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Game Day Matchups

Game Day Matchups

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A&M's run game vs. UT's run defense: A&M running back Cyrus Gray and a maturing offensive line have been instrumental during A&M's five-game winning streak. Gray has powered his way to 615 yards. UT has been hot-and-cold against the run. Nebraska had only 125 yards, and UT held four other teams under 100 yards. However, UCLA, Kansas State and Iowa State combined for 724 yards in gashing the Longhorns. A&M will have to do a good job blocking LB Keenan Robinson (100 tackles). Edge: Texas A&M

A&M's pass attack vs. UT's pass defense: UT defensive coordinator Will Muschamp will try to beat A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill, something that Oklahoma's Brent Venables and Nebraska's Carl Pelini couldn't do. A&M needs to slow down UT rush ends Sam Acho and Eddie Jones, who have combined for 15 sacks. A&M's Jeff Fuller and Ryan Swope have combined for 127 catches for 1,719 yards and 15 TDs, but they'll have a tough time finding holes in a veteran UT secondary led by safety Blake Gideon. Edge: Even

UT's run game vs. A&M's run defense: Texas rushed for a season-high 259 yards last week, but Florida Atlantic's run defense ranks 103rd in the country. A&M is 15th and should be able to stuff a unit that's been held to 107 yards or less four times. UT starts true freshman Trey Hopkins and redshirt freshman Mason Walters at guards and could be playing redshirt freshman Paden Kelley for senior left tackle Kyle Hix who came back last week from a concussion. Not too many runners have eluded A&M's Michael Hodges (98 tackles) and Garrick Williams (90 tackles). Edge: Texas A&M

UT's pass attack vs. A&M's pass defense: UT sophomore quarterback Garrett Gilbert has struggled, throwing 15 interceptions and only nine touchdowns. He'll have a tough time recognizing where A&M defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter will be bringing blitzes. Gilbert was only 50-of-89 passing for 530 yards against Oklahoma, Nebraska and Oklahoma State, which have pressure defenses comparable to A&M. UT has a tough time making defenses pay for mistakes. James Kirkendoll is the only UT receiver with a catch of more than 47 yards. Edge: Texas A&M

Special teams: UT has the edge in field goals with Justin Tucker who is 22 of 26, including 6 of 9 from 40 yards or longer. Punting has been a season-long weakness for A&M, and it may be worse if Ryan Epperson (hip-flexor) can't punt. Texas has been horrible on kickoff returns, but good on punt returns. A&M has been very good lately in kickoff returns, not that it wants UT scoring to prove it. Edge: Texas

Intangibles: It's not a great season for A&M unless it beats Texas, while the season is over for UT unless it beats A&M. Pride always comes into play in the state's top rivalry, but the nation will be watching to see why Texas has nose-dived and the Aggies surfaced among the nation's elite. Both teams have more to gain than lose with a victory, but don't underestimate the value of denying a rival satisfaction. Edge: Even

-- Robert Cessna

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