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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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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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Aggies prepare to face Arkansas in Arlington

Arkansas+Preview
Photo by Photo by Cassie Stricker
Arkansas Preview

The Southwest Classic has a completely different feel this year.
Texas A&M and Arkansas are led by new head coaches with contrasting pedigrees. Arkansas head coach Chad Morris, an A&M graduate who was head coach at SMU from 2015 to 2017, took over the Arkansas program before bowl season last year. Morris took the Mustangs from a 2-10 record to 7-5 in just three seasons.
However, Morris seems to be starting on an all-too-familiar note. Arkansas has started 1-3 (0-1 SEC), which includes scathing losses to North Texas and Auburn.
The quarterback situation in Fayetteville has been the most notable problem. Morris went with sophomore quarterback Cole Kelley to start the season, but after Kelley threw four picks in their 44-17 loss to North Texas, junior quarterback Ty Storey was promoted to starter. Storey and Kelley have a combined six touchdown passes and seven interceptions this season.
Along with current quarterback struggles, Arkansas’ offensive line has not been doing Kelley and Storey any favors. Left guard Hjalte Froholdt is the only anchor in their trenches, while as a unit, the line is struggling in pass protection. The Razorbacks rank 97th overall in total offense this season.
The Aggies come into Saturday as the overwhelming favorite, and will look to extend their current winning streak against Arkansas to seven. Offensively, A&M has seen significant progress in the past month. Starting sophomore quarterback Kellen Mond is one of three Power 5 quarterbacks with seven passing touchdowns and four rushing touchdowns this season.
“I have a lot of confidence in this offense,” Mond said. “When you have a lot of confidence in the guys around you, it kind of brings you up and makes you play a lot better.”
The offensive line will have to be strong up front once again for Mond and running back Trayveon Williams, as Arkansas is the top-ranked rush defense in the SEC. Arkansas’ defensive front are only allowing 88.3 yards per game on the ground, after holding No. 10 Auburn to 91 yards rushing last week. The Hogs are great at clogging up gaps in the offensive line, and will look to move up to the next level if the ball carrier is still in the backfield.
What Arkansas achieves on the defensive front, it gives up in the secondary. Arkansas has allowed 1,082 passing yards this year, putting them at 104th in the nation. Receivers Kendrick Rogers, Jhamon Ausbon and Quartney Davis will be the main targets who can get downfield quickly for the best look possible this weekend.
“I feel like every guy in our receiving corps can be the [best receiver], honestly,” Davis said. “I feel that any one of us can do that this game.”
The Aggies will take on the Razorbacks Sept. 29 at 11 a.m at AT&T stadium. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN.

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