Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma: 3 Keys To The Game

As originally posted here.

Location: Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, OK
Time: 3:30 p.m. ET Nov. 5
Weather: High – 71 F/Low – 44 F with 0% of rain.

When the Texas A&M Aggies (5-3, 3-2 Big 12) travel to Oklahoma to face the Sooners (7-1, 4-1 Big 12), it may not have come at a better time as the Sooners will be without their leading rusher, Dominique Whaley, who is likely lost for the season.

Unfortunately for the Aggies, they have the worst passing defense in the FBS, allowing an average of 318.3 yards a game and Oklahoma happens to rank no. 2 in FBS with 563.6 passing yards a game. The Aggies might have a psychological edge having won five in their last eight contests in Norman, Oklahoma and also winning their match last season. A victory for the Sooners will preserve their standing in the BCS in furthering their hopes for a national championship.

Here are the 3 keys to the game.

Who will carry the load for the Sooners?
Sophomore running back Roy Finch was strong in relief of Whaley running for 73 yards and a touchdown from nine carries last week. Fullback Trey Millard gashed the Kansas State Wildcats for a 61-yard running score on his lone carry.

While Finch is likely to be the primary back to handle the load for the Sooners rushing for 259 yards on 38 carries and two scores, sophomore running back Brennan Clay and freshman running back Brandon Williams will likely see increased roles in the offense. Clay rushed for 184 yards on 52 carries and a score while Williams rushed for 102 yards on 24 carries.

Can the Aggies maintain ball control?

The key to stopping Sooner quarterback Landry Jones is likely going to be take the ball out of his hands and the Aggies thrive on their ground attack. The Aggies rank 23rd in FBS averaging 224.5 yards a game on the ground while the Sooners rank 34th giving up 124.75 yards a game in rush defense.

While Aggie quarterback Ryan Tannehill has passed for 700+ few yards than Jones, he has the two-headed bruising attack force of Christine Michael and Cyrus Gray. Both account for a combined 1515 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns.

Can Jones keep up momentum without Whaley?
As much of the offense is revolved around Jones, Whaley contributed 627 yards on 113 carries and 9 touchdowns. In Whaley’s absence against the Wildcats, Jones threw completed 35 passes from 47 attempts for 505 yards, 5 touchdowns and 2 interceptions with the running backs contributing to two scores.

Will Jones feel the need to put the Sooners more on his back given their recent struggles against the Aggies?

About Tom

Tom Chang is a freelance journalist with a background in multimedia journalism and web publishing. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of South Florida St.Petersburg. He graduated in 2004 with a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communications at USF Tampa. Tom's interests include a little bit of everything from entertainment to sports. He also wishes to delve into creative writing writing sci-fi/fantasy stories. Tom was recently the Online Editor for USF St. Petersburg's the Crow's Nest, he joined the staff in January 2010 where he started freelance writing, photographing, copy editing and later became a staff writer. Tom’s freelance experience in journalism amassed a wide range of companies including Creative Loafing, The Focus Magazine, Lutz News, Examiner.com, and Tampa Tribune.
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