The Miners enter the contest at 1-6 overall, and 0-4 in conference play and are coming off a tough 45-7 road loss at Rice. To make matters worse, starting quarterback Jameill Showers was knocked out of that contest with a separated shoulder, and will not be available today.
Texas A&M boasts a 6-2 mark, including 3-2 in the SEC, and also comes in as the 12th ranked team in the nation behind starting quarterback and reigning Heisman winner Johnny Manziel. The Aggies are fresh off a 56-24 drubbing of Vanderbilt last week in College Station.
There's no question about it, the Miners will absolutely have their hands full in this one. Blaire Sullivan, who has shown some promise in his time under center, will lead the way, but it will take a complete team effort for the Miners to keep pace with the Aggies.
Manziel and his offense rank 5th nationally in passing yards per game, as well as 4th in points for per game. Now, the Miners do rank 41st nationally in pass defense, but that is more a product of teams' ability to run against them, and choosing to do so more than pass. The Miners' opponents have actually only attempted 143 passes against them, the fewest against any team at the FBS level.
If the Aggies follow suit, they should be able to find success against the UTEP defense, much like others before them have. Not only do the Miners rank 121st against the run giving up nearly 250 yards a game, the Aggies are actually a solid run team, averaging about 208 yards per contest.
Bottom, the Miners will be heavily outmatched on both sides of the ball, and will truly have to be at their best to keep pace with one of the nation's top offenses.
The Aggies have been a bit suspect against the run so look for the Miners try to get the ground game going early and often. If they can do so, they may be able to keep this one close, but if they can't A&M may run away with it out of the gates.
More than anything though, this will be somewhat of a (second) coming out party for Blaire Sullivan, as we'll get a chance to see what he can do against some top competition. Of course, it'd be nice to see Sullivan and the Miners give the Aggies a game, but above all, today's goal should truly be for this team to get out of College Station as healthy as possible.
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