Texas A&M rebounded from two straight losses by coming out of the bye week with a victory over a struggling South Carolina squad. Now the Aggies hope to build some momentum with a huge victory on the road over #10 Ole Miss. Should Texas A&M find a way to beat Lane Kiffin’s squad on Saturday, the Aggies could have a real shot at 10 wins with a bowl game. A loss means Jimbo Fisher’s road woes continue and the margin for error drops significantly for the final four weeks of the season. Let’s talk about what Texas A&M needs in the trenches in Oxford to get a victory.
Look, I’m going to sound like a broken record anytime I talk about this unit. I still think they’d be better served with a gap-blocking scheme in the run game as opposed to zone. I still think due to the pass protection struggles, A&M would be better served adopting slants and other quicker routes as opposed to more downfield passing. These are still the pressing issues that flared up against South Carolina although there were brief sparks in the run game. Unfortunately, those times when the Aggies found rushing success were not consistent.
The good news for Texas A&M?
Ole Miss ranks 54th in the country both in rushing defense and passing yards allowed. There are yards to be gained on the ground and in the air should Texas A&M execute. Unfortunately, that execution has been a problem all season.
The bad news?
Ole Miss ranks second in the SEC in sacks. their speed on the edges and propensity to blitz seem particularly suited to giving Texas A&M’s offensive line problems. Leading sack-getter for Ole Miss, Jared Ivey, is a solid pass rusher and will likely find success against Chase Bisontis and Trey Zuhn on the edges. Unless the Aggies have made the switch to quicker routes, expect Max Johnson to end up on his back often - meaning the Aggies will need a stellar defensive performance.
It was another fantastic performance by the Texas A&M defensive line against South Carolina as the Gamecocks weren’t able to get anything going in the rushing attack against the Aggies. However, this unit can’t rest on their laurels as they face a big step up in competition with the road trip to Oxford.
Last year, nowhere were the run defense deficiencies more clear than against the Lane Kiffin-coached offense from Ole Miss. Quinshon Judkins ran for 205 yards and as a squad, Ole Miss had 390 yards rushing. Obviously, this is a big test for Texas A&M.
Additionally, like Tennessee, you’ll see Ole Miss utilizing wide splits to get the looks in the box they want with limited help from perimeter defenders. We saw Texas A&M struggle against the Volunteer rushing attack - the only team that has had real sustained success running the ball against Texas A&M this year.
This is an Ole Miss squad that absolutely prefers to run the ball with Judkins and Ulysses Bentley IV. Can Texas A&M shore up the issues from Knoxville? A big performance from McKinnley Jackson in the interior means Ole Miss will turn to the passing game. Though Jaxson Dart is talented he can be a bit of a loose cannon, especially under pressure.
The key to this game for Texas A&M is to stop the run first. If the Aggies can force Dart to beat them with his arm, that is where turnovers can be found. Working under the assumption that the Aggie offense will struggle, those turnovers will be the key to Texas A&M winning this game.
We’ve got another 11:00 a.m. kick this weekend so breakfast was on my mind but I decided to go in another direction here. Though boudin is a Louisiana staple, the dish has found its way to the surrounding states of Texas and Mississippi.
I got to try out some incredible fried boudin balls just last week at a barbecue collaboration between Montgomery’s Bar-A-BBQ, and East Coast powerhouse Hoodoo Brown BBQ.
Cody from Hoodoo Brown is making his way around the country serving up his trademark crispy pork belly for the Big Belly Tour and spent the past week in Texas. The special dish at Bar-A-BBQ saw that crispy belly find it’s way into the fried boudin balls you see above.
Well, just look at the interior of those beautiful boudin balls below.
This divine bite is one of the best I’ve had in 2023 and felt like a fitting dish to highlight ahead of our contest with Ole Miss.
The best part?
The Big Belly Tour is doing it for charity to raise money for Hogs For The Cause. I highly recommend checking out their page to learn more.