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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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June 16, 2024

A look ahead: Aggie football prepares for a strong finish

Texas+A%26M+football
Photo by Photo by: Kathryn Perez
Texas A&M football

The last time the Aggies and Commodores faced off, Texas A&M handled its visiting conference foe with ease, accumulating over 550 yards of total offense en route to a 32-point victory. This weekend in Nashville, the Aggies will be up against a very different team than the one they hosted in 2013. Here are four things to look for during Saturday’s game.

1. This game won’t be a cakewalk

Playing any SEC opponent promises to be a physical affair, and Vanderbilt is no exception. Led by a stout defense and efficient quarterback play from freshman quarterback Kyle Shurmur, the Commodores beat a talented Kentucky team 21-17 in Nashville last weekend. Vanderbilt forced Kentucky quarterback Patrick Towles into a tough day through the air, where he gathered just 67 passing yards. 

Vanderbilt isn’t going to blow you away with exotic schemes or constant offensive scoring, but they will be true to what they do well — running the football and playing defense. Led by sophomore Ralph Webb with 924 rushing yards on the season, the Commodores will attempt to exploit what has been an inconsistent A&M run defense. If the Aggies take the Commodores lightly, they’re going to have a tough time in Nashville.

2. Murray might have his first start on the road 

Since Kyler Murray took over the starting job from Kyle Allen three weeks ago, Murray has enjoyed the friendly confines of Kyle Field and the 12th Man for support. On the road, Kyler is going to need to be careful with the football in order to keep the crowd out of the game. If Murray happens to be named the starter following this week’s competition, it will be the first road start of his young career. Although Vanderbilt isn’t known for a robust home field advantage, it will be interesting to see how Murray plays away from Kyle Field come Saturday. 

3. Big plays must be limited 

With starters A.J. Hilliard and Justin Evans sitting out the game against Western Carolina last week, the defense gave up some chunk plays on the ground against the Catamounts. Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason will be looking to help out their young quarterback with some big plays on the ground and A&M needs to be ready to stop it.

4. A healthy dose of Tra Carson

The senior has been the workhorse running back the last two games, surpassing 100 yards in each game. Carson getting the ball in the running game and going downhill should be a nice help to ease Kyler Murray into his first road start. Effective running from Carson could help open throwing lanes for Murray to find any one of his receivers on the outside.

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