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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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One step away
June 8, 2024

Aggies bring on the firsts: New opponent and (almost new)

Stepping onto the newly renovated, 106,000-seating capacity Kyle Field for the first time, No. 9 Texas A&M will welcome Lamar for its first home game of the season Saturday after a 52-28 road upset over the South Carolina Gamecocks.
“It’s going to be a test for us,” said A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin. “They put up a bunch of points. They’ve got some talented players on the perimeter. What’s interesting in this game is that a lot of our players know each other. They’re anxious to prove that they belong. They’ll be as excited to be in this new stadium as we are. They’re going to be playing with a chip on their shoulder.”
The Aggies will face Lamar for the first time, marking the third consecutive game A&M will play against a team it had never played against, dating back to the Chick-Fil-A Bowl Duke. A&M sophomore quarterback Kenny Hill will look to continue his success after garnering SEC Co-Offensive Player of the Week honors after his school-record 511 passing yards against the Gamecocks.
“Kenny, for that magnitude of a game and being his first career start, he played exceptionally well,” said Jake Spavital, A&M offensive coordinator. “There were 12 plays I thought out of the 99 I graded him down on, but overall he rose to the occasion and played pretty well.”
The Cardinals come to College Station after opening the season with a 42-27 victory over Grambling State. Lamar senior quarterback Caleb Berry went 27-45 with 389 yards and five touchdowns in the win, but also threw a pair of interceptions.
“They like to throw the ball around the yard a little bit and they’ve got a good running game,” said Mark Snyder, A&M defensive coordinator. “[They have] a senior quarterback who’s been there for a while, and they run a little bit of up-tempo.”
After holding South Carolina to just 67 yards rushing, Snyder said he was pleased with his group’s effort in game one. However, A&M gave up 366 passing yards, and the focus of the coaching staff is self-improvement, regardless of Saturday’s opponent.
“We worry about us, we have to keep getting better,” Snyder said. “If we want to be where we want to be, you have to get better. It’s not about who we’re playing, it’s about us. We try to stick with that motto, ‘Let’s take care of us.’”
While the Aggie offense had a record-setting performance in its first outing, Spavital is wary of taking any opponent lightly.
“They play a three-down front, it’s a pretty good scheme,” Spavital said. “They’re able to move in and out of different looks and they can disguise things pretty good. Over the past two years, they’ve led their conference in pass defense. They held Grambling under 300 yards last week, so it’s a really good scheme and a team that we can’t take lightly.”
A record-breaking attendance is anticipated for A&M’s home opener and the coaches and players are eager to step onto the field and experience an even louder 12th Man.
“When we’re on defense, hopefully there’s 100,000 plus going crazy, crazy loud,” Snyder said. “That’s really going to create some problems for offenses. [I’m] looking forward to it. We all are. The kids and myself.”
Kickoff against the Cardinals is 6:30 p.m. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.

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