2011 AT&T Cotton Bowl Preview
The #11 LSU Tigers and #17 Texas A&M Aggies will square off in the AT&T Cotton Bowl on Friday, January 7th. LSU enters the game with a record of 6-2 in SEC play and an overall record of 10-2. LSU’s losses came against two teams that will be playing in BCS games, Auburn and Arkansas. Texas A&M comes into the Cotton Bowl with a record of 6-2 in the Big 12 and an overall record of 9-3. The Aggies lost games to Oklahoma State, Arkansas, and Missouri in consecutive weeks. Texas A&M finished the season strong with 6 straight wins including wins against Oklahoma and Nebraska. The AT&T Cotton Bowl is the only game of the bowl season featuring a team from the SEC against a team from the Big 12.
When Texas A&M has the Ball
The Aggies used a balanced offensive attack this season on their way to an average of 31.8 points per game. Texas A&M made a change at quarterback after starting the season 3-3 and Ryan Tannehill stepped up to the challenge. Tannehill threw for 1434 yards and 11 touchdowns while leading the Aggies to 6 straight wins to close out the season. Wide receivers Jeff Fuller (65 catches, 983 yards) and Ryan Swope (67 catches, 780 yards) are Tannehill’s top targets. When the Aggies run the ball, Cyrus Gray gets most of the carries. Gray went over 100 yards in each of the last 6 games and finished the year with 1033 yards and 14 touchdowns.
The LSU Tigers played stingy defense all season. LSU ranked 10th in the nation in scoring defense giving up only 17.8 points per game. The Tigers had 32 sacks and 16 interceptions as a team this year. All American Patrick Peterson and fellow corner Morris Claiborne have the ability to shut down opposing wide receivers in one on one coverage.
When LSU has the Ball
LSU’s offense was solid this year but not very explosive. The Tigers rank 51st in the nation in scoring at 28.8 points per game. Quarterback Jordan Jefferson did not play up to his expectations this season completing less than 60% of his passes and throwing only 4 touchdowns with 9 interceptions. Jarrett Lee also took snaps at quarterback this season in 10 of the 12 games, but he was also ineffective. Behind Jefferson and Lee the Tigers passing offense ranked 107th in the country at 155.4 yards per game. Junior running back Stevan Riddley had a good year for LSU with 1042 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Texas A&M played well on defense this season giving up only 20.3 points per game. The Aggies are led on defense by linebacker Von Miller. The senior led the Big 12 in sacks with 9 1/2 and was the defensive captain for the Aggies. As a team Texas A&M had 28 sacks and 15 interceptions.
2011 Cotton Bowl Betting Lines and Prediction
The LSU Tigers are currently favored to win by 1 point and the over/under is set at 49 points. I like the Tigers defense a lot and I think they win the Cotton Bowl by a field goal, so I will take the Tigers and give the point. Both teams have solid defenses and I expect a hard fought, physical football game. With the talent on both defenses I am confidently putting my money on the under in this game.
Prediction: LSU 20 – Texas A&M 17