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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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5 things to look for before Missouri-A&M

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Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien

Following the win over Alabama, quarterback Zach Calzada has begun to make his mark on the program, throwing for more than 150 yards. 

Following an unexpected win against Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide, Texas A&M football looks to bring this momentum with the team on its journey to Missouri.
Here are five things to look for ahead of the game on Saturday, Oct. 16:
Offensive threats
Missouri has one of the top-ranked offenses in the nation with redshirt sophomore quarterback Connor Bazelak leading the way. Bazelak ranks fourth in the SEC in total yards passing with 1,682 yards and a 67 percent completion rate in the past six games.
The Tigers’ ground game seems to be even scarier with senior running back Tyler Badie taking most of the carries. He currently is second in the SEC in rushing yards with 675 on 104 carries. Last week against North Texas, Badie ran for 217 yards, accompanied by three total touchdowns for the Tigers.
“[Badie] is probably the least talked about great player in the country,” Missouri head coach Eli Drinkwitz said. “He is really competing hard and we really need him.”
Third time’s the charm
A&M defeated then-No. 1 Alabama after two rough losses weeks prior to the matchup. The Aggies have lost their past two matchups against Missouri as well, both by a seven-point margin.
Missouri was ranked fifth when it defeated the Aggies back in 2013 and was unranked when it beat No. 24 Aggies on its home turf in their last matchup. The Aggies’ last win against the Tigers was a 59-29 triumph at Kyle Field in 2012 with Heisman-winner Johnny Manziel at quarterback.
Confidence is key
Sophomore quarterback Zach Calzada improved significantly in his last matchup against one of the top-ranked defenses in the country. Calzada’s completion percentage increased by 7.7 percentage points from the week prior, and he threw for 150 more yards in the 41-38 win against Alabama. His quarterback ranking and passer rating in the last game are the highest they’ve been this season, at 90 and 170.5, respectively.
A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher said Calzada has done something each week to help the Aggies and to enhance his ability at quarterback.
“He is a high-character young man,” Fisher said. “He has gotten better each week he’s played, and he is learning how to play the position at quarterback.”
On the road
A&M’s last away game featured an 18-yard pass from Calzada to junior running back Isaiah Spiller for the Cuban Missile’s first collegiate touchdown and win at quarterback.
The Aggies will be going head-to-head this Saturday against Drinkwitz’s Tigers, who are currently 3-1 at home this season. The Aggies are currently 1-0 in away games and look to obtain their second conference win of the season and their second win on the road as they travel to Columbia, Mo., later in the week.
Defense regroups
After coming up with zero turnovers the last two weeks, A&M’s defense found its footing after forcing two turnovers against the Crimson Tide. Coming up with turnovers will be necessary for the maroon and white as they go up against one of the top offenses in the SEC.
The Tigers’ offense averages 37.8 points per game, 297 passing yards per game and 187 yards rushing per game. Missouri has thrown seven interceptions the past six games; however, the team has yet to fumble the ball once this season.
Similar to A&M, Missouri’s defense has been struggling the past few weeks and will have something to prove in this upcoming matchup, sophomore defensive back Antonio Johnson said.
“They have a chip on their shoulder this week just how we did last week,” Johnson said. “We have to go into this week as focused as we were going into this last week.”

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