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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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5 takeaways from No. 24 A&M’s win over No. 13 Miami

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Photo by Ishika Samant

Senior LB Sam Mathews (24) reaches to grab the ball in Texas A&M’s game against Miami at Kyle Field on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022.

No. 24 Texas A&M football’s 17-9 victory against No. 13 Miami on Saturday, Sept. 17, got its season back on track. The win improved A&M’s record to 2-1 heading into conference play.
While not an exciting game, the Aggies did the job on both sides of the ball to defeat a talented Hurricane team. Here’s a couple of takeaways from the nighttime affair:
Rush defense needs improvement
At times, it was alarming how easy it was for the Miami offense to get yards on the ground. Sophomore running backs Henry Parrish Jr. and Jaylon Knighton combined for 164 rushing yards against the A&M defense.
In its upcoming SEC schedule, A&M faces talented rushing teams in Alabama and Arkansas. Being able to stop the run will be necessary for A&M to have a successful SEC slate.
Devon Achane is good at football
It seemed like A&M coach Jimbo Fisher’s game plan was to get junior running back Devon Achane the ball in space, and it led to some great results. Achane tallied 140 total yards and added what ended up being the deciding touchdown catch in the third quarter.
The maroon and white’s offense is dependent on Achane being great, and he was on Saturday.
Junior quarterback Max Johnson’s first touchdown as an Aggie was the aforementioned pass to Achane. Johnson said the special moment summed up how multi-talented Achane is in the backfield.
“It was a little swing pass to the right,” Johnson said. “I hit it about eight yards deep, and [Achane] ended up doing the rest, which is kind of cool. We don’t really see that a lot from a bunch of running backs, so it was kind of special. We line him up at receiver, line him up in the backfield. He kind of does it all. He’s very special.”
The 12th Man effect remained strong
After last week’s disappointing loss, it’s pretty incredible for Saturday’s game to result in the third largest crowd in the history of Kyle Field at 107,245.
The crowd was definitely a factor in Saturday’s game and contributed to a pretty underwhelming performance from sophomore quarterback Tyler Van Dyke.
Junior offensive lineman Layden Robinson said A&M was proud to get the victory in front of the 12th Man.
“It’s great to get a win in front of fans, to make the fans proud,” Robinson said. “That’s very important for us because our fans support us through dark times and good times, as you can see tonight. This stadium was packed. Thank you to the Aggie fans. Appreciate you so much for your support.”
A&M’s secondary has depth
Part of the reason why Miami was so reliant on the running game was because of its struggles in the air. A&M’s secondary, already playing without a couple of important players, lost senior defensive backs Demani Richardson and Brian George after they were ejected from targeting in the first quarter.
However, this didn’t stop A&M’s secondary from making life difficult for Van Dyke and Miami’s receivers. Van Dyke only completed 21 of 41 passes for 217 yards.
Junior defensive back Jaylon Jones said A&M found success by sticking to the game plan no matter who was in the game.
“Just bring all the guys together, you know, whoever came in,” Jones said. “We believe in everybody. Everybody’s a great player out there. So we told them boys that came in, just calm down, you know what I’m saying? Follow the execution, follow the plan. We’re going to be OK.”
Continuing this level of play will be a great asset for the Aggies as they prepare for some of the great passing offenses the SEC has to offer … like Alabama.
Solid quarterback play
Johnson showed Saturday why he should have been the quarterback to start the season. Simply put, he did the job and his performance should improve once suspended freshmen receivers Evan Stewart and Chris Marshall presumably return on Saturday, Sept. 24, against Arkansas at AT&T Stadium in Dallas.
In his first career start, Johnson completed 10 of 20 passes for 140 yards and a touchdown pass. The junior quarterback almost exclusively threw to Achane and senior wide receiver Ainias Smith, as each caught four passes.
Fisher is content with Johnson being A&M’s starting quarterback as the team enters its SEC schedule.
“I’m very confident with him,” Fisher said. “Again, [I] thought he played some really nice. I can’t [wait to] see the film. He got some pressures. He had some really good reads.”
Johnson said being constantly ready to play prepared him to go out and have success against Miami.
“I think just being ready at all times was kind of my mindset,” Johnson said. “I’ve been through the situation multiple times at LSU, whether it was starting or not playing at first and then getting my chance. I came ready to work every day, and being around those guys makes it fun.”

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