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The Battalion

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5 players to look for in Saturday’s matchup against UMass

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Photo by Robert O’Brien

Sophomore WR Moose Muhammad III (7) is tackled during Texas A&M’s game against Ole Miss at Kyle Field on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022.

After opening the season ranked No. 6, the Texas A&M Aggies have struggled and lost six games in a row. The squad will be back at Kyle Field Saturday, Nov. 19, to take on the Massachusetts Minutemen, a 1-9 team that has also had a disappointing season.
An intense battle could ensue on the turf as both teams are desperately seeking a win. Here are players to look for in the matchup.
Moose Muhammad III — A&M
In a loss to Auburn last week, sophomore wide receiver Moose Muhammad III was noticeably missing from the action on the field. Head coach Jimbo Fisher addressed his absence after the game, noting that there was an “internal” issue that has since then been resolved making Muhammad available against UMass.
Muhammad stepped up earlier this season after senior wide receiver Ainias Smith suffered a season-ending leg injury. The talented receiver has a total of 441 receiving yards and three touchdowns so far this season.
In Week 5 at Mississippi State, he recorded his first 100-yard game with a total of 119 yards on six receptions, including an 18-yard touchdown pass.
His presence and ability to find the ball in the air could contribute to the Aggies’ offensive scheme against the Minutemen and lead to scored touchdowns.
Ellis Merriweather — UMass
Like A&M, UMass has struggled to get anything going offensively this season and has seen a series of low-scoring games.
Last week against Arkansas State the team scored a season-high 33 points. Senior running back Ellis Merriweather provided a spark for the Minutemen offense. Merriweather rushed for a season-high 122 yards on 29 carries in the loss and scored two touchdowns.
Merriweather leads the team this season with 479 rushing yards and three touchdowns. The senior could create some chaos for the Aggie defense on the ground if he is able to get going.
Amari Daniels — A&M
It is no secret that A&M has experienced consistent rotation throughout the season due to injuries, illness and suspensions.
Sophomore running back Amari Daniels has seen the field four times this season and most recently in the matchup against Auburn. Daniels helped to fill the gap at running back after junior running back Devon Achane was announced injured before kickoff.
In his first performance since the A&M nail-biting win over Arkansas in September, Daniels rushed for a career-high 83 yards on 11 carries.
With the possibility of Achane being out of the lineup again, Daniels could have another opportunity to put on a great performance against UMass and establish himself as an offensive threat for the Aggies.
Jalen Mackie — UMass
Leading the Minutemen in holding its opponents is senior linebacker Jalen Mackie. Mackie brings the heat defensively and could create quite the stir for the Aggies’ offense.
The Florida native has recorded a total of 71 tackles, 2.5 sacks and an interception. Mackie has 28 tackles of his own and has the grit to stop A&M on the ground.
Against Arkansas State, big plays were made by Mackie including a tackle for loss and six tackles of his own.
The Aggies’ offensive line will need to have an answer for Mackie and protect the pocket to prevent game-changing moments for UMass.
Conner Weigman — A&M
A&M has struggled to find consistency at the quarterback position since the start of the season.
Freshman quarterback Conner Weigman filled in nicely against the Ole Miss Rebels in October, but with offensive line troubles, has not been able to capitalize off his debut performance.
Against the Rebels, Weigman completed 28 of 44 passes for 338 yards, the most by a true freshman in program history, and four touchdowns. Although the Aggies did not get the win, it was the most consistency the Aggies had seen from a quarterback all season.
In last week’s loss to Auburn, the Aggies almost went without a touchdown in a game for the first time this season, but Weigman found senior wide receiver Jalen Preston late in the fourth quarter for a 17-yard touchdown.
Weigman could find his niche against UMass and prove that he can lead the Aggie offense to a much-needed victory.

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