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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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Aggie seniors gear up for last night at Kyle

Texas+A%26M+Football
Photo by Photo by: Morgan Engel
Texas A&M Football

In this week’s matchup between Texas A&M (6-3, 3-3 SEC) and Western Carolina (6-3, 4-2 Southern), the Aggies will have to prove that it can play for the entire 60 minutes.

“I want to see them put together a complete week,” offensive coordinator Jake Spavital said in Tuesday’s weekly news conference. “I thought the preparation was good last week, but we didn’t finish on Saturday. I want to see solid individual performances across the board. I don’t want to see seven, eight guys doing their job, I want to see all 11 guys doing their job. It comes down to finishing drives and solid individual performances.”

The Aggies turned the ball over three times last Saturday against Auburn, including two crippling interceptions that occurred in the end zone.

“Like most teams in America, when we limit turnovers and penalties, we’ve won,” head coach Kevin Sumlin said. “When we haven’t, we have not won. Turnover ratio becomes a complete team statistic as we talk about every week.”

True freshman Kyler Murray struggled in his second career start, but the coaching staff acknowledged that he gives the Aggies their best chance to win. However, he took a hit last game that forced a premature ending to his night, which could impact who A&M will start at quarterback against WCU.

“We’ll see where Kyler is from a physical standpoint,” Sumlin said. “He needs to practice because he needs the reps. If he’s ready to go, he’ll be the starter.” 

The defense had its fair share of struggles against the Tigers as well, and even though this week’s opponent might not be as talented as  the Aggies are accustomed to, defensive coordinator John Chavis said execution remains the most important.

“Our backs, right now, are against the wall,” Chavis said. “We’ve got to show improvement. That improvement has to be consistency throughout the game … I’m more worried about being consistent with the things we do.”

Leading the attack for the Catamounts against the A&M defense will be the only Texan on their roster — quarterback Troy Mitchell.

The Cypress Falls product was certainly within the radius of Texas A&M’s recruiting circle, but the Aggies chose not to go after him. On Saturday, he will return to his home state.

“We probably should’ve [recruited him], since he’s the all-time yardage guy at Western Carolina,” Sumlin said. “He’s an exciting player, averages close to 50 yards a game rushing, can throw it around.”

Mitchell is one of the most productive offensive players in FCS history, and the A&M coaching staff is doing everything in its power to ensure the Aggies do not take him and the Catamounts lightly.

“They’re going to run some zone read, pop it out on the perimeter,” Sumlin said. “Some things that gave us issues last week. So we’ll have to be disciplined in what we do. They put pressure on you in a lot of different ways.”

Saturday is also Senior Night for the Aggies, which marks the last time the current group of seniors will play a game at Kyle Field. This will be the first senior class that played all of their years in the Southeastern Conference.

“They’re a transitional class and they’re very proud of what they’re doing and how they’re doing it,” Sumlin said. “It’ll be like most senior nights but it’ll be particularly emotional for a lot of reasons, and it should, because of the special moments they’ve had at Texas A&M and that they’re still fighting to achieve.”

Kickoff on Saturday is slated for 6:00 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on ESPNU.

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