November 12, 2007

A&M makes strides, but falls short in upset bid

The 3-3-5 alignment utilized Saturday was designed to keep everything in front of Aggie defenders and force teams to drive down the field. It's basically the same alignment A&M used in 2006 to win at Kyle Field and force three turnovers.

This year, Missouri learned to bounce the zone read play back inside into the bubble instead of outside into the strength of the defense and rushed for over 200 yards. Due to a lack of pressure, Chase Daniel was efficient in completing nearly 80% of his passes and the Tigers offense only had one turnover. In fact, the Missouri offense generated 32 first downs, a 60% third down conversion ratio, and an advantage in time of possession (Missouri was 11th in the Big 12 coming into the game). Time after time, multiple A&M defenders missed tackles which turned losses into short gains and short gains into long one.

And for the third straight game, whether anyone wants to admit it or not, A&M ran into a program that was much faster on both sides of the ball. Regardless of recruiting rankings, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri have done a much better job of identifying and developing speed and putting those players in position to make BIG plays.

Because of the discrepancy in speed, A&M sometimes looks like its effort is not where it should be but the Aggies are playing hard. They fought to come back from a 19-0 deficit against Kansas and kept nipping at Missouri's heels all day knowing that they were no longer a factor in the Big 12 South race. But the lack of big plays and playmakers means that the Aggies are vulnerable to just about anyone that can spread them out by alignment on defense and can man up on the corners and attack the perimeter of A&M's option game.

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