I don't know about y'all, but I am tired of hearing how bad A&M is and how many problems we have. Are there legitimate concerns? Absolutely. Do we have the pieces in place to correct some of those problems? Yes we do. Can we solve all of them tonight? No. In spite of all of our issues, are the prognosticators correct and is A&M going to be beaten ugly tonight, or is there any hope of an upset? While they definitely could be blown out, I honestly don't think that will happen. In fact, I feel like there is a far greater chance for an upset than anyone thinks. How in the heck could I possibly be so delusional? Let's take a look at the keys to an upset.
First, RUN THE ROCK!! A&M need its' O-Line to have its' best game of the season and open some holes for Achane, King, L.J. Johnson Jr and Le'Veon Moss. If we can get some production from these freshman backs and spell Achane from time to time, we can have a real chance to battle for control of time of possession and tire that vaunted Alabama defense. Not only that, but if we can somehow force Alabama to respect our running ability, then that will make passing the ball easier as we all know. In addition, when you run the ball well against a defense like Alabama's it is very demoralizing for the Tide and can help quiet the crowd.
Second, we HAVE to get real pressure on Alabama's QB. We need to hit him early and often and take away any of his ability to run. This is not something we have done much of this season, so D.J. Durkin will need to show us something we haven't seen too much of this year. Last year, though Bryce Young had a good game statistically against us, we rattled him with our pressure and got a critical red zone interception and some critical stops. We will need to find a way to do the same today.
Third, but most important... there is no pressure on A&M today. Everyone expects us not just to lose, but to be destroyed. Most people don't think we can even keep it close. If we lose, no one will be surprised UNLESS we lose a very close game. In order for A&M to have a real chance to win this game, we have to stay with Bama heading into the 4th quarter. The longer we can hang in the game the more pressure Bama will feel. If we can get off to a good start, establish the run, hit on some passes and score early, while forcing a couple of punts early from Bama, we will see that pressure increase on their side of the field exponentially. IF A&M can either have the lead, or trail by just one score going into the 4th quarter, my prediction is that we win the game. We must hang in this game as the more frustrated Saban is, the more his team will struggle and the more his team may make uncharacteristic mistakes.
Make no mistake... this is an extremely difficult task, but it is not impossible. If A&M could pull this off, it will be the result of disciplined, well executed, well coached and perfectly schemed play on both sides of the ball. We can't win with just one hero, it will take a team full of heroes playing their roles and executing at a high level to make this dream a reality. Success is built AND maintained one play at a time. We MUST execute and focus only on the play we are running to help keep the game small for our young team. If we can do that, an upset IS possible. Should we manage to pull it off, let it never again be said that A&M's ability to win the big game is just a fluke. Beating Alabama in Tuscaloosa, and delivering two consecutive defeats to Nick Saban's Crimson Tide would be huge for our program and would give our young team the confidence it will need to finish the season strong. Gig 'em Aggies! BTHO Bama!!