AggieYell - Texas A&M's offense vs. LSU's defense
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Texas A&M's offense vs. LSU's defense

AggieYell.com's look at the matchup between No. 14 Texas A&M (8-3, 4-3 SEC) and LSU (5-6, 2-5 SEC) begins with a breakdown of the A&M offense against the LSU defense. 

Isaiah Spiller needs 16 yards to reach 1,000 for the year.
Isaiah Spiller needs 16 yards to reach 1,000 for the year.

The scene

Location: Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, La.

Time: 6 p.m. central time, Saturday, Nov. 27

TV: ESPN

Weather: Temperatures in the 50s with a chance of rain

Texas A&M depth chart

QB: #10, Zach Calzada; RS-So.; 6-4, 200

#14, Blake Bost; Fr.; 6-2, 195

RB: #28, Isaiah Spiller; Jr.; 6-1, 225

#6, Devon Achane; So.; 5-9, 185

TE: #85, Jalen Wydermyer; Jr; 6-5, 255;

#88, Baylor Cupp; RS-So.; 6-7, 240; OR

#42, Max Wright; RS-Jr.; 6-4, 260

WR: #5 Jalen Preston; RS-Jr.; 6-2, 210

#2 Chase Lane; RS-So.; 6, 190 OR

#8 Yulkeith Brown; Fr.; 5-10, 175

WR: #0, Ainias Smith; Jr.; 5-10, 190

#7, Moose Muhammad; RS-Fr.; 6-1, 195;

WR: #1, Demond Demas; RS-Fr.; 6-3, 180

#81, Caleb Chapman; RS-Jr.; 6-5, 200


LT #58 Jahmir Johnson; Gr-TR; 6-5, 300

#60, Trey Zuhn; Fr.; 6-6, 315

LG: #55, Kenyon Green; Jr.; 6-4, 325

#74, Aki Ogunbiyi; RS-Fr.; 6-4, 315

#70, Josh Bankhead, RS-Fr.; 6-5, 325

C: #61 Bryce Foster; Fr.; 6-5, 325

#77 Matthew Wykoff, Fr.; 6-6, 330

RG: #64, Layden Robinson; RS-So.; 6-4, 325

#52, Smart Chibuzo; RS-Fr.; 6-4, 320 OR

#66, Jordan Spasojevic-Moko; So.; 6-5, 340

RT: #76, Rueben Fatheree; Fr.; 6-8, 320

#53, Blake Trainor; So..; 6-7, 330

LSU Depth Chart

DE: #0, Maason Smith; Fr.; 6-6, 292

#53, Soni Fonua; Sr.; 6-4, 258

#59, Desmond Little; So.; 6-5, 231

#35, Savion Jones; Fr.; 6-6, 242

#39, Phillip Webb; RS-Fr.; 6-4, 241

DT: #97, Glen Logan; Gr.; 6-5, 303

#90, Jacobian Gullory; Fr.; 6-2, 326

DT: #92, Neil Farrell, Gr.; 6-4, 325

#99, Jaquelin Roy; So.; 6-4, 297

DE: #8, BJ Ojulari; So.; 6-3, 244

#55, Jarrell Cherry; Jr.; 6-2, 259

#35, Savion Jones; Fr.; 6-6, 242 OR

#39, Phillip Webb; RS-Fr.; 6-4, 241


LB: #18, Damone Clark; Sr.; 6-3, 240

#19, Mike Jones; Jr.; So.-TR.; 6-2, 234

LB: #23, Micah Baskerville; Sr.; 6-2, 223

#30, Greg Penn III; Fr.; 6-2, 221


Nickel: #31, Cameron Lewis; Gr.; 6-1, 195

#19, Mike Jones Jr.; So.-TR.; 6-2, 234

#15, Sage Ryan; Fr.; 5-11, 195

#38, Pig Cage; Fr.-TR.; 5-11, 198

CB: #2, Dwight McGlothern; So.; 6-2, 186

#24, Darren Evans; Sr.; 6-3, 174

#26, Damarius McGhee; Fr.; 6-1, 162

FS: #5, Jay Ward; Jr.; 6-1, 180

#21, Jordan Toles; So.; 6-2, 203

#6 Derrick Davis Jr.; Fr.; 6, 198

SS: Cameron Lewis; Gr.; 6-1, 195

#4, Todd Harris Jr.; Gr.; 5-11, 195

CB: #25, Cordale Flott; Jr.; 6-2, 170 OR

#29, Raydarious Jones; So.; 6-2, 174

#24, Darren Evans; Sr.; 6-3, 174

Injury update

Texas A&M: QB Haynes King (leg), WR Hezekiah Jones (arm) WR Demond Demas (leg), WR Chase Lane (foot) and OL Luke Matthews (shoulder) are out.

