It was a very, very hot October day last year. An 11 a.m. start time. A crowd full of Aggie fans that actually dwindled down to nothing by the time the game was over.
I have never seen a game quite like it in all my years of being around Aggie football. Missouri beat the life out of the crowd and the sun did the rest as Blaine Gabbert led the Tigers to a 30-9 victory at Kyle Field. After the game, Missouri's players said all the right things about playing at Kyle Field and the crowd, but it was a cake walk for them.
Unlike this season, the Missouri game last year was one of the very few times defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter's bunch got embarrassed. The Aggie defense has been exploited in 2011, but not flat-out pushed around. The Tigers were able to execute their spread attack and A&M had no answer in a zone or man coverage. They couldn't get any rush on Gabbert because he was getting rid of the ball so quickly and couldn't cover all five receivers effectively enough to stop the pass.
This year, things are different. I doubt Missouri will be able to do the same things to DeRuyter and Co. The Aggies are also coming in riding a bit of momentum, both offensively and defensively.
The Aggies are ranked fifth in scoring offense and Missouri is ranked sixth, but there is just as big a jump from No. 1 Oklahoma State to No. 5 (8 points) as there is between No. 5 and No. 6 (7 points). The most interesting matchup may come betwen both team's biggest strength.
Texas A&M leads the Big 12 in rushing defense with 79 yards allowed per game. Missouri leads the conference in rushing offense at 238 yards per game. If the Aggies can slow down the Tiger rushing attack, they'll have a great chance to win.
The Aggies are still having trouble through the air, ranking dead last in the conference. However, a big chunk of that came against Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, while Mizzou's passing offense isn't nearly as effective with James Franklin at the helm.
No, this one will be won in the trenches and you can be sure Mike Sherman will prepare his team by reminding them of that bad taste in their mouths after last year's game.