KICKING THE TIRES: Texas A&M University

KansasStateLeftTexasA&MRight

Kansas State Wildcats (3-3 | 1-1) VS. Texas A&M Aggies (3-2 | 0-1)

Harley Day
Bill Snyder Family Stadium - Manhattan, Kan.
Saturday, Oct. 17, 2009 - 6:00 PM CST

FCS

 

Strike up "The Cross of Galahad" and kick-start your Harley, because the Fighting Texas Aggies are coming to town for a rumble. Gig 'em on past the jump for a preview of this week's opponent.

KEY PLAYERS

 

K-State

Passing
Carson Coffman (66 of 111, 815 yards, 2 TD, 4 INT)

Receiving
Brandon Banks (24 catches, 294 yards, 1 TD)

Rushing
Daniel Thomas (127 carries, 578 yards, 4 TD)

Wild Card
Attrail Snipes (14 catches, 242 yards, 2 TD)

 

TAMU

Passing
Jerrod Johnson (127 of 211, 1,579 yards, 14 TD, 0 INT)

Receiving
Ryan Tannehill (20 catches, 308 yards, 3 TD)

Rushing
Cyrus Gray (72 carries, 314 yards, 2 TD)

Wild Card
Von Miller (24 tackles, 11 TFL, 9 sacks, 1 PBU, 1 FF)

 

KEY STATS

Rushing Offense
TAMU (28) > K-State (38 | -2)

Passing Offense
TAMU (9) > K-State (91 | -1)

Total Offense
TAMU (4) > K-State (75 | -12)

Scoring Offense
TAMU (12) > K-State (99 | -12)

Rushing Defense
K-State (50 | -12) > TAMU (81)

Pass Efficiency Defense
TAMU (67) > K-State (84 | -62)

Total Defense
K-State (53 | -37) > TAMU (83)

Scoring Defense
K-State (66 | -37) > TAMU (85)

Net Punting
TAMU (39) > K-State (92 | +9)

Punt Returns
K-State (28 | +3) > TAMU (62)

Kickoff Returns
K-State (23 | -19) > TAMU (54)

Turnover Margin
TAMU (26) > K-State (61)

Pass Defense
K-State (65 | -58) > TAMU (81)

Passing Efficiency
TAMU (26) > K-State (71)

 

Analysis

Holy shit, that's a lot of red.

As you might expect, our painful encounter with the Red Raiders pretty much resulted in Mike Leach tentacle-raping our way-overinflated pass defense statistics. What I didn't foresee, though, is that Tech's normally impotent running game had the same effect on our rush defense statistics. Net result? An uncomfortable similarity to Ron Prince-era defensive numbers. We're not quite back to the triple digits yet, but we still have Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri to look forward to.

Time to get Halloween started early with my scary thought for the week: Texas A&M actually is ranked higher than Texas Tech in several offensive categories -- most notably rushing offense, of course. This does not augur well for a beleaguered and confidence-less defense limping home from the South Plains.

And if seeing Sticks Sheffield tear us apart wasn't fun enough, now we get to enjoy the same treatment whilst also watching our defenders bend down and grasp their ankles while Jerrod Johnson does his best Austen-Arnaud-times-two impression tomorrow night.

We have two chances to keep this game close and possibly even winnable in the fourth quarter. The battle plan is the same as last week; we just need to execute it 500 percent better. A&M has a weaker run defense than we do, and we need to not abandon the run in the first quarter like we did in Lubbock. Daniel Thomas should be able to net yards on these guys. That's key, because regardless if Carson Coffman or Grant Gregory gets the start, the pass rush they witnessed in Jones SBC Stadium will seem like being charged by geriatrics in walkers, compared to what Von Miller is going to do to Clyde Aufner.

On top of that, we have to make plays on special teams. Kick returns, punt returns, blocked kicks... I really don't care what. But it's become painfully clear that our offense never is going to score enough points to challenge "normal" Big 12 offenses conventionally, so our special teams need to manufacture scores to make up the difference. I'd say our defense could force turnovers to help, but despite Jeffrey Fitzgerald's wonderful interception runback, our defense in general is going to have little success doing so because you actually have to hit a guy before you can jar the ball loose.

All I can say is this: Thank God it's a night game at the Bill and it's Harley Day. The atmospheric boost we will get from that just might jar the Aggies enough in their first game outside the state of Texas, and away from friendly crowds, to crack open the door to victory ever so slightly.

But it's hard for me to forget that Ron Prince had to break Bill Snyder's five-game losing streak to the Aggies, a team that has given him even more heartache than Texas Tech over the years. As in the 2005 game, which we lost 30-28, I think the Cats will put up a game effort, but fall just short of victory. Unfortunately, that really could unravel the season.

Prediction: Texas A&M 31, Kansas State 30

 

BracketCat's Projected Starters

QB: Carson Coffman
FB: Braden Wilson*
RB: Daniel Thomas

WR: Brandon Banks, Attrail Snipes, Lamark Brown**
TE: Jeron Mastrud
OL: Nick Stringer, Zach Kendall, Wade Weibert, Kenneth Mayfield, Clyde Aufner

DL: Daniel Calvin, Jeffrey Fitzgerald, Raphael Guidry, Brandon Harold
LB: John Houlik, Joseph Kassanavoid
DB: Troy Butler, Stephen Harrison, Emmanuel Lamur, Torrell Miller, Joshua Moore

*if we start with a fullback and two wide receivers
**if we start with three wide receivers and no fullback

 

Elsewhere in the Big 12...

Good matchups this week. I predict a slew of close, exciting games. And yes, I do think the Huskers' defense is that good. More specifically, I think Ndamukong Suh is that good. I also liked what I saw out of Baylor last week -- I think they might be good enough across the board to survive in Ames.

 

#20 Oklahoma vs. #3 Texas (in Dallas) (ABC)
Longhorns 18, Sooners 17

Texas Tech at #15 Nebraska (ABC)
Cornhuskers 24, Red Raiders 10

#17 Kansas at Colorado (FSN)
Jayhawks 31, Buffaloes 21

Baylor at Iowa State
Bears 30, Cyclones 28

Missouri at #16 Oklahoma State (ESPN2)
Cowboys 22, Tigers 20

 

All helmet images are courtesy of The Helmet Project. Check it out - it's pretty cool.

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