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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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Aggies’ offensive struggles continue versus Ole Miss

Photo by via @12thmanPR Twitter

Freshman Demond Demas recorded a total of five receptions in the Saturday, Nov. 13 game against the Ole Miss Rebels, marking a career-high for the receiver. 

Although Texas A&M football’s defense has taken the spotlight, it has taken eyes off of a problem that was made apparent when the Aggies took on Ole Miss.

The Saturday, Nov. 13, matchup against the Rebels brought an end to the Aggies’ four-game winning streak, which continued an unfortunate trend that began on Saturday, Nov. 6, versus Auburn — the A&M’s offensive ineffectiveness.

The maroon and white took down the Tigers by a score of 20-3, albeit thanks to four field goals by senior place-kicker Seth Small and a 24-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown by graduate defensive lineman Michael Clemons. A&M’s most recent game was a different story, though, as the Aggies fell to Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin and his Rebels, 29-19. 

To be fair, sophomore running back Devon Achane rushed for two touchdowns while picking up 110 yards on the ground. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Zach Calzada threw for 237 yards, but had two interceptions and no passing touchdowns. 

“Offensively in the first half, we had missed assignments and didn’t play with enough poise,” A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher said. “We’re moving [the ball] good. We kept getting to midfield, we just couldn’t get it through there.”

Before Achane’s touchdown in the third quarter, the Aggies’ offense had failed to score in the past seven quarters, dating back to the fourth quarter of their Oct. 23 matchup against South Carolina. In its three games before facing Auburn —Alabama, Missouri and South Carolina — A&M averaged 40 points each game, even against an Alabama team now boasting the fifth-best defense in the country. Auburn and Ole Miss, both Top 25 teams, have allowed 22.1 and 26.2 points per game, respectively.

A noticeable trend in the past two games is the Aggies have shown they can move the ball downfield, but have failed to accrue the points to show for it. After all, the running back duo of Achane and junior Isaiah Spiller combined for 220 yards versus Auburn. Against the Rebels, Achane led the offense.Additionally, three receivers — junior Ainias Smith, junior Jalen Wydermyer and freshman Demond Demas — each tallied five receptions. 

Sophomore defensive back Antonio Johnson said he was pleased with the determination and grit the Aggies showed, but he also said they needed to finish the game off strong in order to get the victory.

“In big games like this, you can not expect to make little mistakes and then prepare to come out with a win,” Johnson said. “I feel like as a team we gave it our all, we showed great effort and great heart. We just have to finish our season off harder.”

Now sitting at 7-3 with contests against FCS opponent Prairie View A&M and LSU to close out the season, the Aggies must figure out how to capitalize on the opportunities presented to them. Nov. 20’s matchup against the Panthers will be a great time to do just that.

Make no mistake, Prairie View A&M is a solid team. The Panthers sit at the top of the West division of the Southwestern Athletic Conference with a 7-2 record, coming off a 29-31 loss to Alcorn State. But this is the Southeastern Conference, and SEC teams, especially those ranked in the Top 25, simply don’t lose to FCS schools. Meanwhile, the LSU defense has allowed an average of 26.6 points per game.

Junior offensive lineman Kenyon Green said the team can’t dwell on the loss and instead needs to put their attention on preparing to face the Panthers.

“We need to get focused,” Green said. “We’ve got Prairie View next week. They’re the No. 1 team in the SWAC, so it’s still going to be a good game.”

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