Preview: Texas A&M vs. Appalachian State

The Texas A&M Aggies will face the Appalachian State Mountaineers in the second game of the season. The Aggies look to improve offensively after a sloppy win against Sam Houston State. The Mountaineers put up a fight against North Carolina last Saturday, so Texas A&M’s defense will have to come prepared. Here’s a preview of Texas A&M’s matchup against Appalachian State.

The Offense Needs to Show Efficiency

While Sam Houston State was not a bad opponent, Texas A&M’s offense has to be better. Granted, the game delay this past Saturday could have impacted the players’ motivation. Haynes King has to be much more decisive with the football and use his legs. If he doesn’t throw interceptions, the Aggies can easily control the pace of the game.

Honestly, the offensive line is the biggest concern for Texas A&M. Devon Achane is arguably more talented than Isaiah Spiller, and Achane needs to get the ball out in space. Running stretches to either side of the line, if properly blocked, should allow him to break free. If Achane is to be the best running back in the SEC, he also has to do a better job of finding those lanes like last season.

It’s very possible that Texas A&M might have to get in a shootout to win this game; more than 100 points could be scored. Moreover, if more wide receivers can play, Darrell Dickey can get a good grasp of who should start in the next game against Miami. Before getting into real competitive play, the Aggies have to prove that they can do the basics on offense.

Hopefully, Fisher can also see a bit of Max Johnson and Connor Weigman in this game. If King does struggle, it shouldn’t surprise many if Johnson comes out at some point in the game. The talent on the offense itself should be enough to put up at least 50 points against Appalachian State. Finally, more targets for Jake Johnson or other tight ends can help diversify the offense.  

Can Texas A&M’s Defense Hold Up?

Obviously, Texas A&M’s defense is much better than North Carolina’s defense. Still, it’s impressive that Chase Brice threw for six touchdowns and more than 360 yards. Furthermore, the Aggies’ run defense will be tested against the likes of Nate Noel and Camerun Peoples

While the Mountaineers do not have a standout wide receiver, it will be interesting to see how Texas A&M’s secondary fares against the depth of App State’s pass-catchers. The Aggies’ defensive backfield is definitely the leader of the unit, but how will they perform on a consistent basis?

The line of scrimmage should be fully controlled by Texas A&M’s defensive front. D.J. Durkin appears to already have gained the full trust of Jimbo Fisher, and the depth on the defensive line just makes it harder for the Mountaineers’ offense.  

Overall, the experience of Appalachian State on offense is really what stands out, especially the starters. How will that fresh, but skilled Aggies’ defense match up to the veterans?

Concluding Thoughts

This matchup will be a great test for Texas A&M, and it’s also a feel for how the SEC compares to other conferences. The Aggies and The Mountaineers have a similar standing in their respective conferences, so this game could be a measuring stick. 

Regardless, the Aggies should easily move to 2-0 after Saturday. Then, the Miami Hurricanes come to town, and that will definitely show if Texas A&M can live up to the hype. The early home-field advantage benefits the Aggies, and hopefully, they can make the most of that opportunity.