The 13th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats have quite the challenge awaiting them this weekend. They will be on the road taking on a tough Texas A&M Aggies team.
Despite a 3-2 record and being unranked, the Aggies are a scary team. Their only two losses are to No. 1 Alabama on the road and at home to No. 4 Clemson in a game they lost by only two.
Jimbo Fisher’s group is loaded with talent. Here is a look at some of the players who Kentucky will need to contain to come away with a win.
Quarterback Kellen Mond
As Josh Allen said earlier in the week, Kellen Mond is similar to Kentucky’s Terry Wilson. Mond is a dual-threat quarterback who may even have a bit of a better arm than Wilson. Mond ranks third among SEC quarterbacks in rushing and ranks fourth in passing yards.
Mond’s one hiccup is turnovers. He is tied for third worst in the SEC with four interceptions. Only Wilson and South Carolina’s Jake Bentley having more.
Thus, to win the game Kentucky’s defense will have to force Mond into making bad decisions while not allowing him to get outside the pocket. They did a good job of this against Mississippi State’s Nick Fitzgerald, though Mond is easily a better passer that will test the Kentucky defense vertically and on the ground.
Running Back Trayveon Williams
Only Benny Snell has more rushing yards among SEC rushers than Trayveon Williams. Williams is one of the elite backs in all the nation. He has averaged an outstanding 6.1 yards per attempt as he’s run for 582 yards in just 96 attempts, though 240 of those did come against an FCS opponent in Northwestern State back in Week 1.
Williams is still a very dangerous runner that just went for 152 yards and two scores vs. Arkansas. Kentucky will need to win the battle at the line of scrimmage to stop him. He may very well end up being the best running back Kentucky faces in the regular season.
Linebacker Otaro Alaka
No one has more total tackles on the Aggies defense than Otaro Alaka. Alaka has 29 total tackles which ranks 11th in the SEC. He is a premium run stopper with 4.5 tackles for a loss this year. His biggest game was against Clemson as he had 10 total tackles.
The Cats offensive line will need to keep Alaka away from Snell and Wilson when he leaves the pocket.
The 12th Man
Obviously, this isn’t a physical player. However, the crowd noise the Wildcats will have to face is going to be their biggest challenge. Kyle Field is one of college football’s greatest home-field advantages. 102,733 plus screaming fans, most of which will be Aggies fans, will be trying to force Kentucky into false starts, delay of games, and into unnecessary penalties.
The Cats need to be ready to handle the noise and focus on winning this big game.
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