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LSU running back Darrel Williams (28) runs the ball in the first quarter against Tennessee, Saturday, November 18, 2017, at The University of Tennessee's Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn.

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK

1 Fight or flight?

If Texas A&M players and coaches are not sure what to make of reports that Kevin Sumlin will be fired after the LSU game, they must at least acknowledge that it is a distinct possibility. How will they react? Will it be a distraction or a motivation? The Tigers have to put it out of mind other than to think that A&M will come out emotional and could be flattened by a quick LSU lead.

2 Run program

For Texas A&M, stopping the run remains the age-old problem. In six of their seven SEC games, the Aggies have allowed 202 or more yards rushing. The Tigers, who got a school-record 285 yards rushing from Derrius Guice in College Station last year, tried to run it right at Tennessee last week and netted 200 yards, but that number was a long time coming. LSU must be more effective running the ball from the jump.

3 Big play diet

LSU surrendered passes of 28, 46 and 60 yards against Tennessee, and as in the previous game against Arkansas the Tigers have become alarmingly vulnerable to screen passes. Texas A&M has 70 plays of 20 yards or more including punt and kick returns, areas which have also been problematic for the Tigers at times. The Aggies will need to hit big plays to beat LSU, and conversely the Tigers must limit them to win.

4 Capture the flag

Affecting the quarterback is always a must and the Tigers and Aggies have both been exceptional at that. Texas A&M and LSU are the top two pass-rushing teams in the SEC, recording 36 and 33 sacks, respectively, though Arden Key's availability is a big concern for the home team. Conversely, the Tigers have allowed one less sack (24) than the Aggies (25) through 11 games. A big edge in sacks to one team could tip the scales.

Follow Scott Rabalais on Twitter, @RabalaisAdv.​