Games to Watch: Aggies have chance for huge statement in SEC


Gameday Guide 11/9

No. 21 Mississippi State @ No. 7 LSU
The Tigers were less than two minutes away from upsetting No.1 Alabama but couldn’t hold off the Crimson Tide as they fell 21-17. However, there were a lot of positives to come out of the game and they still have a lot to play for.

Zach Mettenberger, who has struggled all season, had the greatest game of his career. Mettenberger went 24-of-35 for 298 yards and one touchdown and finally showed the potential to help the offense catch up to a very good defense. Also, freshman running back Jeremy Hill continued running strong, going for 107 yards and one touchdown.

The offense will look to continue to build off last week’s game, going up against a Mississippi State defense that got manhandled by Johnny Manziel and the Texas A&M; Aggies. In that game, Mississippi State gave up 693 yards of total offense — 361 rushing yards and 332 passing. 

After a 7-0 start had the Bulldogs dreaming big, they have come back down to earth, being out-scored 76-20 in their past two games. With their defensive struggles, the Bulldogs will look to Tyler Russell to try and help the team get back on track.

Russell has been outstanding on the season, throwing for 1,954 yards and 16 touchdowns, and has transformed into a dual-threat quarterback with his ability to run as well. He must have a big game if Mississippi State is going to get back on the winning track.

In last week’s loss, LSU found something with Mettenberger. Look for him to have another strong game and for the Tigers to get a comfortable victory over Mississippi State in Baton Rouge, La.

No. 13 Oregon State @ No. 16 Stanford
This, for the most part, is an elimination game in the Pac 12. Both teams are 5-1 in conference play, and each have to face Oregon in the upcoming weeks. Stanford has a big-time running back in Stepfan Taylor, and he will be huge as the Cardinal will be starting redshirt freshman Kevin Hogan at quarterback.

In a 48-0 win over Colorado, Hogan accounted for 232 total yards and two touchdowns and gave the Cardinal more offensive versatility than they have had this season. This offensive versatility will be handy as they are going up against a defense that ranks 19th in the country, giving up only 18.1 points per game. This defense does a great job of flying to the ball and creates a lot of extra opportunities for the offense.

Head coach Mike Riley appeared to be on the hot seat after a mediocre year but has gotten the Beavers back to playing some very good football.

This is a huge game for both teams, but the Cardinal are the home team, and that should be enough to get the Cardinal a tough hard-fought victory behind a strong rushing game by Stepfan Taylor.

No. 15 Texas A&M; @ No. 1 Alabama
The Crimson Tide survived in Death Valley against rival LSU behind a fourth-quarter comeback led by AJ McCarron. In the SEC there are no weeks off, and once again, Alabama will have a tough test going up against an explosive Texas A&M; offense led by freshman Johnny “Football” Manziel.

Just a freshman, Manziel has become a Heisman Trophy candidate due to his incredible play record. On the season, Manziel has totaled 3,449 yards and 31 touchdowns and has caused nightmares for opposing defenses. However, he has not ever played in an environment quite like what he’ll see on Saturday in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Coming off the national title run last season, the Crimson Tide appeared to take a step back as they lost a ton of talented players from last year’s team. However, this allowed McCarron to emerge at the quarterback position.

Last season, McCarron’s job was more to manage the game and avoiding mistakes. This season, he has proven that he can be a quarterback that goes out and wins the game, just like he did last Saturday against LSU.

For the Aggies, the move from the Big 12 to the SEC has been smooth. They have gone in and shown that they can more than compete in the conference. However, in their two toughest matchups, they have blown second half leads and fallen twice at home. This is a huge opportunity for the Aggies to make a big-time statement on the road against the number one team in the country.

With that being said, Alabama at home is just too tough and will win a very close game. Look for Manziel to have a big game though, and start his 2013-2014 campaign on Saturday.

Penn State over No. 16 Nebraska
Coming off the most tumultuous off-season in college football history, it appeared Penn State would be decimated for years to come. However, the team has responded to coach Bill O’Brien in a positive way, and quarterback Matt McGloin has emerged in his senior year.

After struggling last season and getting into a fight with a teammate during a bowl practice, he has matured and is playing the best football of his career.

On the season, McGloin has thrown for 2,436 yards and 18 touchdowns, helping make up for the loss of Silas Redd to USC. At Penn State, the defense is always going to be able to play good football, but McGloin’s play is what has given the Nittany Lions fans a reason to hope. They will be tested against a Nebraska team that is within striking distance of a Big 10 championship.

Taylor Martinez has continued to develop as a quarterback, combining for 2,607 yards and 26 touchdowns. He has always been known as a great runner, but he is becoming a much more accurate quarterback. This progression has helped Nebraska become a legitimate Big 10 contender.

Both teams are having very good season and will look to continue that Saturday. Penn State has been maybe the most surprising team this season, having to overcome so much adversity this past off-season. Look for McGloin to make the plays when needed and for Penn State to get another victory in Lincoln, Neb.