1. Leaving Las Vegas…or Arkansas - The Hogs need a road game in the worst way. The last three weeks have been made so much worse because John L. Smith's squad has had no place to hide, losing three straight in the great state of Arkansas. I've said this plenty of times over the 40 years of my life - the best thing about a road game is the opportunity to come together to upset a team on the road. Players, coaches and support staff against the World. I love it.
2. Dominate in the Gap of B - From tackle to tackle, the Hogs offensive line has to take over the football game. TAMU DE Damontre Moore is playing the best football of his life on the edge, so getting to the perimeter will be tough. As such, the Hogs interior must win on the inside against DTs Spencer Nealy, Kirby Ennis and Jonathan Mathis. It won't be easy, but the only place the Arkansas OL can win is inside against that trio to get Knile Davis going early and often.
3. Roll the Dice - I hate to even say this, but Arkansas DC Paul Haynes needs to sell out. There are so many reasons why I despise just sending the kitchen sink, especially against a Kliff Kingsbury-led offense that can screen you to do death. But, the Hogs MUST speed up the decision-making for Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel. Arkansas sat back and let Rutgers QB Gary Nova carve them up. If Manziel is going to beat Arkansas, he's going to have to do it from his wallet. It's risky, I'm aware, but what does Haynes have to lose? A job? That's long gone.
1. More of 2-0 - Trey Williams is one of the most magnificent young weapons in college football and Kingsbury has to get him 10-12 touches against the shaky Arkansas defense. Sure, Manziel stirs the drink, but Williams is threat on a different level. Screens, draws, swing routes, inside draws, whatever, be creative and get him the ball and max out the pressure that a threat like this poses to the Arkansas defense.
2. Three the hard way - The A&M linebacking corps is as complete a unit as I've seen this year. Jonathan Stewart in the middle has made great strides, while I love the way Sean Porter and Steven Jenkins fly around and play in space. That said, this is a game in which tackling is at a premium facing powerful, hard charging backs like Davis, Dennis Johnson and/or Ronnie Wingo. These three have improved their tackling mightily this season, but this is their most stern test.
3. Don't let up - Texas A&M had Florida on the ropes in the first half of that matchup earlier in the year, but A&M took the foot off the throttle in the second half of the game. Now, Florida had something to do with that too, but Arkansas is clearly on the ropes and A&M can deliver a knockout blow. The last thing Arkansas' defense wants is to give up a first down and turn right back around and face a fast paced no huddle offense ready for some more. Keep the pressure on them with the no-huddle all game long.
Even though A&M has played well on both sides of the ball the last two weeks, it's back in SEC play this weekend (which I still have to remind myself…TAMU - SEC) to face a team either desperate for a win or ready to pack it in for the season. A&M wins this game going away if it doesn't let Arkansas breathe. Let the Hogs off the turf, allow a cheap touchdown, turn the ball over, give up a big play on special teams…whatever and this one can go a different way. With all that said, Texas A&M still has to prove it can beat SEC opponents for a full 60 minutes. I think they will in this one, although covering the 13.5 is a bit much.
Texas A&M - 31 vs. Arkansas - 21