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

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Aggies prepare for neutral site matchup with Colorado

The+Aggies+will+travel+to+Denver+where+they+will+take+on+the+Colorado+Buffaloes+for+the+second+game+of+the+season+on+the+20th+anniversary+of+9%2F11.%26%23160%3B
Photo by FILE

The Aggies will travel to Denver where they will take on the Colorado Buffaloes for the second game of the season on the 20th anniversary of 9/11. 

On Saturday, Sept. 11, No. 5 Texas A&M will travel to Denver for its second game of the football season. The Aggies will be taking on the Colorado Buffaloes at Empower Field at Mile High.
Empower Field at Mile High was unveiled nearly 20 years ago, one day before the 9/11 terrorist attacks. During the stadium’s opening game, Colorado head coach Karl Dorrell served as the Denver Broncos’ receivers coach.
The Buffaloes lead the all-time series between the schools, 6-3. This will be the first meeting between the former Big 12 foes since 2009, when Colorado won 35-34.
Last week, the Aggies opened the 2021 campaign against the Kent State Golden Flashes in the first full capacity game at Kyle Field in two years. After a slow start, the Aggies led a 31-7 run in the second half to earn a 41-10 victory to kick off the season.
The maroon and white dominated on the ground against the Golden Flashes. The dynamic duo of junior running back Isaiah Spiller and sophomore running back Devon Achane combined for 237 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground.
In the weekly press conference, Achane said his relationship with Spiller allows for the backs to work together to move the offense.
“Even if we’re having a bad game, we’re always with each other,” Achane said. “If I [don’t] see something, he’ll come up to me on the sideline and tell me what to do next time. Basically, we always help each other with our runs and our pass blocks.”
Despite the hot start from the backfield, Week 1 was highlighted by redshirt freshman quarterback Haynes King’s first career start. He went 21-for-33 passing, totalling 292 yards and 2 touchdowns. Dual-threat wide receiver Smith led all receivers with eight grabs for 100 yards. He was also on the receiving end of both of King’s touchdown passes.
Despite the positives from King’s debut, the freshman also threw 3 interceptions. Following the game, coach Jimbo Fisher was not phased by the mistakes and applauded the quarterback’s poise and coachability.
“[King’s composure was] outstanding,” Fisher said. “The moment was not too big at all, and he was totally in the game. If something went wrong, he could walk off of the field and tell you what went wrong and why it went wrong.”
A&M’s defense also had a strong showing to open the campaign, earning 5 sacks and 9 tackles for loss. Senior safety Leon O’Neal Jr. stole the show, snagging 2 interceptions, one of which he returned for an 85-yard touchdown.
Two defensive players on the Aggies faced indefinite suspensions following legal issues in the offseason, and one of them will be allowed to suit up on Saturday. Fisher confirmed junior defensive end Michael Clemons has been cleared, while sophomore defensive tackle McKinnley Jackson will remain suspended.
“Michael will be back this week and McKinnley will not,” Fisher said. “[Clemons returning] hopefully will help, but whether we play with them or not, we still have to get better at things that we do.”
Colorado heads into the game 1-0, with its lone win coming against Northern Colorado last week, 35-7. The Buffaloes also showed firepower on both sides of the ball in Week 1.
The Colorado offense heavily relied on its running game in Week 1, with three-fourths of its total plays staying on the ground. The Buffaloes saw rushing success, totaling 281 yards and 4 touchdowns on the ground to start the season. In contrast, freshman quarterback Brendon Lewis passed for 102 yards and a single touchdown.
The Colorado run defense also produced, holding Northern Colorado to just 20 rushing yards on 18 carries. The secondary allowed 236 yards through the air with nine receivers catching at least one pass, but only surrendered a touchdown.
If Week 1 was any indication, King needs to be ready to take over this game. With Colorado’s stout run defense, the A&M offense may struggle to create holes for Spiller and Achane. This means the offense may need to establish the passing game to create rushing opportunities down the stretch.
The Aggies’ defensive front will likely get a lot of attention, with all signs indicating the Buffaloes are going to run the ball often. With the plethora of run-heavy offenses and stingy run defenses in the Southeastern Conference, this will be a good gut check to start off the season for the Aggies.
The game is set to kick off at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 11 at Empower Field at Mile High in Denver.

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