Players to Watch: Week 12

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Ryan Tannehill, Senior Quarterback at A&M

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

Ryan Tannehill, senior Quarterback

With injuries chipping at the Texas A&M running back position, Tannehill’s arm becomes the main source of offense for the Aggies in this game. He has thrown for at least 200 yards in every game except the game against Texas Tech where he only put up 188. He has passed for almost 3,200 yards this season and has 26 touchdown passes. He had been rushing for about 55 yards a game in the middle of the season but hasn’t rushed for much of recently. After taking over the starting job last season, he had his worst offensive output of the season against Texas last season, passing for just 128 yards and a single touchdown. He will be facing one of the best defenses he has faced all season against Texas, and if he can fend off that fierce Texas pass rush and make some plays down the field, then Texas will be in trouble.

Ryan Swope, junior Wide Receiver

Swope has been Tannehill’s favorite target this season,and put up big numbers throughout the season. He is coming off his fifth 100-yard receiving game of the season, and the eighth of his career. He has 78 catches for 1,069 yards so far this season with 11 touchdowns, all which lead the team. In a game that should see a lot of passing by the Aggies, Swope will be getting a lot of attention from Tannehill, as well as the Texas defense. Shutting Swope down will be crucial for the Longhorns, and he has caught at least eight passes in each of the past four games. The Aggies have two more good receivers with Uzoma Nwachukwu and, even though he isn’t quite having the season that many expected from him, Jeff Fuller on the outside, but Swope is the most dangerous of the Aggie receivers and will need to be accounted for on every play.

Cyrus Gray, senior Running Back

With Christine Michael done for the season, the bulk of the running has been put on the heavy shoulders of Cyrus Gray. He leads the Aggies in rushing this season with 1,045 yards on 198 carries and 12 touchdowns this season. The Texas pass rush has been monstrous lately, and the Aggies will need Gray to be able to get something going on the ground in order to take some pressure off of Tannehill. Gray has eclipsed 1yards five times this season, including rushing for more than 200 in the loss to Kansas State. He lit Texas up last season to the tune of 223 yards last season with touchdown runs of 48 and 84 yards. The best case scenario for Texas A&M would be to have a balanced attack with Gray picking up chunks on the ground, giving Tannehill an easier time to throw. This, of course, all contingent on whether or not he will be healthy enough to play. He is nursing a day-to-day shoulder injury that could keep him off the field. If the Aggies are one dimensional, it will be a long day on the offensive side of the ball for them, if not, then Texas is in a lot of trouble.