Week 7 - Texas A&M at Louisiana Tech
Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel
Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 10, 2012


Week 7 Fearless Predictions - Texas A&M at Louisiana Tech

Texas A&M (4-1) at Louisiana Tech (5-0) Oct. 13, 9:00, ESPNU

Here’s The Deal: This was supposed to be one of those interesting opening weekend matchups that gets pointed to all offseason as a possible upset alert, but Hurricane Isaac postponed the fun and now, with both teams cranking the top 25, the matchup has shockingly turned into one of the weekend’s biggest showdowns.

Louisiana Tech has been unstoppable so far, hanging 52 points or more one everyone but Virginia, scoring 44 in the road victory. But with a defense that’s giving up yards and points almost as quickly as the offense can crank them out, some of the games have been a lot tighter and a lot tougher than they’ve needed to be. With the nation’s second-worst pass defense and second-worst total defense, Texas A&M needs to be ready for a track meet.

The Aggies have been solid since losing the season opener against Florida, and while blowing away Arkansas and beating Ole Miss might not seem like that big a deal, being 2-1 in the SEC and unbeaten against the West is a nice start to life in the new league. However, the timing of this game couldn’t be worse.

This was supposed to be an off week to rest up and get ready for LSU and a brutal road stretch at Auburn, Mississippi State and Alabama. Instead, this road trip means the Aggies have to go on the road five times in a six week span, and this could be every bit as dangerous as any of the games against the SEC foes.

The two schools are only 300 miles apart but have only met eight times and Texas A&M has won all of them in blowouts. Louisiana Tech was supposed to give the Aggies problems in 2010 and lost 48-16. The Bulldogs were strong in 1999 and lost 37-17. This is supposed to be a fight, but it’s going to take Tech bucking history for this to even be close. This might be the team to do it.

Why Texas A&M Might Win: The Louisiana Tech defense is merely a rumor. More often than not, when teams have a phenomenal offense the pass defense stats look bad because everyone bombs away in an attempt to keep up. Usually, those teams also have nice stats against the run because of all the passing going on, but the Bulldogs can’t stop the run, either. The defensive front isn’t awful at getting behind the line and dominated Illinois with the pass rush, but it hasn’t mattered much for a secondary that couldn’t handle a Virginia passing attack that’s not exactly special and was ripped apart by UNLV for 378 yards and four scores.

This is going to be a firefight between two teams that should trade several big blows, but A&M can count on Tech shooting itself in the foot time and again with penalties. The Bulldogs have hovered around the bottom of the rankings for most of the year and are currently 122nd in the nation in sins committing 9.4 per game. However, while USC and Rutgers have been flagged more, no one has been nailed for more yards with Tech getting pushed back a whopping 92.8 yards per game. Texas A&M gets flagged a middle-of-the-road 5.6 times per game for around 54 yards.

Why Louisiana Tech Might Win: Yes, the Bulldogs have had way too many problems with penalties, but they only committed five against UNLV last week. Overall, the mistakes just aren’t coming with three of the four lost fumbles coming in the win over Illinois. On 181 pass attempt, Tech has given up a grand total of zero interceptions. The passing game is clicking, it’s careful, and it has the ability to move the chains really, really well. This is a quick-hitting offense that can counteract the tremendous Aggie pass rush by moving the ball around well. The Bulldog O line has only allowed five sacks so far.

Tech is more than just a top passing game; the running attack is every bit as effective with two 300-yard performances and a five touchdown day against Houston. Several different runners have gotten work with the offense spreading the ball around. It depends on the day, but there are more than enough options for to keep the Aggies from concentrating on any one guy. The offense is working that well.

What To Watch Out For: 6-0, 211-pound true freshman Kenneth Dixon was supposed to help boost up the running back depth, but he has done more than that for the Bulldogs running for 113 yards and three scores against Rice and coming up with 102 yards and four scores against UNLV. With a good blend of power and speed, he can do a little of everything and he showed against the Rebels that he could put the game away with three second half runs. With Dixon combining with quarterback Colby Cameron, who has yet to throw a pick, the offense can do a little of everything.

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel has shown he can do a little bit of everything, and last week against Ole Miss he proved he could come up in the clutch. The Rebels were giving A&M all it could handle helped by picks given away by Manziel. Down ten late, Manziel took off for a tough 29-yard touchdown dash, and finished off the game a few minutes later with a 20-yard scoring strike to Ryan Swope. At the moment, no SEC quarterback is playing better.

What Will Happen: The Aggie secondary will give up 300 yards, and there will be several moments when the Bulldogs look like they’re going to pull off the big win, but the defense will be too disastrous. Manziel will bomb at will as A&M cranks out 650 yards of total offense on the way to a fun victory.

CFN Prediction: Texas A&M 52 … Louisiana Tech 42
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Texas A&M -8 O/U: 79.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – Argo, 1 – Pitch Perfect): 4.5