Texas A&M Aggies: Kenneth Dixon

Instant Analysis: A&M 59, La. Tech 57

October, 14, 2012

After a wild game with dramatic twists and turns, including a furious comeback attempt, Texas A&M outlasted Louisiana Tech 59-57 and escaped Independence Stadium in Shreveport, La., with a win to improve to 5-1 overall and give the Bulldogs (5-1) their first loss.

It was over when: Texas A&M running back Ben Malena recovered a Louisiana Tech onside kick attempt with 37 seconds remaining. The Bulldogs already had recovered one onside kick to set up their final touchdown, but Malena stepped in front of the ball and secured it for the Aggies to take a knee and leave with a win.

Game ball goes to: Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. The redshirt freshman continues to shine and broke the Texas A&M and Southeastern Conference records that he set against Arkansas earlier this season, compiling 576 total offensive yards. Manziel was 24-of-40 passing for 395 yards and three touchdown passes while rushing 19 times for 181 yards and three scores, including a 72-yarder that gave the Aggies their final points.

Game ball, Part 2: Louisiana Tech receiver Quinton Patton deserves a game ball for his tremendous effort for the Bulldogs. The Biletnikoff Award watch list member showed why he's considered one of the best receivers in the country, catching a whopping 21 passes for 232 yards and four touchdowns. The Aggies rarely had an answer for him, and Patton played a huge role in the Bulldogs' late rally to narrow the Aggies' lead.

Rising star: Louisiana Tech true freshman running back Kenneth Dixon. He had 18 carries for 111 yards (an average of 6.2 per carry) and had two touchdowns. He broke plenty of tackles on his second scoring run of the night. Texas A&M redshirt freshman receiver Mike Evans also was impressive and continues to produce for the Aggies as perhaps Manziel's favorite receiver, catching four passes for 137 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown catch.

What it means: For the Aggies, it sets up a huge showdown with 6-1 LSU next week at Kyle Field. Texas A&M saw some issues that existed in its season-opening loss to Florida (penalties and missed tackles among them) and after a strong first four games on defense, allowing 57 points certainly won't be comforting for coach Kevin Sumlin and defensive coordinator Mark Snyder.

For Louisiana Tech, it means its BCS-busting hopes are all but dashed. The Bulldogs likely will drop out of the rankings, but Sonny Dykes and Co. have nothing to be ashamed of. They showed tremendous fight and gave an SEC team a run for its money. The Bulldogs are still the favorites to win the WAC, and should they run the table the rest of the way, they'll jump back in and move up the rankings.

And depending how he fares next week against LSU, Manziel might start hearing the word "Heisman" mentioned in connection with his name pretty soon.
GigEmNation writer Sam Khan Jr. chatted with readers on Friday about Texas A&M football and recruiting. Here's the full transcript of the chat. After four consecutive wins, the Aggies travel to Shreveport, La. for a non-conference tilt with Louisiana Tech at 8:15 p.m. on Saturday at Independence Stadium.

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Inside look: Q&A on Louisiana Tech

October, 10, 2012
With Texas A&M's upcoming matchup against a fellow top-25 team approaching, undefeated Louisiana Tech (5-0), GigEmNation took the chance to get some perspective on the No. 23 Bulldogs with Shreveport Times reporter Jimmy Watson, who covers them.

Sam Khan Jr: With Louisiana Tech being undefeated and the Aggies being the only ranked team standing in their way, what's the buzz around the program like leading up to this matchup?
Jimmy Watson: La. Tech fans are excited about being ranked for the first time since the 1999 season and can’t wait for Saturday’s showdown. While the team doesn’t even want to talk about it, the fans are hoping to be BCS busters if they can get past the Aggies.

[+] EnlargeColby Cameron
Troy Taormina/US PresswireQuarterback Colby Cameron and Louisiana Tech are 5-0 under coach Sonny Dykes.
SK: What has impressed you the most about the Bulldogs to this point in the season?
JW: The lack of interceptions by quarterback Colby Cameron, the speed that the offense runs play and the performance of freshman running back Kenneth Dixon, who is better than expected.

SK: What are some areas that the Bulldogs still need work in that you think the Aggies might look to exploit?
JW: Tech’s defense has given up a number of big plays in the passing game and are susceptible to crossing patterns deep.

SK: In your opinion, did the change of the date of the game help or hinder the Bulldogs' chances at a win?
JW: I think it seriously hurt their chances. The Aggies certainly have their feet under them and have adjusted to a very good young quarterback.

SK: Louisiana Tech is no. 3 in the country in scoring offense and no. 11 in total offense. What has been the biggest key to that success?
JW: The balance in running and passing. A lot of people think all they do is sling it around all over the place. But against UNLV on Saturday, Tech had about 300 yards passing and about 300 rushing. Similar to Kevin Sumlin’s teams at Houston, Tech expects to run a lot of plays to wear down the defense. They ran 97 against UNLV.

SK: Before the season you mentioned freshman running back Kenneth Dixon as a name to watch that might be unknown and clearly he has played well. Who's another player that may be under the radar for the Bulldogs that could make an impact on Saturday night?
JW: Ray Holley. He’s a senior and was slated to play in the slot before the other super freshman running back, Tevin King, went down with an ACL injury. Holley moved over to running back and has provided a speed alternative to Dixon, who is a power back.

SK: How do you think the Bulldogs will approach defending a quarterback as mobile as Johnny Manziel?
JW: You only hope to contain him. Manziel will get his yards against Tech’s defense, which is giving up 30-something points per game. Saw where there were a lot of Aggie turnovers against Ole Miss. If they have anything close to that number against Tech, winning will be difficult.

First glance: Breaking down La. Tech 

October, 8, 2012
Campus location: Ruston, La.
Nickname: Bulldogs
Conference: WAC
Record: 5-0
Record vs. Texas A&M: 0-9* (Louisiana Tech has lost all 10 meetings it has had with the Aggies but Texas A&M vacated a win in 1998 because of use of an ineligible player).


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