The Texas A&M Aggies are set to face the Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday at AT&T Stadium. The game will air on CBS at 2:30 pm CST. This will be the Aggies’ first SEC matchup, and it should be a thriller with both teams in the AP Top 25. There are still questions on the offensive side of the ball for Texas A&M. The Aggies need to come prepared with an attacking mindset against this stout Razorbacks’ defense. KJ Jefferson, the Razorbacks’ quarterback, has also looked impressive in Arkansas’s first three games. However, those efforts by Jefferson will be tough to replicate against this Aggies’ defense. Check out the key matchups in this game that will decide which team comes out with a win.
Isaiah Spiller and Devon Achane vs. Arkansas’s Run Defense
The only true test for the Arkansas Razorbacks thus far was their game against the Texas Longhorns at home. Arkansas won in a blowout, but the Longhorns ended the game with 138 rushing yards. Granted, Texas does feature running back Bijan Robinson who is one of the best players in the country, but there’s no reason to think that Isaiah Spiller and Devon Achane can’t do better than that. The Aggies’ offensive line against the Razorbacks’ defensive front will be another crucial matchup in deciding how A&M runs their offense.
If Texas A&M dominates the line of scrimmage, Spiller and Achane should be fed the ball consistently to win the game. Unfortunately, the offensive line has not been nearly as dependable as last year. If the Razorbacks are able to stop the run, Spiller and Achane should still get the ball through screens and short passes to keep the defense on its heels. Moreover, continuing to run the ball will be effective for the Aggies in the play-action game.
Getting the ball to the Aggies’ playmakers such as Spiller, Achane, and running back Ainias Smith will lead to longer drives. As well as get Zach Calzada comfortable in the pocket. Calzada needs to become more poised, and that starts with getting the ball out quickly. Once he builds that confidence, he can step up and throw the ball to the likes of Demond Demas, Caleb Chapman, and Chase Lane. Jalen Wydermyer also has to be more involved. The offense must gain more balance in time for Alabama within two weeks.
KJ Jefferson vs. Aggies’ Secondary
Honestly, it’s hard to know what to expect from Jefferson in this game. Will offensive coordinator Dan Enos lean more on the run or pass for the Razorbacks to come out victorious? Everyone knows that the Aggies’ defense is for real, and it’s making a case for being the best in the SEC. Jefferson will need to have a big game, but he also has to be smart with the football.
The Razorbacks have some good receivers in Treylon Burks, Tyson Morris, and De’Vion Warren. Arkansas may go to the passing game, but Jefferson must limit his turnovers against the Aggies’ secondary. Any mistakes will really hurt the Razorbacks by putting them behind early. Trelon Smith has had a good year on the ground for Arkansas so far, but it will be much harder for him against Texas A&M’s front seven. No team has really had success running the ball for four quarters against the Aggies.
Sam Pittman understands that the team can depend on its defense in this game. If the Razorbacks offense plays a clean game, they should keep it close till the fourth quarter. From there, Jefferson can lead the offense to the finish line. Either way, don’t sleep on the Razorbacks’ offense; that squad is for real this season.
Texas A&M still has their playoff hopes in front of them, but this matchup against Arkansas this Saturday will be a deciding factor for the Aggies’ season. Should the Aggies lose this game, their hopes of reaching their first SEC Championship will definitely be in jeopardy.
Zach Calzada is bound to have a big game at AT&T Stadium, and he can prove that he is capable of being the Aggies’ starting quarterback. There’s still a wide talent gap between Texas A&M and Arkansas, and the Aggies should make that statement come this Saturday. Jimbo Fisher has absolutely no excuse for his team to not come away with a win in this game.