The Texas A&M Aggies come off a big win against Prairie View A&M this past Saturday at Kyle Field. Now, the Aggies will play their last game of the regular season against the LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge. The last time Texas A&M went to Death Valley, Joe Burrow and the Tigers put 50 points on the Aggies. However, LSU’s football program has taken a considerable drop after its national championship in 2019. Texas A&M is favored by a touchdown in this game, and the Aggies will have to rely more on their passing game to beat LSU. Here are the pivotal matchups in this game that will determine which team comes out on top.
Matchup 1: Zach Calzada vs. LSU’s Secondary
As always, Texas A&M’s running backs will likely be fed the ball to start the game. However, the Aggies’ offense might need to rely more on Zach Calzada‘s arm in this matchup, for LSU’s defensive front has significantly improved in the running game. In their past three games, the Tigers have allowed less than 100 rushing yards per game against strong opponents, which is much better compared to LSU’s first game against UCLA.
Overall, LSU’s secondary has played well without their juniors Derek Stingley and Cordale Flott on the field. The firing of head coach Ed Orgeron has caused a few of LSU’s players to transfer, including freshman five-star Elias Ricks. While the Tigers’ squad is rather depleted, they have shown heart and poise in their recent games.
If LSU’s defensive front is able to stop Isaiah Spiller and Devon Achane at the line of scrimmage, Calzada will have to drop back and make some big plays. He has multiple weapons in Ainias Smith, Jalen Wydermyer, Demond Demas, etc. who can wreck havoc even on SEC defenses. If Calzada can get the ball to his playmakers, Texas A&M should be able to move down the field; the Aggies’ receivers must win one-on-one matchups against the likes of Dwight McGlothern and Raydarious Jones to get rolling on offense.
Matchup 2: Tyrion Davis-Price vs. Texas A&M’s Defensive Front
LSU’s offense hasn’t lived up to its potential this season. After Myles Brennan suffered an injury just before the season, Max Johnson took over as starting quarterback for the Tigers. Prior to the Florida game, LSU just could not get the running game going. Tyrion Davis-Price changed that against the Gators, rushing for 287 yards and three touchdowns. Since then, however, Johnson has failed to produce against SEC defenses in the passing game.
Meanwhile, Texas A&M’s defense has been dominant for the most part of this season. Jimbo Fisher can depend on his defensive coordinator Mike Elko to prepare his secondary for LSU’s talented pass-catchers including Jack Bech, Brian Thomas, and Malik Nabers. It will be the responsibility of the Aggies’ defensive line and linebackers to hold up Davis-Price and limit him to under 100 rushing yards in this game. Otherwise, Texas A&M’s defense will be in for a long night. This year, the Aggies’ defense has proven itself to be the second best in the SEC.
Baton Rouge is a tough environment, and Texas A&M will have to play its best game to leave Death Valley with a win against LSU. If Calzada plays well in this game, he can make a statement for the starting quarterback job heading into next season; lots of headlines in this matchup prior to the bowl game for the Aggies.
With a win in this game against LSU, Texas A&M would finish 9-3 on the season. Jimbo Fisher has done a great job adjusting to his backup quarterback, and Fisher has guided his team to a win over Alabama and one game away from a 0.750 winning percentage on the year.