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Can The Miami Hurricanes Attack Texas A&M's Rushing Defense? Biggest Question Mark?

Alex Donno gets the inside scoop on Texas A&M from Andrew Stefaniak from Locked On Aggies.
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On my Locked On Canes podcast, I sat down with my Texas A&M counterpart, Andrew Stefaniak, to break down the paths to victory for the Hurricanes and Aggies. 

Andrew confirmed my suspicions as to where A&M's number one vulnerability could lie. 

Rushing defense.

"The biggest question mark coming into this football season for the Aggies is the ability to stop the run," Stefaniak said. "Last year, it was like running through Swiss cheese. They couldn't stop a traffic cone."

He's not kidding. I looked up last year's defensive stats. The Aggies ranked 123rd in America in run-stopping, giving up 208.8 yards per game. Yikes!

Stefaniak is correct in referring to it as a question mark. We won't truly know how much the Aggies have improved (or not) in this department until we see what Miami does on the ground this Saturday. 

The Aggies have some dudes in their front seven. DJ Durkin's defense is littered with former 5-Star recruits. In the same way Miami fans believe their team has strengthened since last year, Aggies fans feel the same way. Both teams want to wash away the stench of 5-7 in 2022. Saturday will be a big test.

New Mexico had moderate success running into the teeth of Texas A&M's defense in week one. The Lobos racked up 91 rushing yards. The yards per carry wasn't great, though, at 2.8. 

Stefaniak told me he saw some signs of improvement in the rushing defense last week, but not enough to get a true sense that things are fixed. 

You can only take so much from a game against New Mexico. For Miami, you can only take so much from a game against Miami of Ohio. 

Still, things looked encouraging for the Hurricanes ground game against the Redhawks. The Canes rushed for 250 team yards against a defense that ranked 44th against the run last season. 

The Hurricanes rolled four deep at tailback with Henry Parrish Jr, Ajay Allen, Mark Fletcher and Don Chaney Jr all making significant contributions and carrying a virtually even load. All of them but Allen scored a touchdown. 

While I believe Miami will also need to stretch the field with their passing game from time to time, you can expect them to test the Aggies rushing defense early and often. 

Stefaniak asked me what Miami's biggest question mark will be. 

Slowing down A&M's passing attack won't be easy. The Aggies have an impressive trio of receivers in Evan Stewart, Noah Thomas and Ainias Smith. Thomas, at 6-6, will be a tricky cover. Their young quarterback, Conner Weigmen, looks the part so far. 

Miami has one of the best safety duos in America and some length in their cornerback room. Matching up 6-5 safety James Williams against Thomas could be very interesting. Few DB's in the country can match Thomas' height. 

This game could very well be won by whichever team does a better job exploiting the question mark of the other. 

Kickoff for Texas A&M at Miami is set for 3:30pm on Saturday, September 9th from Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL. 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.