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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 face opportunity for statement win

Aggie+SEC+Postition
Photo by Photo By: Valerie Gunchick
Aggie SEC Postition

Texas A&M has the chance to make a statement and cement itself as a legitimate contender in the SEC Saturday night against Mississippi State.
Since making the move from the Big 12, the No. 14 Aggies (4-0, 1-0 SEC) have failed to beat a ranked opponent on the storied grounds of Kyle Field. They have come close multiple times, however it has not occurred since A&M took down then-No. 20 Baylor on Oct. 15, 2011, with a score of 55-28.
The No. 21 Bulldogs (3-1, 1-1 SEC), led by senior quarterback Dak Prescott, will give the Aggies all they can handle and do what they can to continue A&M’s drought against top-ranked teams. Prescott is talked about in high regard among coaches and analysts around the country, not only due to his play but also because of his strong character on and off the field.
“He’s a tough guy to tackle — you talk to our guys from the game last year, he’s strong and he’s a leader,” Sumlin said. “I think the biggest compliment you can ever give a guy is, you would want this guy on your team. He’s just a class act, when you go to media days he’s a great guy to be around and when he’s on the field he exudes confidence. He’s not going to be intimidated, he’s been on big stages.”
The A&M defensive front seven that faced an elite rushing attack a week ago will have to adjust its focus to the Bulldogs passing attack. Through the first quarter of the season, MSU’s passing yardage more than doubles that which they gained on the ground.
As for the Aggie offense, the recurring issue in the Southwest Classic was the unit’s inability to finish drives in the red zone. On two separate occasions, A&M found itself within the opposition’s 10-yard line and had to settle for field goals. Offensive coordinator Jake Spavital said in A&M’s weekly news conference that the team bettered itself in that aspect over the past couple games — however there is always much needed room for improvement.
“It’s mainly eliminating negative plays,” Spavital said. “We have a long ways to go and we have to keep learning and getting better each day, but that’s definitely an emphasis that we preach every single week to these kids about ‘We have to finish in the red zone and we need touchdowns, not field goals.’”
The Aggies will be back in front of an expected 102,733 home crowd this week. Sumlin said after enjoying their time in Arlington, the team is looking forward to running out of its own tunnel once again.
“Our guys are very attentive, very excited to be back home,” Sumlin said. “It’s going to be a great atmosphere, 6:30 game, two top-25 teams — it’s right in the wheelhouse for the 12th Man. This will be a great atmosphere Saturday night and our guys will be excited to play.”
Under the lights of Kyle Field, the Aggies will look to improve their SEC home record to 4-8 with a win over the Bulldogs and improve to 5-0 for the second consecutive season, which has not been done since 1940-41.
Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. and the game will be televised on the SEC Network.

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