1. Head them off with the pass
Taking on Texas A&M’s defense is a black-or-white proposition. The Aggies are ranked No. 2 nationally against the run (80.8 yards per game) but 104th nationally in passing yards allowed (261.0) and 111th in pass efficiency defense. LSU will try to balance out its attack on the Aggies with the run, but Joe Burrow and his receiving corps are going to have to advance the ball through the air for the Tigers to win.
2. Managing Mond
Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher tried to hire LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda. Now Aranda needs to show Fisher why he wanted him, by confusing Aggies quarterback Kellen Mond and forcing him to make mistakes. Mond has been hot, he threw for 430 yards against Clemson, but has also thrown eight interceptions. LSU, with its SEC-best 16 interceptions, needs to win the turnover battle, and that starts by getting inside Mond’s helmet to rattle his confidence.
3. Outrun the Aggies
Texas A&M’s Trayveon Williams leads the SEC with 120.5 yards rushing per game. Combined, LSU’s Nick Brossette and Clyde Edwards-Helaire average 134.9, but again it will be tough sledding for them against that physical Aggies’ front. Both Burrow and Mond are able to stress the defense with their running ability. LSU doesn’t need to win the rushing stat, but it does need to keep from being overwhelmed by something like 200 yards to 25.
4. Shine on special teams
Special teams is a strength for both teams. LSU has the better place-kicker in Lou Groza finalist Cole Tracy, but A&M has the better punter in Braden Mann at 50.9 yards per punt (LSU’s Zach Von Rosenberg is second in the SEC at 45.7). The teams are nearly even on kickoff and punt returns. Texas A&M blocked a field goal and extra point try against UAB and Tracy’s penchant for low, line-drive kicks is a worry.