Friday, January 4, 2013
Staff prediction: Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma
By Sam Khan Jr.
Texas A&M 31, Oklahoma 28
I don't expect this to be as high scoring as some might think because of the bowl season layoff. With Texas A&M, it also must be taken into account that there's a new playcaller: running backs coach Clarence McKinney is taking over those duties in place of former offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury, who is now the head coach at Texas Tech. Since he has been in the offense for five years under head coach Kevin Sumlin, I think McKinney will do just fine in that role, but there certainly will be an adjustment. Across the field, Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones has the best resume of any quarterback Texas A&M has seen this year, so he will be a challenge. The Aggies' formula of aggressiveness on defense that has led to a good pass rush and a quality third down defense will have to continue if they want to slow down this high-powered Oklahoma offense. I think Damontre Moore goes out with a bang in his last game as an Aggie, leading the charge for the unit and Johnny Manziel shows very few effects from his post-Heisman Trophy publicity tour and plays an overall good game.
Player to watch
Ben Malena, Texas A&M All the talk leading up to the bowl game has been about the quarterbacks, Manziel and Jones. But one guy who has a chance to steal the show is the Malena, the Aggies' junior running back. He has thrived in his role as one of Texas A&M's three backs in this up-tempo offense and he has been the best fit. Plus, he's a willing player on special teams. With McKinney -- who has spent the season in charge of the running game along with offensive line coach B.J. Anderson -- calling the plays, don't be surprised if Malena gets some good work in early on to keep the Sooners' defense honest.