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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
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Mexico fans react after Mexico F Julián Quiñones 73rd-minute goal during the MexTour match between Mexico and Brazil at Kyle Field on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M pitcher Chris Cortez (10) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against Oregon at the NCAA Bryan-College Station Super Regional at Olsen Field on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
One step away
June 8, 2024

5 players to look for during A&M-Auburn

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Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien

Freshman DB Jacoby Matthews (14) stops an Alabama run during Texas A&M’s game against the Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022, at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Despite a matchup of 3-6 teams taking place in Auburn, Ala., this weekend between Texas A&M and Auburn, there is not a shortage of talented athletes on both sidelines. The Aggies, though, have lost a lot of talent due to injuries and suspensions, which will test the team’s depth against a Tigers team that is equally desperate for a win.
Conner Weigman
It’s not a deep cut to say you need to keep your eye out for the No. 2 quarterback prospect from the high school graduating Class of 2022, but considering his start in Week 9 was somewhat of a surprise and his absence in Week 10 was a surprise too, Week 11 provides a special opportunity to see how a freshman quarterback can overcome as much adversity as Weigman is about to face.
Auburn has the second-worst scoring defense in the SEC, giving up 30.9 points per game on average, so after scoring 28 against Ole Miss, who allows roughly 20 points per game, Weigman has a chance to put up A&M’s top scoring output of the season.
Owen Pappoe
The senior linebacker for the Auburn Tigers is one of the freakiest athletes in college football. Pappoe leads Auburn in tackles and forced fumbles, but most importantly, he was listed as the No. 8 athlete on The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman’s Freaks List heading into the season. Pappoe was a five-star linebacker in the Class of 2019 and the No. 1 linebacker in his class.
Pappoe has a knack for hitting ball carriers in the run game, which is much needed in Auburn with the team being the second-worst rushing defense in the SEC — just behind A&M. With how well junior RB Devon Achane has run the ball this season, leading the SEC in all-purpose yards, Pappoe’s skills will be needed to meet Achane in the hole, or else the SEC sprinter may leave the Tigers in his dust.
Jacoby Mathews
With the Aggies’ roster being spread so thin, freshman galore have gotten their chances to shine on national television. Against Florida, junior defensive back Antonio Johnson and freshman defensive back Bryce Anderson each missed the game with an injury and the flu, respectively. Luckily for the Aggies, they had a freshman defensive back from Louisiana in the wings ready to step up in a big way.
At 6-foot-1, Mathews stepped up and played all over the defense for the Aggies, racking up game-high marks of 15 total tackles and nine solo tackles. He was also active in the passing game, getting his hands on two passes for a game-high two passes defended. Even before Anderson was ruled out for Week 10, Mathews played a career-high 94 snaps in Week 9 against Ole Miss, carving himself a role in the unit. Even with Anderson returning for Week 11 and the unknown return date of Johnson, Mathews will likely continue to be involved in a youthful A&M defense.
Tank Bigsby
Among all players in college football, I’m not sure anyone has a more fitting name than “Tank” himself. Bigsby was the No. 4 running back in the Class of 2022, but the former four-star, now a junior, has premiered as one of the nation’s toughest running backs. Bigsby has eight rushing touchdowns and 676 rushing yards while averaging 5.5 yards per carry.
Bigsby is one of the hardest running backs to tackle, and A&M coach Jimbo Fisher praised him, saying he’s kept his eye on him ever since he joined the SEC. Bigsby is not the only back they use in the running game, as the Tigers utilize freshman quarterback Robbie Ashford’s legs as well. With A&M quickly becoming one of the worst rushing defenses in the country, not just the conference, expect a lot of smash-mouth football in the Plains.
Sam Mathews
Sam is another Mathews on the defense, but he’s not quite like Jacoby. Sam embodied the meaning of the 12th Man against Florida when he was called upon to play a career-high 50 snaps for the Aggies after primarily being a special teams guy in College Station. The former walk-on played a lot of his snaps in the box and used his 6-foot-3, 210-pound frame to gain six tackles, four being solo.
Mathews may be relegated back to his previous role as a special-teamer, but he deserves the recognition for being the defense’s 12th Man when they needed one. He was an efficient tackler, and with the injuries continuing to stack up along the defense, may be called upon again to help the Aggies at Jordan-Hare.

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