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An Early Look at LSU Football's Matchup With Texas A&M

Tigers face an Aggie team with a lethal running attack, defense that is capable of getting serious pressure on Max Johnson

After handling business in a victory over the UL-Monroe Warhawks, the Tigers now shift their focus to the season finale against Texas A&M. The Aggies enter Tiger Stadium winning five of their last six games, even handling the Alabama Crimson Tide in early October.

With a passing game that has been a bit inconsistent this season, A&M has pummeled defenses in the run game. Quarterback Zach Calzada has been their general under center, and when clicking, has been extremely effective this season. It’s a matter of how composed he stays in the pocket.

Led by head coach Jimbo Fisher, he’s put this Aggie’s group in position to be extremely competitive in the SEC this season. With victories over both Alabama and Auburn, this team has no shortage of high-caliber wins.

Here’s who to keep an eye on Saturday night in Death Valley:

Zach Calzada

Which Calzada will show up Saturday night? The gunslinger who stays calm in the pocket and delivers dimes at ease? Or will it be the Calzada who tries to do too much and throw the risky pass?

LSU’s defense has had no shortage of getting to the quarterback the last few weeks with this new scheme. Whether it be zero-blitz or rushing three linemen, this group has been clicking since the bye week. Forcing Calzada outside the pocket and throwing passes on the run will be where the Tigers see success.

Calzada has the ability to read defenses before the snap while staying calm in the pocket to deliver a dime. Rarely will he tuck it and run, but this isn’t something he’s shy from. Containing Calzada and rattling him early could put LSU in position to pull off the upset.

Lethal Rushing Attack

On the ground is where the Aggies do their dirty work. Led by a one-two punch of Isaiah Spiller and Devon Achane, this duo has given defenses trouble week in and week out.

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Spiller, who’s already rushed for 984 yards and 6 touchdowns on 168 attempts, has carried the offensive load all season.Averaging six yards per rush, he’s been incredibly consistent thisyear, showing no signs of slowing down against the Tigers.

For Achane, the sophomore back has been electrifying with the ball in his hands for the Aggies, averaging over seven yards per carry. With over 850 yards of his own this season, it’s clear Texas A&M will be looking to run the ball down LSU’s throats offensively.

The Tigers have switched up their schemes and slowed down the rushing attack of opponents the back half of this season. Glen Logan and Neil Farrell have been magnificent and adding the zero-blitz has done this team wonders. Sticking to their game plan and slowing down the run game will give this defense achance to stop this Aggies offense.

Aaron Hansford

The rock for this A&M defense, linebacker Aaron Hansford has been the most consistent player for this unit. A sixth-year senior, he’s refined his game and turned into one of the better linebackers in the SEC.

Leading the Aggies in total tackles with 81, it’ll be imperative this offense monitors Hansford to limit his production.

Hansford plays sideline-to-sideline, appearing on almost every play for this defense. With two sacks, two fumble recoveries and four pass deflections, he’s created a hostile environment for opposing offenses this year.

Final Thoughts

Preparation will be key for the Tigers this week. Slowing down the run game and forcing pressure on Calzada will put this team in position to upset the Aggies. An inconsistent offense who relies on their run game, the defensive line will need to come to play Saturday night.

Offensively, it’ll be imperative to exploit the A&M secondary. Max Johnson will need get rid of the ball quickly and have a big night from his freshmen receivers to upset the Aggies and get Orgeron a final win in Death Valley.