LSU: CB Derek Stingley (foot), LB Andre Anthony (knee), CB Eli Ricks (undisclosed/transfer), LB Jared Small (undisclosed), DE Ali Gaye (undisclosed), DL Joseph Evans (undisclosed), S Major Burns (knee) are all out; DE Maason Smith, S Sage Ryan and S Jordan Toles did not practice Wednesday and are considered questionable.

Texas A&M statistical leaders

Rushing: 168 carries, 984 yards (5.9 YPC), 6 TD

Achane, 118, 861 yards (7.3 YPC), 9 TD

Passing: Calzada, 164-292 (56.1%), 1,943 yards, 14 TD, 9 INT

King, 22-35, 300 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT

Receiving: Wydermyer, 36 catches, 491 yards (13.6 YPC), 4 TD

Smith, 41 catches, 472 yards (11.5), 6 TD

Demas, 15 catches, 235 yards (15.7 YPC), 1 TD

LSU statistical leaders

Tackles: Clark, 125

Baskerville, 77

Ward, 57

Tackles for loss: Clark, 9.5

Ojulari, 8.5

Baskerville, 8

Sacks: Ojulari, 6

Smith, 4

Andre Anthony, 3.5

Head-to-head

Texas A&M's offense vs. LSU's defense (national rankings in parentheses)
Category Texas A&M LSU

Total offense/defense

400.3 YPG (69th)

379.1 YPG (70th)

Scoring offense/defense

29.8 PPG (58th)

25.5 PPG (61st)

Rushing offense/defense

194.7 YPG (34th)

144.8 YPG (57th)

Passing offense/defense

205.5 YPG (95th)

234.3 YPG (73rd)

3rd down conversions/conversion defense

39.4% (70th)

39.4% (76th)

Red zone conversions/red zone defense

87.5% (39th)

84.4% (79th)

Tackles for loss allowed/tackles for loss

4.45/game (28th)

6.7/game (22nd)

Sacks allowed/sacks

15 (20th)

32 (21st)

Time of possession

30:16 (52nd)

29:36 (74th)

Turnovers allowed/turnovers

15 (64th)

13 (83rd)

Turnover +/-

+1 (57th)

-1 (78th)

What A&M wants to do

Batter a considerably weakened LSU defensive front with the running game and keep things simple. The Aggies could go with a lot more two tight end sets in this one, especially with Demas and Lane out. When the Aggies run the ball well, they win. When they don't...well, things get dicey.

A&M needs to keep pressure off Calzada, both literally and figuratively. Like Ole Miss, the Tigers are likely going to put the Aggies in a position where they're daring them to throw. Unlike that game, the Aggies need to get physical, put a hat on a hat and start moving the front of LSU. They do not want to throw the ball 40 times. They want to control time of possession and wear LSU down.

The Tigers have started to use more of a 3-4 look than their original 4-3 due to injuries, so this may be a game where the play of the offensive tackles are key. A&M may have to do a lot of running off tackle with stretch plays, which may suit Achane more than Spiller. On the other hand, Spiller's talent in the passing game, especially one-on-one with Baskerville (who is also banged up), could be big.

One player who will have to come up big in the passing game is Wydermyer, for multiple reasons. He can force the interior linebackers to play back a bit and exploit a safety group that is banged up.

LSU's corners aren't the ones they started the season with, but they're tough and physical. They want to body you at the line of scrimmage, throw you off your schedule and mess up routes. That may be tough on Smith, but also presents opportunities. This could be a game where Chapman could get deep and loosen up the secondary.

The Aggies can't get into the situation like they were at Ole Miss and become reliant on the RPO game and then throw it all night. This is going to have to be an old-fashioned SEC style game where A&M comes out with established running plays and goes right at LSU. If it doesn't work at first, don't abandon it. Play to your strengths, get the passing game going with high percentage plays and wear the Tigers down.

How LSU wants to counter

Put the game on Calzada. That's obvious.

If Smith can play, the Tigers can go with a massive three-man group and Ojulari as the rush end. If not, they can go to a 3-4, with Roy in Smith's spot, Ojulari standing up and having Baskerville moving up close to the line on the other side.

The Tigers have been extremely aggressive, as evidenced by their high number of tackles per loss and sacks. They're definitely going to bring pressure, especially from the linebackers and secondary.

LSU has to apply pressure in the running game in order to succeed. They did a great job against Alabama, holding the Tide to 4 yards of rushing (and still lost). But they also gave up 265 yards to Ole Miss and 330 to Kentucky earlier in the season.
The three-man front allows LSU's linebackers to operate in more space and make plays, and it's worked pretty well the past several weeks. It's also similar to what Ole Miss (and Arkansas) utilized against the Aggies.

LSU's game plan relies on aggression and it has worked well in recent weeks. The Tigers have only won two games since September, but their problems down the stretch have had a lot more to do with the offense than the defense.