Texas A&M has already achieved some nice accomplishments in its first year under Kevin Sumlin.
The Aggies are on a three-game winning streak, are coming off their first-ever Southeastern Conference victory last weekend over Arkansas and have one of the hottest quarterbacks in the country in redshirt freshman Johnny Manziel.
What the Aggies haven’t done yet is gone on the road and won a game in hostile territory. They’ll have a chance to do that Saturday night when they travel to Oxford, Miss., for their first road SEC game against Ole Miss
It’s something the Aggies (3-1, 1-1 SEC) are looking forward to.
“We’re anxious to get there,” said Sumlin, whose team’s lone road game so far was at SMU and featured as much maroon as red, white and blue. “We don’t do any different preparation for that. Good teams are able to handle road and away games.
Playing on the road is always going to be difficult. The better the competitor you are, those environments are the kind you want to play in. We have a new staff, new team. We’ll see how these guys handle it.”
Ole Miss (3-2, 0-1) should present a solid test for the Aggies. The Rebels have lost their last two games but they were to Texas and No. 1-ranked Alabama. The Rebels played Alabama tough last weekend before falling 33-14.
The key Saturday could come down to the quarterbacks. Ole Miss is still undecided about who will start Saturday. Sophomore Bo Wallace, who has been the starter this season, has lost some practice time to junior Barry Brunetti and the Rebels won’t name their starter until Thursday.
The Aggies are preparing for whatever Ole Miss does.
“Our defense and our preparation have been pretty tedious this week with all the formations, all the shifts, motions, things like that,” Sumlin said. “The ability to adjust on the fly shouldn’t be as difficult for us as it is for some. They’re well coached. They know what they’re doing. They know what they’re doing with that offense.”
So do the Aggies.
Texas A&M average more than 100 yards passing per game than the Rebels and Manziel has been the reason. He was the SEC Offensive Player of the wWeek following the 58-10 rout of Arkansas last weekend.
Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze knows his team has to find a way to slow Manziel down.
“I don’t know that you can ever stop it,” Freeze said. “They know what they’re doing and do it very, very well. Having a quarterback in Manziel that extends plays as good as any I’ve ever seen in this game, he not only extends them but makes positive outcomes of the ones he does extend is a very, very difficult task. Hopefully we can come up with a plan that at least limits their quick scores.”