The Texas A&M Aggies will face off against the Prairie View A&M Panthers after a tough loss to Ole Miss. The Aggies are now out of contention for the SEC Championship, but they still have an opportunity to reach another New Year’s Six Bowl. Texas A&M will now face the leader of the SWAC West division before heading to Baton Rouge to battle LSU in the regular season finale. Texas A&M is heavily favored in this game, but they will still need to perform at a high level to beat the Panthers. Check out the key matchups in this game that will determine who comes out victorious.
Matchup 1: Zach Calzada vs Prairie View’s Secondary
Let’s be clear, Texas A&M’s running backs and offensive line will likely dominate Prairie View’s defensive front, so the running game should not be a problem. However, the inconsistency of Zach Calzada still does raise some questions for the Aggies. Although it is near the end of November, these last two games will have a big impact on next year for Calzada to compete with Haynes King for the starting job.
Thankfully, Calzada has a plethora of weapons: Texas A&M’s pass-catchers. Ainias Smith, Jalen Wydermyer, and Demond Demas should all have over 75 receiving yards in this game. When these guys played their best and did not drop the ball, the Aggies were very efficient on offense and there was a balance that made Texas A&M proficient in both the running and passing games.
Prairie View’s defense, on the other hand, has not faced an offense like Texas A&M this season. This will be the Panthers’ first matchup against an SEC opponent, so expect the Aggies to come out rolling with Isaiah Spiller and Devon Achane on the ground before featuring the play-action. As the game progresses, Prairie View’s secondary will be forced to play aggressive, and Texas A&M can create some big plays.
Matchup 2: Jawon Pass vs Texas A&M’s Defense
As Prairie View’s quarterback, Jawon Pass has improved over the season and put his team in the run to win the SWAC conference. In his last game, he threw for nearly 350 passing yards and three touchdowns against Alcorn State. Granted, that was against Alcorn State, but he can definitely sling the ball well.
Jawon’s top receiver is Trejon Spiller, who posted over 150 receiving yards and two touchdowns in his last game. Texas A&M’s secondary should account for him at all times, but this is nothing new for the Aggies’ defense. Texas A&M faced perhaps the best quarterback in the SEC last week: Matt Corral. The Aggies’ defensive experience should make them prepared for any in-game situation, and expect defensive coordinator Mike Elko to adjust accordingly.
Over the past few weeks, Texas A&M’s defense has consistently put the team in a good situation to win each game. If they can do the same by limiting Prairie View’s offense this Saturday, the Aggies can cover the spread. At this point of the season, Texas A&M just has to win.
After a tough loss to Mississippi State in October to reach a record of 3-2, no one thought the Aggies would be sitting at 7-3 heading into the Prairie View matchup. This season has been much of a rollercoaster ride, starting from King’s injury back in September in the Colorado game. Regardless, the Aggies must keep their head up and finish strong; that starts with a Texas A&M win against Prairie View at Kyle Field.