Texas A&M has somewhat of a light schedule to begin its 2007 season, compared to other teams in college football. The Aggies have not played on the road yet and will get one more game at home against Louisiana-Monroe before facing off against Miami (Fla.) on Sept. 20 at the Orange Bowl.
These games mean several things for head coach Dennis Franchione, but two stick out in his mind.
"The first thing I want to get is a win," he said. "We want to kind of find out more about our team. I think you get a feel as you go through these games, who's playing good, who's maybe up and down, who's getting better and what can you do to get people better. You just find out more things that you can hang your hat on as you go into a conference schedule."
The Aggies (2-0) will use the final two games to tune up before Big 12 play, including three road games against Texas Tech, No. 16 Nebraska and No. 3 Oklahoma within a four-week span.
The running game has been on point for the Aggies, who rank ninth in the country and first in the Big 12 with 579 yards heading into Week Three. Quarterback Stephen McGee and running backs Jorvorskie Lane and Mike Goodson accounted for 314 yards Sept. 8 in the triple-overtime win against Fresno State.
Lane had his most carries (23) since attempting 28 rushes against Missouri last season. In reference to the heat and humidity, he remembered a game from high school and what it would take to get through the extra periods.
"We were playing in The Woodlands, and it was hot and I also had the flu at the time," he said, "and my coach kept calling my number. So I kept getting it and getting it. So the only way I was getting off the field is if we scored."
—RB Jorvorskie Lane tied his career high in touchdowns with four scores against the Bulldogs Sept. 8. He last did it in 2006 against Louisiana-Lafayette. Lane had 23 carries for 123 yards and could see more touches away from the goal line in this next game.
—QB Stephen McGee had his fourth career 100-yard rushing game, when he picked up 124 yards on 16 carries last week. He is averaging 9.8 yards per carry in his first two games this season.
SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: McGee again will have the chance to work his arm and whatever passing game the Aggies actually have. He still may not throw more than 20 times in the game, but if his completions get higher, it could be a positive note for him. He is playing a defense that has given up 626 yards through the air in two games.
SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: The defense showed its flaws on third downs and big plays but made a few highlight-reel plays of its own. The Wrecking Crew held Fresno State to a field goal in the first overtime stanza and stopped the two-point conversion to secure the win.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Yeah, you'd like to have it over with earlier, but ... they came out and played a great game, you know; give that to them. They played their butts off. You know, we expected that. I think it was a good thing for us to kind of go through this, and like last year, going through those close games brought us together and this will help out down the road." — senior defensive lineman Chris Harrington on the defense's perseverance Sept. 8.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL THIS WEEK'S GAME: Louisiana-Monroe, Sept. 15 — Texas A&M gets its third-consecutive game at home against a Louisiana Monroe team that had a bit of luck last week in its contest against No. 25 Clemson. The Warhawks got within four points before Clemson blew them away and will have to pray for a brick wall to be on their defensive line to stop the Aggies' run game. They gave up 184 on the ground and more than 500 overall to the Tigers.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: QB Stephen McGee — McGee could not find a downfield receiver for the second game in a row, or almost any receiver for that matter. Apparently it doesn't make a difference, because the running game still collects more than 300 yards without a passing game to help.
RB Mike Goodson — Goodson had many touches for very few yards in his last game, touching the ball 23 times for only 69 yards. He only had two receptions in a game where he can start getting ahead of everyone in all-purpose yards.
LB Mark Dodge — His statistics don't lie, and Dodge is finally showing how good of a player he can be in that regard. After averaging only 3.9 total tackles per game in 2006, Dodge now has 30 tackles in his first two games. He has led the team in total tackles in both contests.
ROSTER REPORT: DB Jonathan Batson shifted to the CB spot after being a strong safety in 2006 and may redshirt this season because of the overall depth at the spot.
FB Nick LaMantia, a former walk-on 12th man and linebacker, saw his first action Sept. 8 at the fullback spot