The Texas A&M Aggies come off their biggest win at Kyle Field after beating the Alabama Crimson Tide 41-38. Now, Texas A&M will travel to Columbia to take on the Missouri Tigers. The Aggies are heavily favored in this matchup, but they will still need to perform at a high level to come out with a win. Check out the key matchups in this game between Texas A&M and Missouri that will decide which team comes out victorious.
Matchup 1: Texas A&M’s Running Backs vs. Missouri’s Defense
The main reason the Aggies beat the Tide was due to performances from running backs Isaiah Spiller, Devon Achane, and Ainias Smith. Jimbo Fisher did a great job of scheming these playmakers open, and he will need to do more of the same to take advantage of Missouri’s struggling defense.
Missouri’s defense has allowed nearly 500 yards per game this season, mainly 300 rushing yards per game. This is a game where the offensive gameplay favors the Aggies, and they must make an effort to feed the ball to Spiller and Achane. It’s clear that these two can hurt defenses in open space, but the offensive line must win the line of scrimmage battle.
Zach Calzada made some huge plays in the win against Alabama. Likely, a heroic effort won’t be required from him in this game, but he needs to protect the ball; getting the ball to stars such as Jalen Wydermyer and Demond Demas will again be crucial to the Aggies’ offensive balance. Texas A&M seems to have its offense back in rhythm, but Calzada needs to be consistent for long-term success.
Matchup 2: Connor Bazelak vs. Texas A&M’s Secondary
Connor Bazelak is looking impressive so far this season, passing for 12 touchdowns and nearly 1700 yards. Missouri’s offense has developed into a passing attack ever since the team’s win last year at home over LSU. Head coach Eliah Drinkwitz has developed receiving threats such as Keke Chism and Tauskie Dove, who always attract the secondary’s attention.
Texas A&M’s defense limited Alabama’s pass defense on Saturday, especially in the red zone. It helps having 100,000 fans in the stands to support, which the Aggies will not have in a road game. Regardless, key players in the secondary like Leon O’Neal Jr. and Myles Jones will need to replicate their efforts from this past weekend to affirm their spot as the best defense in the SEC West. Texas A&M came into this season with expectations of having the best defense in the SEC. That has not necessarily been the case with Georgia’s outstanding defensive performance, but the Aggies have lately shown great improvement in the pass rush and secondary.
Overall, Texas A&M’s defense must limit the big plays from Missouri’s offense. The Tigers are a bit reluctant to take the yards that the defense fives, and the Aggies’ secondary could capitalize on turnovers if Bazelak makes any mistake. If Texas A&M can shut down Missouri’s run game as well, Missouri will have a tough time moving the ball across the field.
The task at hand remains simple: don’t underestimate your opponent. Texas A&M still has a lot to play for after their big win against Alabama. The Aggies must take each game a step at a time, and that starts with this Saturday’s game against Missouri. Texas A&M’s disappointing losses against Arkansas and Mississippi State took a huge hit on the Aggies’ season, and that could repeat with the matchup against Missouri. The Aggies are a talented bunch, and they cannot lose sight of their potential.