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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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9-3: Still within reach

Photo by Photo by: Kathryn Perez

Armani Watts is the backbone for the offense.

The 2015 season has been filled with turmoil and doubts, but a 9-3 season is still within reach as the Aggies hit the road for their final two games of the regular season. 

First on the list is a trip to Nashville to take on Vanderbilt (4-6, 2-4 SEC) at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Despite a losing record, the Commodores boast a defense that is statistically one of the nation’s best.

A&M offensive coordinator Jake Spavital said after studying Vanderbilt’s game film, he was very impressed with what he has seen. 

“Watching the tape and the energy and the effort that these kids play for Vanderbilt is pretty impressive,” Spavital said. “You’ve got to give them a lot of credit for where they stand. They do a great job in terms of playing sound defense and putting their team in a position to win each week.”

A key aspect of every defense is having the ability to get off of the field on third down and Vandy is among the top-5 in the nation in that category. Out of 144 total attempts on third down, the Commodores have allowed their opponent to convert on 36 of them, or just 25 percent of the time. The Aggies (7-3, 3-3 SEC) have been able to convert on 46 percent of their third-down tries this season.

The Aggie offense was without two of its starting wide receivers last week, Josh Reynolds and Speedy Noil, due to suspensions sustained from a violation of team rules. The cause for the suspensions have not been released, however Sumlin did announce both have returned to practice and will play this Saturday. 

Although Reynolds and Noil didn’t see the field on senior night at Kyle Field, the Aggies once again saw two different quarterbacks under center — Kyler Murray and Kyle Allen. Murray had a good outing, completing 56 percent of his passes for three touchdowns. However, his performance may have been overshadowed by Allen, who entered the game and finished a perfect 6-for-6 through the air with one scoring toss. 

Coach Kevin Sumlin said early in the week that he is looking for consistency in the quarterback position.

“All of [our quarterbacks] have played, some have had good moments and some have had some not so good moments,” Sumlin said.

The Aggies will take to the road Saturday for the first of two SEC road games to finish up the regular season. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville and the game will be broadcast on SEC Network. Saturday will be the 28th-straight A&M game that has been nationally televised, which is a school record. 

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