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Aggie defense faces sputtering Gators offense

AggieYell.com's coverage of Texas A&M (4-2, 2-1 SEC)'s matchup with Florida (3-2, 3-1 SEC) continues with a look at the Gators offense against the Aggie defense.

Florida likely starters

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True freshman Malik Davis is averaging 7.2 YPC for the Gators.

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QB: Feliepe Franks (RS-Fr.; 6'5", 227; 50-79, 665 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT)

RB: Malik Davis (Fr.; 5'11", 194; 57 carries for 411 yards and 2 TD)

TE: Cyontal Lewis (RS-Jr.; 6'4", 235; 4 catches, 21 yards)

WR: Josh Hammond (Soph.; 6'1", 187; 9 catches, 122 yards)

SLOT: Brandon Powell (Sr.; 5'8", 189; 11 catches, 112 yards, 1 TD)

WR: Freddie Swain (Soph.; 6', 198; 5 catches, 60 yards, 1 TD)

LT: Martez Ivey (Jr.; 6'5", 315)

LG: Tyler Jordan (Jr.; 6'4", 330)

C: T.J. McCoy (RS-Soph.; 6'1", 308)

RG: Fred Johnson (Jr.; 6'6", 330)

RT: Jawaan Taylor (Soph.; 6'5", 334)

Florida's offense by the numbers

Scoring offense: 25 PPG (92nd nationally, 12th SEC)

Rushing: 155.4 YPG (74th nationally, 9th SEC)

Passing: 191.8 YPG (95th nationally, 11th SEC)

Total: 347.2 YPG (102nd nationally, 11th SEC)

1st downs: 82 (120th nationally, 13th SEC)

3rd down conversions: 34.8% (96th nationally, 14th SEC)

4th down conversions: 70% (21st nationally, 3rd SEC)

Red zone offense: 100% (1st nationally)

Sacks allowed: 15 (110th nationally, 13th SEC)

Turnover +/-: -2 (5 takeaways, 7 giveaways; 88th nationally, 1oth SEC)

A&M likely starters

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Tyrel Dodson racked up 16 tackles against Alabama.

DE: Jarrett Johnson (Sr.; 6'3", 265; 10 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 PBU)

DT: Zaycoven Henderson (Sr.; 6'2", 305; 17 tackles, 4 TFL, 2.5 sacks)

DT: Kingsley Keke (Jr.; 6'4", 305; 15 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack, 2 fumble recoveries)

DE: Landis Durham (RS-Jr.; 6'3", 255; 23 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 5.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery)

WILL: Otaro Alaka (RS-Jr.; 6'3", 240; 36 tackles, 9 TFL, 4 sacks)

MIKE: Tyrel Dodson (Soph.; 6'2", 242; 46 tackles, 7.5 TFL, 4 sacks, 2 INT, 4 passes broken up)

SAM: Buddy Johnson (Fr.; 6'2", 220; 4 tackles)

NICKEL: Priest Willis (RS-Sr.; 6'2", 205; 9 tackles)

CB: Charles Oliver (Soph.; 6'2", 193; 11 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 4 passes broken up)

FS: Armani Watts (Sr.; 5'11", 205; 44 tackles, 7 TFL, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, 3 passes broken up, 3 INT)

SS: Derrick Tucker (Fr.; 6'1", 200; 8 tackles)

CB: Debione Renfro (Fr.; 6'2", 190; 17 tackles, 1 TFL, 3 passes broken up, 3 forced fumbles)

A&M's defense by the numbers

Scoring defense: 27.8 PPG (81st nationally, 11th SEC)

Rushing defense: 118.5 YPG (28th nationally, 5th SEC)

Pass defense: 263.5 YPG (107th nationally, 12th SEC)

Total defense: 382 YPG (63rd nationally, 10th SEC)

3rd down conversions defense: 28.9% (15th nationally, 2nd SEC)

4th down conversions defense: 71.4% (110th nationally, 11th SEC)

Red zone defense: 88% (97th nationally, 10th SEC)

First downs allowed: 109 (60th nationally, 9th SEC)

Tackles for loss: 48 (11th nationally, 1st SEC)

Sacks: 23 (2nd nationally, 1st SEC)

Turnover +/-: +6 (13 takeaways, 7 giveaways; 17th nationally, 4th SEC)

What UF wants to do

Getting the running game going, behind Davis and sophomore Lamical Perine (50 carries, 218 yards). Likely without their two most explosive playmakers in WRs Kadarius Toney (11 catches, 107 yards; 12 carries, 118 yards 1 TD as a wildcat QB) and Tyrie Cleveland (team-high 15 catches, 326 yards, 2 TD), it looks like a passing attack that has depended on dumpoffs and an occasional bomb will be significantly limited.

To boot, Florida's pass protection has been terrible. They're giving up 3 sacks a game, including 5 last week to LSU. Franks is only averaging 133 yards a game through the air in the 5 games he's played (Luke Del Rio took the starting job, then was injured and lost for the year), so you get the idea that they're run first.

Even though there have been some complaints about amongst Gator fans about the slow pace of the offense, it's probably a good idea. Grinding games out behind their big line and the running game is their best prescription for a win at this point.

What A&M wants to do

Not surprisingly, they're going to want to force the Gators to throw. Look for A&M to use a lot more of their 4-3 base defense with Buddy Johnson at SAM along with Otaro Alaka and Tyrel Dodson. The Aggie front seven handled Alabama's rushing attack extremely well in the second half last week and will look to pick up where it left off.

Florida's greatest success with Davis and Perine has come running off tackle, so A&M's defensive ends will have to hold containment and then Armani Watts, Johnson and Alaka will have to pinch to stop them from getting outside. LSU used 8 men in the box almost exclusively against UF, even in obvious passing situations.

When Franks is in a position where he's going to have to throw, the Aggies are going to bring the house. UF's front line is massive, but it's also slow and has been ineffective against teams that can rush the passer. The Aggies are among the best in the nation in that category, so there's no reason to stop attacking Saturday. Florida has started to roll Franks out of the pocket to buy him some time, which also leaves him open to an edge blitzer. Just something to watch for as the game progresses.

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