alabama and Miami.
Miami enters the matchup as an underdog when you account for Bill Connelly’s SP+ rankings. The Aggies are 9th overall per the SP+ compared to Miami being ranked 24th overall. Texas A&M’s offense is 47th, defense 2nd and kicking is ranked 63rd. Miami’s offense is 14th, defense is 39th and kicking is 4th (holy crap what a drastic improvement).
Jimbo Fisher’s Aggies are scoring only 22.5 points per game (101st in FBS) on the season, while allowing only 8.5 PPG (13th in FBS). A&M is averaging 6.5 penalties per game and two turnovers per game as well.
In A&M’s 17-14 loss to App. State in Week 2, the Aggies managed only nine first downs on the entire day. Texas A&M committed two turnovers, forced zero turnovers, and struggled to the tune of 2-of-8 on 3rd downs. App’s Camerun Peoples rushed for 5.9 yards per carry while Chase Brice was held to only 4.5 yards per attempt.
The TAMU defense had a weird game. They allowed only 17 points even though their offense hardly had the football. Yet, the only recorded one sack, no TFL’s, four hurries and just two PBU’s. App. State managed an almost service academy like performance, converting on 3-of-5 4th down tries.
Texas A&M O
On the season, QB Haynes King has been boom or bust. he’s completing almost 65% of his passes for nine yards per attempt, but he has two interceptions with only three TD’s. King is also second on the team in rushing with 52 yards (includes sacks). The leading rusher for TAMU is Devon Achane. Achane is averaging only 3.9 yards per carry with two TD’s.
The receivers have been explosive. When they do catch the ball it goes for big plays. Yulkeith Brown is averaging 19.8 yards per catch, Ainias Smith has 18.5 yards per catch and they’ve combined for King’s three scores.
Above- I’m ready for Miami to be the creative and aggressive defense on Saturday. King is careless with the ball, all the talk about “Freak”s and “1st rounders” needs to turn potential into reality in College Station.
Above- A&M looks like they’re the G5 and App is the P5. ASU backs bouncing off arm tackles for the first score of the game. Henry Parrish better be ready for more Pinball Wizard action.
Above- Pressure creates these situations. You have the privilege of playing under pressure, but you also have to have the Mental Toughness to execute under duress. Upset their OODA Loop, keep yours loopin’.
Above- Well... one concern is going to be mobile QB’s. Can Flagg and Steed chase down a QB that can run? I’m not so sure. I like seeing James Williams near the LOS in cover 3 to the boundary and Kam Kinchens deep 1⁄4 to the field. Then let Gil Frierson get some PT near the LOS to the field side.
Above- bud you can’t throw that into blatant man without a blocker on that guy. Something else has to be open. Also- damn Appy sure can tackle!
Texas A&M D
On defense, Miami can expect defensive back Antonio Johnson to be a headache for Tyler Van Dyke and the offense. Johnson is a big dude at six-foot-three, 200 pounds and has 17 tackles on the season. Johnson also has one TFL and one sack. Demani Richardson, another DB, leads the team in TFL’s with 2.5. A&M runs a 4-2 as a base but they’ll sub package in more DB’s for situational plays.
Above- I call this style of football ‘slammin hams.’ The ‘Eers are coming right at Texas A&M and proving with the right coaching and personnel you CAN pick up a 4th and 1 from somewhere besides behind center (didn’t Alex Smith and Tim Tebow prove that forever ago, too?)
Above- When that run game starts cookin’ you can play-action and try the 1-on-1 fade ball. App does it here to NEAR perfection because it was overturned but damn good throw and catch, almost. But you can see how Van Dyke can handle this.
Above- let them get aggressive and let Van Dyke pull and run. I wouldn’t make it his bread and butter, but one inside zone read per quarter sounds right. Keep ‘em honest, make ‘em pay if they’re not.
Above- App dials up “The Mallory” on TAMU. Works like a charm because he scores.
Per ESPN, Miami has a 53.6% win expectancy over A&M. The Canyonero keys from the summer were: 1- to capitalize on potential Aggies QB drama; 2- for Miami to win the kicking game; and 3- for the ‘Canes O-Line to protect Tyler Van Dyke.
King is still Fisher’s starting QB for what we know, but the fans are unhappy with his performance and rightfully so. Miami’s kicking game has looked good with Lou Hedley doing his thing, Xavier Restrepo being a blocking menace on returns, and Andres Borregales being automatic this season as a kicker.
Here’s the one I’m concerned about, no. 3, can Miami protect Tyler Van Dyke against Texas A&M better than they did against Southern Miss? If the Golden Eagles can come away with pressures and sacks, won’t the Aggies?
Prediction: Texas A&M by 3 (strictly the home field advantage tilt).