Sometimes football is simple. See matchup. Exploit said matchup.
That’s what the Texas A&M offense ran into against Missouri on Saturday. With all the complexities in today's offenses, the difference between winning and losing can often be found in finding that one matchup the other team can’t answer.
The Missouri run defense is bad. The No. 21 Aggies knew that going in. And coach Jimbo Fisher and his staff avoided the temptation of trying to do too much after their mammoth upset of then-No. 1 Alabama last weekend.
The Aggies put the game in the hands of running backs Isaiah Spiller and Devon Achane, along with their offensive line, and let it rip. The Aggies won easily, 35-14.
Missouri entered the game giving up 287 rushing yards per game. That’s the worst average in all the FBS. The Aggies obliged, finishing with 283 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Spiller rushed for 168 yards and one touchdown, while Achane rushed for 124 yards and two scores.
Many of those yards were really easy to get, too. On the first two touchdown runs, Spiller and Achane blasted through holes big enough for Fisher to pick up a few yards.
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Yes, the Missouri run defense is bad. But the A&M offensive line is playing better and getting healthier. Jahmir Johnson returned to the starting lineup after a one-game absence. No matter what combination the Aggies put out there against the Tigers, it worked.
The Aggies (5-2, 2-2 SEC) established the run early and eliminated the temptation to put more on quarterback Zach Calzada than necessary. A week after playing the role of hero, he looked much more pedestrian — 148 yards passing, two touchdowns and one interception. But he ran the offense with comfort, kept the defense honest and spread the ball around to eight different receivers. Ainias Smith caught three passes and both of Calzada’s touchdowns.
Early in the week Fisher called the Missouri game a “trap game.” Turns out the Aggies laid the trap by exploiting the Tigers' glaring weakness in rush defense and running away with it.
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You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.