December 21, 2006

Cal In-Depth: Defense

High-powered offenses appear to be the name of the game in the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl mainly because neither defense from No. 20 California or No. 21 Texas A&M are looked upon as those that can stop the other.

Heading into the game, however, it's the Aggies that hold the defensive edge. The big stat - third-down conversions in which A&M is holding opponents to 29-percent.

If A&M can get its defense off the field, it will allow the Aggies to pound it out on the ground and chew up the clock, which has been the key to A&M's success all season.

Ranking 39th in the nation, the Aggie defense is much improved while Cal's is dismal, ranking 90th by giving up 367.67 yards per game. Against the run, which is A&M's strength, the Bears are actually solid giving up 122.3 yards per game. That number, though, could be confusing since the Pac 10 is known for its passing offenses.

And they haven't seen a rushing offense anywhere near the level of A&M's.

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