Friday night’s Cotton Bowl will feature two of college football’s best offenses. Johnny Manziel and the Aggie offense receives most of the pub, but the Aggie defense is just as important in this game. Oklahoma may be the best offense the Aggies have faced all year, and it will be a challenge for the A&M defense to corral Landry Jones and the stable of OU receivers and backs.
Texas A&M’s defense has put up solid numbers in 2012, but then again, they play in an anemic offensive conference in the SEC. They rank 58th in total defense, allowing on average 389 yards a game. However, their scoring defense is much better at 22 points per game, which ranks 28th in the country.
The good news for Sooner fans is that Texas A&M struggled against the pass giving up almost 250 yards a game ranking 83rd in the country. Though, their run defense only gave up an average of 140 yards per game.
The Aggies went back to the 4-3 defense this year under new defensive coordinator Mark Snyder. However, A&M might play more nickel due to OU’s spread attack. A&M likes to blitz from all angles and expect them to blitz early and often in an attempt to get pressure on Landry Jones. The two players that figure to get that pressure are outside linebacker Sean Porter and defensive end Damontre Moore.
Porter, a 6-2, 230 lbs. linebacker, possesses great athleticism and a nose for the ball. Porter has been a key piece to the A&M defense for the past couple of seasons and will be a big factor Friday night.
Moore, a 6-foot-4, 250 lbs. defensive end, figures to be one of the top picks in the upcoming NFL draft. Moore very well could be the best player on both sides of the ball Friday night and the Sooners will have their hands full with him. He can line up on either the left or right side, so Oklahoma tackles Lane Johnson and Tyrus Thompson should see plenty of Moore.
Expect the Aggie defense to be aggressive early in this one, and try to get pressure by blitzing. To counter, OU’s offense will need to pass the ball effectively to set up the run and possibly run a few screens to try and burn the blitzing Aggie defense. The Aggies have plenty of talent on the defensive side of the ball and it will be interesting to see how they fare against an explosive OU offense.