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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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Aggies look to level App State in Week 2

Sophomore+DB+Jardin+Gilbert+%2820%29+intercepts+a+ball+thrown+by+Sam+Houston+State+QB+Jordan+Yates+%2813%29+during+the+Aggies+game+against+Sam+Houston+State+at+Kyle+Field+on+Saturday%2C+Sept.+3%2C+2022.
Photo by Robert O’Brien

Sophomore DB Jardin Gilbert (20) intercepts a ball thrown by Sam Houston State QB Jordan Yates (13) during the Aggies’ game against Sam Houston State at Kyle Field on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022.

It would be easy for 1-0, No. 6 Texas A&M to overlook the matchup on Saturday, Sept. 10 against 0-1 Appalachian State. However, A&M would be smart to avoid this line of thinking because App State has pulled off some incredible upsets before. Just ask the University of Michigan.

A&M is coming off a 31-0 shutout victory against Sam Houston State. Despite a three-and-a-half hour rain delay, A&M was able to put together a well-rounded performance worthy of its top-10 ranking.

Last week, App State nearly pulled off another Power-Five win against the University of North Carolina in front of the Mountaineers home fans behind a 40-point fourth quarter. A failed 2-point conversion at the end of the game gave UNC the 63-61 win. 

Statistically, redshirt senior Chase Brice led the way offensively with six touchdown passes to six different receivers. Brice ended up winning Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts. Sophomore running back Nate Noel chipped in a couple of rushing touchdowns alongside 116 rushing yards. Defensively, the Mountaineer defense gave up 567 total yards and was particularly gashed through the air.

App State coach Shawn Clark said going up against a well-balanced and talented A&M team will be a difficult task on Saturday. 

“A&M recruits at the highest level in college sports,” Clark said. “Coach [Jimbo] Fisher has done an outstanding job over the last three or four years he’s been there. They have an exceptional offense [and] defense. Schematically, they [put] you in a lot of tough situations on both [sides of the ball],”

However, Clark said the Mountaineers can’t wait to play the Aggies on national television.

“We have our work cut out for us, but our guys are excited to go down to College Station,” Clark said. “We’re on ESPN for the second week in a row, [and] our kids are looking forward to it.”

Fisher said the matchup against App State, although a non-conference opponent, should not be taken lightly.

“[App State] can play in any league,” Fisher said to 12thMan.com. “They have great players. They’ve gotten a few transfers in but have recruited well. They believe [and] have a culture there. I’m gonna tell you, this is an excellent, excellent football team that can play on all sides of the ball.”

Fending off App State’s high-powered offense, Fisher said A&M’s defense will need to stay within its schematic role to keep the play-action passing game at bay.

“[Our defense has] to be disciplined in [our] gaps,” Fisher said. “You can’t get cut off on the backside of those stretches. You’ve got to play your gaps on the front side, and you’ve got to keep great eye discipline because [App State play-actions] off of it very well. They [bootleg], they naked [bootleg, but] they’re [also a] great [shotgun] team. They get the ball down the field, and you have to respect the run, because when you get that running game going, it opens up so many different avenues of your offense.”

Sophomore defensive back Jardin Gilbert is confident A&M’s defense will be able to build off of its great week one performance.

“[Our defense] preach[es] that we are family,” Gilbert said. “We’ve got each other’s back [and] coach Durkin does a good job of making sure that we don’t forget we are a brotherhood. His schemes help us be in the right place at the right time. I think [last week was] definitely a [great] tone setter for the season.”

Kickoff at Kyle Field for Saturday’s game is set for 2:30 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN2.

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