The perception two years ago was that Missouri and Texas A&M would be mediocre at best in the SEC.…
Three Keys - Vanderbilt at Texas A&M
Here are the three keys to victory.
1) Don't ask too much of Robinette
In a week where all the speculation nationally has been about Johnny Manziel and the status of his sore shoulder, it is ironic that the team who will be starting their backup quarterback this week is Vanderbilt. With the leg injury to Austyn Carta-Samuels set to keep him out for an unspecified amount of time it will be down to redshirt freshman Patton Robinette to lead the 'Dores to victory on the road. Robinette was steady in his first meaningful action as a Vandy player last weekend, but the rest of the team (looking at you running game) will really have to step up to help cover the 260+ yards passing that Carta-Samuels has been averaging. On the plus side this A&M defense is somewhere between average and awful, so there are certainly worse teams to step into the breach against.
Maybe Robinette will play so well that he challenges Carta-Samuels as the primary guy. It does after all feel a little weird that there has yet to be a quarterback controversy in Nashville this fall.
2) Stop Jonny football running
Honestly, I don't care if Manziel puts up 700 yards through the air. All I want to see is Vanderbilt stop a mobile quarterback once this decade. Manziel is just a freak athlete and he would be top of every Heisman list out there if his defense hadn't lost two games for him already. He routinely goes for over 500 yards of total offense and some of the plays he makes when he is freelancing are just jaw dropping.
He averages almost 70 yards rushing per game and you would have to imagine that he has a shot at 100 against a Vanderbilt team that does not contain the quarterback well. The one mitigating part of this is the aforementioned shoulder problem. I t will be interesting to see if elements of the read option are taken out of the offense to protect Manziel.
3) Defense must force turnovers
Unlike Georgia last week this A&M team still has all their skill position players available. This includes the 6-5 Mike Evans who is just a beast of a wide receiver and is coming off of a game on Saturday where he had 287 yards receiving. That pairs nicely with the 279 yards he caught against Alabama earlier this year, a two game total which some wide outs don't get close to in a season.
With all the weapons that the Aggies have at their disposal it is imperative that the Commodores force turnovers. It doesn't matter whether it is an interception on a tipped pass, a forced fumble on a catch and run, or a muffed punt, the 'Dores MUST create extra possessions for the offense. If Vandy loses the turnover battle in this one they have no chance, but if they can be +2 or +3 then the upset will be on.
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