Skip to main content

Miami vs Texas A&M: 7 Burning Questions

Miami vs Texas A&M key players and scenarios that will determine the outcome

Article photo of Miami's Colbie Young; credit to Brian Smith.

Miami Hurricanes versus Texas A&M Aggies, it’s game week!

Miami beats Miami of Ohio 38-3 to win its opening contest, and A&M dominates New Mexico 52-10. Both football teams appear to be mentally ready to go with top-notch playmakers on both sides of the ball.

Here are seven burning questions that will be prominent for deciding the final outcome.

1) How good is Texas A&M quarterback Conner Weigman?

Versus New Mexico, Weigman went 18-23 for 236 yards and 5 touchdowns.

Note: While a short sample size, Weigman threw 8 touchdowns and no interceptions in 2022, and combining those totals with his 2023 statistics, he’s not been intercepted yet despite throwing 155 total passes. That’s impressive.

A true sophomore, he came on late during the 2022 season and is now firmly entrenched as the starter. Weigman is best when he’s throwing on-time and in rhythm. He likes to go up top for big plays by trusting in his receivers, too.

More specifically, Weigman likes to throw his receivers open by giving them space to run underneath long throws and fade balls. The Aggies possess a big wide receiver corps to help that concept work; it’s one with a special player in Evan Stewart as well.

Stewart is another sophomore, and he’s dialing in with Weigman by way of 8 receptions for 115 yards and 2 touchdowns during Week 1.

While a pocket passer the majority of the time, Weigman can move the pocket and make plays on the run. He’s a threat to run if Miami loses containment on the edges.

2) Can the Hurricanes consistently protect quarterback Tyler Van Dyke and run the football?

The Hurricanes offensive line is improving. Three brand new starters this season – Javion Cohen, Matt Lee and Francis Mauigoa – are working well through one game. Now the competition ramps up.

Looking at A&M’s defensive line depth chart, there are five 5-star recruits and another five 4-star recruits. On the edge, it’s led by Fadil Diggs, a player that has five sacks during his career and also plays the run equally well.

Along the interior, watch out for Walter Nolen. He’s one of the rare interior defensive lineman that can naturally rush the passer. It will also be interesting to see if the Aggies heat up Van Dyke with more than a handful of blitzes or simply expect the down four to get home.

If the Canes can muster 4 yards per carry, and do so consistently, it will open up the passing game for Van Dyke. That's when he would hold the best chance of connecting on some big passing plays.

The Canes probably need to surpass 100 yards on the ground, at minimum, to knock off the Aggies. Surpassing the 150 mark considerably ramps up the chances of defeating A&M. The Miami of Ohio game rushing attack gives reason to believe Miami can do that again.

3) Can the Aggies hold off Miami's defensive front?

Miami's defensive front looks dominant. Allowing 215 total yards to Miami of Ohio, the Canes possess a deep rotation at defensive end and the interior defensive line also looks stout.

If the Canes continue to play fast up front, while also being assignment correct like during the Miami of Ohio game, A&M will struggle to move the football.

The biggest key will be Branson Deen and Leonard Taylor consistently creating havoc along the interior. That would be mean more long-yardage situations that Weigman has to make tough throws and potentially deal with his first college interception. There's nothing worse for a signal caller than pressure up the middle.

4) How much man coverage will the Canes play versus the Aggies wide receivers?

This might be the hardest question to answer. It’s hard to sustain drives versus the Aggies with that front wall. Thus, will the A&M defensive staff devise a plan of being safe with quite a bit of zone or will they be aggressive versus the Canes talent at receiver?

This is flat out a great matchup. Thinking ahead, the Aggies will be in situations where 6-foot-4 and 215-pound receiver Colbie Young is one-on-one whether it’s zone or not. Van Dyke and him need to hit a few big plays during those situations.

Further, Miami receivers need to consistently make plays after the catch to help keep the Aggies from dialing in on the Miami rushing attack by way of loading the box.

5) Will A&M feature one primary running back – former Miami Central star Amari Daniels – or will it be running back by committee?

Obviously Daniels will want to play well while he’s back in his hometown (he is a former Miami Central Rocket). That being the case, the Aggies possess three running backs that carry the football often with Daniels as the lead runner, then it’s Le’Veon Moss and Rueben Owens off the bench that both possess excellent talent.

Keep in mind, Moss and Owens are a sophomore and a freshman. The Canes need to take advantage of them in pass protection and apply pressure to Weigman. Young running backs are typically not that good in that area.

6) Big passing plays, which team hits more of them?

Very simple here. The team with more chunk-yardage passing plays holds an edge in coming out on top by game’s end. It does not necessarily need to be bombs either. Remember Young’s first score versus Miami of Ohio?

A screen pass, if properly being blocked, can go to the house. Receivers from each squad can maneuver through a defense if given a crack. Now, which team executes – regardless of the type of passing play – and creates those big passing plays?

7) Special teams and turnovers, Miami or A&M will be more sound?

During close games, the team that usually wins plays well in the kicking game. Same with protecting the football. Even one miscue can lead to the Hurricanes or Aggies holding an advantage.

For that reason, it would not be shocking if the rotations shorten a bit and feature more experience for each team. Veterans generally hold onto the football better.

Miami vs Miami of Ohio Staff Predictions

All Hurricanes Staff Predictions: Miami's Win-Loss Record

2024 Miami Commitments

2024 Recruiting Profiles

2023 Miami Football Schedule

2023 Miami Football Roster

Countdown to Canes: The List is your home for all things Miami Hurricanes football, recruiting, basketball and other athletics, all the time. Follow along on social media at @AllHurricanes on Twitter and All Hurricanes on Facebook for round-the-clock news and analysis.