Opening Drive - Texas A&M vs Oklahoma State - September 24, 2011
Players to Watch - Texas A&M University
There will be plenty of offensive playmakers on the field Saturday and Cyrus Gray is one of them. Gray has 50 carries this season for 233 yards and four touchdowns. He has also caught six passes for 62 yards and a touchdown. If Gray can have success on the ground it will help the Aggies control the clock and keep the OSU offense off the field.
Slowing down the Cowboy offense will be tough, but getting pressure on quarterback Brandon Weeden will help. One player that has shown he can do that is Tony Jerod-Eddie. He has recorded three sacks this season.
Aggies Keys to the Game
The numbers say there should be a lot points Saturday so any defensive stop will be big. One way the Aggies can get Oklahoma state off the field is by creating turnovers. Whoever wins the turnover battle Saturday is likely to win the game.
In a high scoring game it is easy to think the ball will be flying all over the yard and it might be Saturday, but don't be suprised to see the Aggies show some balance. When you have two backs like Cyrus Gray and Chrstine Michael you can run the ball and still be explosive.
Ryan Tannehill has done a good job of finding different receivers this year. Eight different players have caught passes this season. Getting a lot of people invloved in the game will make it hard for the OSU defnese to lock down on specific players.
Players to Watch - Oklahoma State University
One guy the Aggies will have to be focused on is Cowboy wide receiver Justin Blackmon. This season, Blackmon has caught 27 passes for 329 yards and three touchdowns. He won the Biletnikoff Award last year given to the nation's best receiver. Against the Aggies last season, Blackmon had 10 catches for 127 yards and a tocuhdown.
Defensively, keep an eye on Oklahoma State linebacker Shaun Lewis. He has 12 tackles this season. Lewis has recorded 3 tackles for loss and a sack.
Cowboys Keys to the Game
The Pokes have no trouble putting up points and they can do it early. This season, OSU has outscorred their opponents 86 - 16 in the first. A fast start Saturday would help quiet the crowd.
Oklahoma State needs to continue to stay hot in the red zone. The Cowboys have scored on 22 of 23 posessions inside their opponents 20 yard line. 17 of those scores have been touchdowns.
You will take points Saturday any way you can get them including on special teams. The Cowboys have a good kick returner in Justin Gilbert. The former Huntsville Hornet returned a kick 96 yards for a touchdown last week agianst Tulsa. Special teams could provide some momentum swings in the game Saturday.
The Aggies enter Saturday's game with some momentum after last week's 37-7 win over Idaho. The Wrecking Crew held the Vandal offense to 187 total yards and just 56 yards rushing on 29 carries. When the 2011 schedule came out this was a game that jumped out as a big one. Now here we are with a pair of unbeaten teams looking to start off conference play on the right foot. We have all the ingredients for an electric atmospere today at Kyle Field.
Oklahoma State enters Satruday's game at 3 and 0 with wins over Louisiana-Lafayette, Arizona and Tulsa. The Cowboys are averaging 601 yards of offense a game which is second on the country. The pokes lead the nation in passing with 408 yards per game. The numbers are impressive but the Cowboys know they will have to play well here Saturday as they work against an Aggie defense that ranks number 15 in the country in total defense giving up just 267 yards per game.
The Aggies and Cowboys have played 26 times. Texas A&M leads the all time series 17-9 but Oklahoma State has ben on a roll in recent years. OSU has won the last three meetings in the series including a 38-35 decision last year in Stillwater. The last game played in College Station went to OSU 36-31. Quarterback Zac Robinson threw two touchdown passes and ran for another in that game.
The 12th Man
The 12th man for Saturday's game will be C.J. Jones. This is the second straight week Jones will wear number 12. Last week, against Idaho, he recorded three tackles.