by Jeff Davis
TEXAS A&M PASS vs. OKLAHOMA PASS DEFENSE
We'll start with one of the closest match ups.
OU faces the 2nd best passing team in the Big
XII in Texas A&M. Texas A&M has faced
a great pass defense team in the Pittsburgh Panthers.
WR Bethel Johnson is the nation's fourth best
receiver in yards per reception (19.66), and has
570 yards receiving and 7 TDs. Jamaar Taylor is
the Aggies top receiver with 706 yards. TE Greg
Porter is the 2nd leading receiver among the nation's
TE's with 38 catches and 533 yards. OU is a great
pass defensive teams, too. Standing up to this
passing attack will be the nation's 6th ranked
pass defense. Brandon Everage was Big XII defensive
player of the week. He has five interceptions
(7th in the nation) and is A&M's third leading
tackler. His aggressiveness can shut down an offense.
CBs Derrick Strait (3 INTs) and Andre Woolfolk
are having strong campaigns, and SS Eric Bassey
has developed well. The biggest thing about this
defense is the turnovers they create. Through
pressure on the QB, the Sooner DB's are able to
step up and make big plays. How does this bode
for sophomore QB Dustin Long and the Aggies? Not
well. Long is especially susceptible to this kind
of defense due to his lack of experience. He has
been passing well (over 2,000 yards) but does
have 10 INTs on 17 TDs. Lately, these INTs have
cost the Aggies. Chalk up a couple more INTs for
the Sooners. And if they lead to points, as they
seem to for the Sooners, this could spell doom
for the Aggies.
TEXAS A&M RUN vs. OKLAHOMA RUN DEFENSE
This call is a no-brainer, one of the biggest
mismatches. OU's run defense (23rd NCAA, 2nd Big
XII) is anchored by WLB Teddy Lehman (67 tackles,
9 Tackles For Loss), MLB Lance Mitchell (75 tackles,
9TFL), and a consistently good DL. Everage will
come up to stop the run, as well. The Aggies running
game is progressing, but no match against this
defense. Running back Derek Farmer (608 yards,
7TDs) will do his best to set up A&M's pass,
but needs to break a big play.
Huge Edge: Oklahoma
OKLAHOMA PASS vs. TEXAS A&M PASS DEFENSE
OU's top three receivers' yardage (Will Peoples,
Antwone Savage, Mark Clayton) still does not equal
the number of yards rushed for by Griffin. The
number of potential OU offensive weapons is what
causes problems for opposing defenses. WR Curtis
Fagan, TE Trent Smith, and Griffin all are targets.
Sooner QB Nate Hybl seems to do just enough for
OU to win (only 1418 yards passing, 105 completions,
12 TDs, and 6 INTs). A&M is led by Jarrod
Penright, Randall Webb, and Ty Warren (8, 6, and
4.5 sacks, respectively). FS Jaxson Appel (struggling
with an injury) and CB Byron Jones lead A&M
in INTs at four apiece, followed by the CB duo
of Sammy Davis and Sean Weston a (two INTs each).
The A&M defensive unit should win this battle,
maybe giving up one big play.
Edge: Texas A&M
OKLAHOMA RUN vs. TEXAS A&M RUN DEFENSE
Maybe the next biggest match up. How will the
Aggies handle OU RB Quentin Griffin (950 yds,
6 TDs). A&M has faced its share of top running
teams (Virginia Tech, Nebraska), yielding two
very different performances, but the same results,
losses. The Aggies held VT's strong (but predictable)
running game in check. Nebraska's complicated
running attack had the Aggies missing tackles
and over pursuing all day. In this game, Quentin
Griffin will get his 100 yards, but it will not
affect the outcome. The Wrecking Crew is very
comfortable with traditional running games. They
are lead by OLB Jarrod Penright (13 TFL, 65yds),
LE Ty Warren (11 TFL), and SS Terrence Kiel (72
tackles, 4.5 TFL).
Edge: Texas A&M
TEXAS A&M OL vs. OKLAHOMA DL
OU linemen Tommie Harris, Kory Klein, Jonathan
Jackson, and Jimmy Wilkerson don't lead in statistical
categories. But they are a tough group, putting
pressure on the QB and holding up the OL to help
stop the run. A&M's OL is still gelling, lead
by Guards Taylor Whitley and Billy Yates, and
young Tackle Jami Hightower.
Slight Edge: Oklahoma
OKLAHOMA OL vs. TEXAS A&M DL
The Aggie DL is a little banged up. Ty Warren
and Marcus Jasmin have nagging injuries and are
trying to play as much as they can. With little
depth at these positions in their 3-4 defense,
they are strained up front at times. Warren, despite
the leg injury, continues to make big plays and
put up solid numbers. OU's OL should stop them
more times than not, though. Each OU lineman,
except C Vince Carter, weighs in at over 300 pounds.
OU has a punt return threat in Antonio Perkins.
They rank 9th nationally with 3 TDs, and 15.82
ypr. A&M has a good punter in Cody Scates,
who is averaging 36.62 ypp. Field position will
be important in this game. Both kickers are equally
The key to #1 OU's win versus Colorado, and a
big reason for their win against Texas, was turnover
margin. For the year, their margin is +1.75, second
best in the nation. For the Aggies to have a chance,
they need to make sure the Sooners don't start
in A&M territory. To do that, they need to
avoid the turnover. The Sooner offense can produce
on a short field, and is excellent in the red
zone. They are less productive when they have
to go the whole field. Against CU, the Oklahoma
defense gained 2 INTs and 2 fumbles, all which
resulted in short fields and therefor scores.
Dustin Long has to account for Brandon Everage
and Derrik Strait at all times. Even at loud Kyle
Field, this may be too much to ask for from the
young Aggie QB, who has been prone to bad decisions.
A win against #1 OU will be tough to come by for
a struggling and disappointed Texas A&M team.
PICK: Oklahoma Sooners