New Mexico Football: Preview Of The Texas A&M Aggies
New Mexico football will need a miracle if it wants to stand a chance against an SEC powerhouse
New Mexico Football Will Look To Shock The World In Week Ten At College Station
New Mexico will have their hands full in the second week of November when they travel to College Station to face the Texas A&M Aggies. This game could get a bit out of hand in the blink of an eye, but the Aggies must not look past this Lobo team.
Texas A&M is coming off a less than impressive 8-5 record and lost to Kansas State in the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl. The Aggies started the year off 6-0, then finished the second half of the season 2-4. A notable game from last season was in week 11 when the UTSA Roadrunners, who the Lobos beat in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl last season, traveled to College Station and nearly upset the heavily favored Aggies.
The last meeting between these two teams took place in 2009, when Texas A&M won 41-6. The Aggies lead the all time series 3-0.
Texas A&M was hurt greatly by the draft, as well as senior departures this off-season.
Notable losses include the number one overall pick in this year’s NFL draft, defensive end Myles Garrett, along with the likes of defensive end Daeshon Hall, linebacker Shaan Washington, and safety Justin Evans. The Aggies also took a huge hit by losing last year’s starting quarterback, Trevor Knight. With an offensive line and receiving core that took some damage as well, one bright spot is left at the running back position.
Texas A&M proved to have one of the SEC’s best young backs last year in sophomore Trayveon Williams. As a true freshman, Williams averaged 6.8 yards per carry and totaled 1,057 yards with eight touchdowns. With Williams gaining some experience at the collegiate level last year, he can prove to be a thorn in the sides of both the Lobos and the SEC.
Location: College Station, Texas
Conference: Southeastern Conference (Western Division)
2016 Record: 8-5, 4-4 in conference
Head Coach: Kevin Sumlin will be going into his 6th season as Texas A&M head coach. He has gone 44-21 overall with the Aggies, but has gone 8-5 the past three seasons. No one is questioning Sumlin’s talent at being a head ball coach, but his job could be in jeopardy if the Aggies can’t string together more wins this season.
In his years at Texas A&M, Sumlin has done some amazing recruiting and has seen several players go to the NFL, but has yet to have a quarterback play more than just a couple seasons. The theme will stay the same in 2017, as the Aggies expect to start a new quarterback for the fourth year in a row.
Sumlin has done well in his coaching career playing with the hands he has been dealt; injuries and other setbacks rarely hinder his team. With the Aggies having to play Ole Miss the following week, Sumlin must not commit the ultimate coaching sin and overlook a less talented team. There’s a high chance that the Lobos could run Sumlin out of town if they pull of a miracle in College Station.
RB Traveyon Williams
Williams showed some great promise as a true freshman in 2016, rushing for 1,057 yards. He proved to be very reliable in the run game, and played consistent. Hopefully, with a much more new and improved offensive line, we could see his numbers go up from last year.
As far as this game goes, the Lobos could possibly give up a 200-yard day. New Mexico is no stranger to the run game, but their defense has taken a monster hit this year. If you add one of the best young backs to the mix, this game could get ugly. UNM will struggle holding Williams under 150 yards and he will be a difference maker in this game.
Texas A&M won’t lean on their wide outs much this year because of their newfound identity. Ground and pound is a classic style of SEC play and Williams could very well lead the SEC West division in rushing yards. The Lobos will most likely be a victim to a behemoth of a rushing attack in College Station.
LB Otaro Alaka
Junior middle linebacker Alaka is the best returning defensive player for the Aggies. He totaled 74 tackles last season, along with two sacks and a forced fumble.
A returning defender is a sight for sore Aggie eyes, considering several of their leading defenders are currently breaking into the NFL. The Lobos are going to attempt to rush the ball, but Alaka will be a huge piece in slowing down their running attack. Alaka will be the anchor of the Aggie defense for this season, so everyone should expect to see his production to rise.
Because he is not known for his pass coverage, however, the Lobos could look to take advantage of this one weak spot. Overpursuit or biting on ball fakes could leave the Aggies very vulnerable in the middle of the field. Texas A&M should not have any problems beating the Lobos as long as their run defense plays well.
A bulk of New Mexico’s option plays run through the middle, which means Alaka will be involved in many run stops. As long as Texas A&M doesn’t blow many assignments, Alaka and the rest of the Aggie defense should not struggle against the Lobos.
The Lobos will have a very rough day playing against one of the top SEC schools. If the Lobos want to stand a chance, they must keep the scoring to a minimum. The Lobos must stay within striking distance for most of the game and not allow the Aggies to get quick multiple scores. The Lobos must not give up any special team or defensive touchdowns. The Aggies are most dangerous when they are able to score in chunks.
Offensively, the Lobos will most likely struggle against the Aggies defense. Texas A&M consistently boasts some of the best front sevens in all of college football. New Mexico will have no choice but to come up with a passing game to help out their backs. Obviously, the Lobos will need a few bounces to go their way, too, but keeping the Aggies rushing yards to a minimum will keep them alive.
UNM must not be out of reach early, or this game will be over by the third quarter. It’s no secret the Lobos are not great on the road, but playing inside the home of the 12th Man is even difficult for some of the nation’s top teams.
The Lobos can do some things to help keep themselves in the game. They must create turnovers, big plays on special teams, and not let the Aggies score on every offensive possession. This is all easier said than done. This is UNM’s toughest opponent this year and if they want to make a name for themselves, this is the place to do so. Ultimately, the Texas A&M Aggies will walk out of their stadium with a win, and it will be by a large margin.
The Aggies run game will be too much for the Lobos to handle. The Lobos offense will struggle running the triple option and will also have an equally tough time passing the ball due to the pressure added by the Aggies front seven. The Lobos will fight as hard as they can, but this SEC powerhouse will kick them back to Albuquerque.
Texas A&M 56, New Mexico 17.