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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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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

5 things to watch for during A&M-Florida

Senior+quarterback+Kellen+Mond+is+at+7%2C886+career+passing+yards%2C+126+shy+of+setting+Texas+A%26amp%3BM%26%238217%3Bs+new+passing+yards+record.
Photo by Meredith Seaver

Senior quarterback Kellen Mond is at 7,886 career passing yards, 126 shy of setting Texas A&M’s new passing yards record.

Following a close season-opening win over Vanderbilt and loss to Alabama last week, Texas A&M fans are anxious for the Aggies to have a breakthrough on both sides of the ball. Though not impossible, dominating No. 4 Florida this week will be no easy task. Here are five things to keep in mind as No. 21 A&M hosts the Gators at Kyle Field on Saturday:
1. Kyle Trask
Florida has a reliable playmaker in senior quarterback Kyle Trask. Trask is a native Texan from a family of Aggies, even claiming to be named after Kyle Field. Under Florida coach Dan Mullen, commonly referred to as the “quarterback whisperer,” Trask posted almost 3,000 passing yards and 25 touchdowns last season and is widely credited for changing the trajectory of Florida’s football program. Applying pressure to the Heisman-hopeful will be imperative to crippling the Gators’ offense and keeping A&M in the game.
2. A&M’s pass defense
A&M’s secondary struggled last week against Alabama’s elite offense. Cornerbacks Myles Jones and Jaylon Jones, as well as safeties Leon O’Neal Jr., Demani Richardson and Keldrick Carper will be put to the test again this week against the Gators’ strong passing game. Whether A&M’s defensive backs continue to be outrun or miss assignments will be a determining factor in Florida’s ability to score quickly and conveniently. The Aggies must create interference and apply pressure to put up a worthwhile fight.
3. Florida’s offensive weapon
Kyle Pitts is one of the best tight ends in college football right now. Florida’s offense has an incredibly dangerous weapon in the 6-foot-6 junior routinely used as a means of driving downfield. Pitts is a continuous target in the Gators’ passing game due to his vertical ability and versatility. With 54 receptions for 649 yards and five touchdowns last season and two receiving touchdowns last week against the Gamecocks, Pitts has proved to be difficult to contain and will be a daunting matchup for the A&M defense.
4. Record within reach
A&M senior quarterback Kellen Mond is 125 passing yards shy of being A&M’s all-time leader in career passing yards as he enters this week’s game with 7,886. The veteran offensive leader is having to build chemistry with young wide receivers, as his prior go-to receivers, Jhamon Ausbon and Camron Buckley, are not suiting up this season. Sophomores Ainias Smith, Jalen Wydermeyer and freshman Chase Lane are among those stepping up as playmakers and currently lead the team in receiving yards.
5. The red zone
Florida has proven to be consistent in the red zone with a perfect success rate this season. With seven of the 11 successful attempts being passing touchdowns, A&M’s defense will have to be mentally and physically present in order to defend against Florida’s strategic offense, currently ranked No. 13. While the Gators have shown a steady performance when in scoring position, A&M will be their toughest opponent thus far and could shut down the national championship contenders near the goal line.
 

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