college football picks FIU at Texas A&M 9-18-10

September 18, 2010


DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 18th, 7:00 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Kyle Field (83,002) — College Station, Texas. Television: None. Home Record: FIU 0-1, Texas A&M 2-0. Away Record: FIU 0-0, Texas A&M 0-0. Neutral Record: FIU 0-0, Texas A&M 0-0. Conference Record: FIU 0-0, Texas A&M 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.

GAME NOTES: For the first-time ever FIU and Texas A&M will collide on the football field when the Aggies host the Golden Panthers this Saturday at Kyle Field.

The Golden Panthers opened the 2010 campaign with a tough, 19-14 loss to Rutgers at home. FIU is coming off a three win season and head coach Mario Cristobal could be on the hot seat if the Golden Panthers do not improve on that number this year.

As for the Aggies, they have cruised through their first two games, crushing Stephen F. Austin (48-7), while following that win with a strong, 48-16 showing against Louisiana Tech. Coach Mike Sherman led the Aggies to six wins in 2009, but down the stretch his squad stumbled to a 1-4 ledger over their last five matchups.

The Golden Panthers were their own worst enemy against Rutgers, as the team committed five turnovers in a five-point loss to the Scarlet Knights.

Junior Wes Carroll’s first start under center had its highs and lows. The quarterback did threw for 166 yards and two touchdowns, but completed just 12- of-22 passes and also tossed two interceptions.

Running back Jeremiah Harden was on the receiving end of one of Carroll’s touchdown passes and finished with 26 yards on three receptions. The tailback also did a solid job running the ball, as he finished with 88 yards on 15 carries.

Defensively the Golden Panthers finished near the bottom in almost every major category last year, and the two glaring numbers were 35.3 ppg allowed and 491.6 total ypg surrendered.

Against the Scarlet Knights however, coach Cristobal’s defense was outstanding, even though the team lost. FIU, which was gashed for 232.2 ypg on the ground a year ago, held Rutgers to just 76 yards on 38 carries.

The team was just as impressive against the pass, holding the opponent from the Big East to only 96 yards through the air. FIU even forced three turnovers and held Rutgers to a mere 2-of-13 on third down attempts.

The Aggies will certainly give FIU’s defense a much tougher test this weekend. Texas A&M has only squared off against Stephen F. Austin and Louisiana Tech, and neither school is a powerhouse, but in those matchups the Aggies have shown a balanced attack.

After rushing for over 100 yards in the opener, Christine Michael eclipsed the century mark for a second time in as many games, rumbling for 107 yards against the Bulldogs. Quarterback Jerrod Johnson added 50 yards for the Aggies, who as a whole churned out a dominating 216 rushing yards.

Johnson was much better with his arm, as the Aggie quarterback threw for 249 yards and four touchdowns. In two games the signal caller has completed 67.9 percent of his throws, and comes into this weekend with six TD passes and zero interceptions.

Jeff Fuller and Ryan Swope have been the top two targets for Johnson, and while Swope leads the team with 18 receptions, Fuller is the dangerous receiver that can get down field in a hurry. Against Louisiana Tech, Fuller hauled in 10 passes for 160 yards and found the end zone once.

The two opponents that coach Sherman’s defense has faced do not possess dangerous offensive units, so it is not surprising that Texas A&M has surrendered just 23 points in two games.

It is clear however, that Texas A&M can control a team’s ground game, and after holding Stephen F. Austin to just 31 rushing yards, the defense for the Aggies put forth a similar effort against Louisiana Tech. Against the Bulldogs, the Aggies surrendered only 61 yards on 40 carries.

The secondary did allow 208 passing yards, which is a bit concerning, but they countered those yards with two interceptions. In fact, the Aggies collected four takeaways in the win, giving them six on the year.

Another bright spot was the tenacious play of Damontre Moore, who proved to be too much to handle. The freshman lineman racked up seven tackles in the contest, but more importantly he forced three fumbles, recovering one of them, and also grabbed two sacks. He is clearly a menace up front and should cause plenty of problems for opposing teams throughout the season.

The Golden Panthers did an admirable job against the Scarlet Knights in their opener, but the Aggies roll into this matchup clicking on all cylinders. Texas A&M should continue its dominating play en route to its third victory on the season.


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