Two 2-0 teams will face off in Kyle Field with the Texas A&M Aggies hosting the University of New Mexico Lobos. The teams will play on Saturday, Sept. 18 at 11 a.m. Here are five things to keep an eye on during the contest:
1. Leader of the pack
New Mexico’s senior quarterback Terry Wilson is coming off of a career-high 382 passing yards in a win against rival New Mexico State. He has completed over 74 percent of his passes over two games and has put up three touchdowns in both matches. The Lobos will look to Wilson to keep the team afloat, but A&M’s third ranked pass defense has allowed less than 100 yards in the air per game. This unit, led by defensive backs senior Leon O’Neal Jr., junior Demani Richardson and sophomore Antonio Johnson, will put Wilson to the test.
2. Calzada’s first start
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Zach Calzada has yet to officially start a college football game, but on Saturday that could change. Redshirt freshman Haynes King left with a tibia fracture early in the first quarter of the Aggies’ game against Colorado. At No. 2 on the depth chart, Calzada was the next man up.
Calzada played well enough for a win against the Buffaloes, putting together solid drives at the end of the first and second halves, yet the offensive output was inconsistent. New Mexico could prove to be a necessary tune-up game for Calzada allowing him to face a defense that allows over 230 passing yards per game before he enters SEC play.
3. Calzada’s favorite targets
Calzada completed only 18 of his 38 pass attempts in the game against a strong Colorado defense. Despite the consistent pressure the Buffaloes front-seven threw at him, Calzada still managed to find some rhythm with certain A&M offensive players. His favorite targets appeared to be junior tight end Jalen Wydermyer and sophomore receiver Chase Lane. Wydermyer was targeted nine times and caught four passes for 66 yards, while Lane was targeted eight times and only had two catches for 19 yards.
Calzada and Wydermyer appeared to have a connection going all game, but Calzada and Lane’s connection rarely resulted in a catch. Calzada often threw the ball just enough off-target to Lane that it resulted in incompletions, but he clearly felt comfortable going back to him all game long. Lane appears to be in line as a major beneficiary if the targets start to consistently hit the mark.
4. Defensive dominance
The A&M defense has been nothing short of dominant so far this season. After Colorado scored an early touchdown last week, the Aggies kept them off the scoreboard for the rest of the game. While the team has shown weakness against the run, the A&M passing defense has been top-notch. The Aggies have only allowed 17 points in two games, and they’ll look to keep up this pressure against the Lobos.
5. Re-establishing the run
After putting together over 300 team rushing yards against the Golden Flashes in Week 1, A&M struggled to incorporate the rushing attack in Week 2. The offense mustered up less than 100 rushing yards and only managed 3.3 yards-per-carry. Establishing a consistent rushing attack will be necessary for the Aggies to take the pressure off the quarterback, whether that’s Calzada or King. Watch for head coach Jimbo Fisher to make the run game a key part of his plan this week against New Mexico.