It's Football Time in Tennessee: Vols vs. Texas A&M Aggies Preview (10/14/23)
Recently: Tennessee (#19/17, 4-1, 1-1)
spent the week at Disneyland after winning the Super Bowl
enjoyed a much-needed bye week after the 41-20 Dark Mode takedown of South
Carolina. Recap of the top plays from that game here:
Meanwhile, Texas A&M (NR, 4-2, 2-1) fell 26-20 against Alabama in College Station last weekend. A&M saw the Tide score 16 straight to open the second half, erasing a 17-10 halftime advantage for the Aggies.
Previously on Vols vs. Aggies: UT lost an uninspired 34-13 contest at home against the Aggies in 2020. Despite TAMU being a SEC member school for over a decade now, this will be just the fifth-ever meeting between the schools and the second in Knoxville. The first two contests between the schools were bowl games (1957 Gator, 2004 Cotton), both wins for Tennessee. The most memorable matchup for the living fan is likely the 2016 double-overtime barnburner at Kyle Field that UT lost 38-45.
Five Factor Preview:
UT Offense vs. TAMU Defense
Jumping off the page to me is that 28% havoc rate for the Aggie defense. The Vols' offensive line looked like a different unit with Cooper Mays back for the South Carolina game, but this Aggie defense will be a real test for the UT front on Saturday. TAMU junior LB Edgerrin Cooper leads the SEC and is 2nd nationally with 12 tackles for loss and is 6th nationally with 6 sacks this season--all 6 coming in SEC games. Sophomore DL and Powell High School graduate Walter Nolan is 4th in the SEC with 7.5 TFLs and tied for 6th with 4 sacks, with at least one sack in each SEC game. The Aggies lead the nation in TFLs (57) and sacks (26) and are 16th nationally (2nd in SEC) with 26 pass break-ups. Cry havoc, indeed.
UT Defense vs. TAMU Offense
Short fields and scoring opportunities look to be key for the Aggies' offense. Tennessee has been stingy with the points per scoring opportunity--it will help if the Vols can keep TAMU for getting the field position they want, especially early. Under Jimbo Fisher, A&M is 33-6 when scoring first and 32-2 when leading after the first quarter. Tennessee will want to limit graduate WR Ainias Smith as much as possible. Smith is the only career 2000-yard receiver in SEC history to also have at least 250 career rushing, punt return, and kick return yards. Smith is also the active career leader in punt return yards, and is 2nd nationally with 20.2 yards per return this season.
Aggie Offensive Concepts:
According to secstatcat.com, these are TAMU's most used concepts on offense:
⚠️Trigger Warning -High Level of Cringe ⚠️ pic.twitter.com/N3LqmApAsy— Big Orange Punch 🍊 (@BigOrangePunch) October 10, 2023