Posted by Tom Fornelli
TEXAS A&M WILL WIN IF: The defense that shows up against Kansas last week returns for an encore performance. In the Aggies three-game losing streak before the Kansas win, they were allowing 44 points a game. Kansas only managed to score 7 against them last week, and though there's quite a difference in talent between Kansas and Texas, the Texas offense has been in a rut the last few weeks. Texas A&M needs to make sure they stay there. Especially considering that the Aggies offense has lost Christine Michael and may be without Cyrus Gray as well in this game. Which means Ryan Tannehill may have to shoulder a lot of the load, and it won't be easy to do against the best defense in the conference. The good news for Texas A&M is that the Longhorns don't provide much of a threat through the air, and that may be playing into Texas A&M's strength as the Aggies defense is allowing a conference best 2.74 yards per carry.
TEXAS WILL WIN IF: The Longhorns have had trouble establishing a passing attack all season long. They average only 181.6 yards passing per game, and the team's efficiency rating of 119.45 is the lowest in the Big 12 outside of Iowa State. If there were ever a week to find a passing attack, this may be it. While the Texas A&M defense leads the Big 12 in sacks, its secondary is also allowing 292.3 yards per game and nearly 3 touchdowns for every interception. So whether it's David Ash or Case McCoy under center on Thursday night, Texas would be well-served to try and move the ball through the air. The Longhorns defense is the best in the conference, but Texas A&M should be able to put up some points against it over 60 minutes, and I don't believe the Longorns offense can outscore the Aggies if it remains so one-dimensional.
X-FACTOR: Case McCoy. McCoy has been Texas' "throwing quarterback" for the most part this season. Despite the limited amount of time he's seen under center, he's thrown more touchdowns on the year than David Ash (4 to 3) and is also yet to throw an interception. So if Texas is going to get a passing game going against the Aggies on Thursday night, then it's going to be McCoy who has to get the job done for them. The more successful he is, the more successful the Longhorns will be.