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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 infielder Ali Camarillo (2) thros to first during Texas A&M’s game against Louisiana at the NCAA Bryan-College Station Regional Final at Olsen Field on Sunday, June 2, 2024. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
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Chancellor John Sharp during a Board of Regents meeting discussing the appointmet of interim dean Mark Welsh and discussion of a McElroy settlement on Sunday, July 30, 2023 in the Memorial Student Center.
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Aggies ride defensive wave to 17-9 win over Hurricanes

Junior+RB+Devon+Achane+%286%29+stiff+arms+Miami+DB+James+Williams+%280%29+during+Texas+A%26amp%3BMs+game+against+Miami+at+Kyle+Field+on+Saturday%2C+Sept.+18%2C+2022.
Photo by Photo by Ishika Samant

Junior RB Devon Achane (6) stiff arms Miami DB James Williams (0) during Texas A&M’s game against Miami at Kyle Field on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2022.

“It’s freakin’ awesome.”
For junior quarterback Max Johnson, the answer was simple when asked how it felt to return to the gridiron after being named Texas A&M’s starting quarterback earlier this week.
After a win over a top-15-ranked program, the feeling is likely mutual for the 12th Man.
“I love playing with these guys,” Johnson said. “Going to practice every day, coming out here [and] getting a win over a top 15 team is pretty incredible. Shoutout to the [offensive] line and to the defense for playing great tonight.”
The No. 24 Texas A&M football team returned to the win column with a low-scoring, gritty 17-9 victory over No. 13 Miami on Saturday, Sept. 17 at Kyle Field. After a 17-14 upset loss to Appalachian State the week prior, the maroon and white needed a win more than just about anyone in the country in order to keep their train from derailing a week before SEC play begins.
“Block out all the clutter, move on,” coach Jimbo Fisher said in regards to how the team rebounded from the loss. “Go to the next play, go the next day. Don’t listen to anybody. Move on. Control what happens to you and live in your own little cubby hole, live in your own world and block everything out.”
Taking over the reins from sophomore quarterback Haynes King, Johnson had a solid debut as the Aggies’ signal-caller, completing 10 of 20 pass attempts for 140 yards and a touchdown while adding 23 yards on the ground. The LSU transfer was supplemented by junior running back Devon Achane, who carried his offensive momentum over from the previous game, tallying 88 yards on the ground with 42 receiving yards and a touchdown reception.
“I think just being ready at all times was kind of my mindset,” Johnson said. “I’ve been through the situation multiple times at LSU, whether it was starting or not playing at first and then getting my chance. I came ready to work every day, and being around those guys makes it fun.”
Coincidentally, Johnson’s debut comes nearly a year after sinking a dagger into the hearts of A&M fans on Nov. 27, 2021 when he tossed a game-winning 28-yard touchdown pass to take down the Aggies 27-24 in what would be their final game of the season.
“I’m super blessed to be here,” Johnson said. “I enjoyed my time at LSU, but that time is gone. I love playing with these guys, and the main part was it was just a business decision. And I wanted to be surrounded by great players and a chance to win, and A&M is the best place to be.”
Both teams’ defenses stood tall in the matchup, with the Hurricanes allowing just 264 total yards and two trips to the red zone for the maroon and white, while A&M limited the “U” to five of 14 on third-down conversions with eight pass breakups and six quarterback hurries. Both teams averaged 5.1 yards a play.
The Aggies struck the scoreboard on their first possession, their first opening-drive score of the young season. After a promising start with three of the first four plays from scrimmage going for 13 yards or more, the drive stalled and A&M settled for a 26-yard field goal from sophomore kicker Randy Bond.
Bond appears to be the team’s new starting kicker for the time being after junior kicker Caden Davis began the season going 1-for-3 on field goal attempts through two games. Davis missed a potential game-tying 47-yard field goal in a 17-14 loss to Appalachian State last week.
The Hurricanes responded accordingly, as sophomore kicker Andres Borregales chipped in a 28-yard field goal to cap a drive prolonged by an A&M pass interference call on third-and-1. Miami then forced a three-and-out on the Aggies’ next drive, only for senior defensive back Demani Richardson to force a fumble on the Hurricanes’ punt return attempt as senior linebacker Chris Russell Jr. swooped in for the recovery at the Miami 28-yard line.
The Aggies wasted little time reaching paydirt, as Achane followed up an initial 3-yard rush with a 22-yard burst to the 3-yard line, which was extended to the 1-yard line after a facemask penalty. Freshman running back L.J. Johnson Jr. then plunged into the end zone for his first career score, putting A&M on top, 10-3, with 3:30 remaining in the first quarter.
The Aggies’ defense took a hit on the following drive as senior defensive back Brian George was disqualified for targeting on the next play from scrimmage. The Hurricanes marched to the A&M 31-yard line but missed a 49-yard field goal, preserving a touchdown lead for A&M.
The Aggies’ penalty woes continued as Richardson was also ejected following a controversial targeting call just before the end of the first quarter. Despite the two losses to the secondary, the A&M defense remained strong in the second quarter, highlighted by freshman defensive lineman Albert Regis blocking a 36-yard field goal attempt by Miami.
“He played really good,” coach Jimbo Fisher said of Regis. “Albert has been playing really good football for us for a while. I love the kid. He’s a hard-working, genuine, really good kid and [he’s] got a great future.”
The Aggies bolstered their lead on the opening drive of the second half with a series of productive plays from their usual suspects. Max Johnson began the drive with an 11-yard scamper before completing a 25-yard pass to senior wide receiver Ainias Smith, with an additional 15 yards tacked on due to an unnecessary roughness penalty. Two plays later, the quarterback connected with Achane on a wheel route and the speedster did the rest, dodging multiple tacklers for a 25-yard score to make it a 17-3 ballgame.
A&M was held silent offensively for the remainder of the game, but the defense limited the Hurricanes to just two more field goals to complete the win and send the 107,245 fans in attendance, good for third-most in Kyle Field history, home happy.
Or maybe more so relieved.
The Aggies’ final tune-up before conference play begins also marked the first appearance of the season for multiple A&M starters, including sophomore center Bryce Foster, junior defensive back Jaylon Jones and senior tight end Max Wright. On the other hand, A&M was without four freshmen who were suspended hours before the game for a violation of team rules.
Now a quarter of the way through the season, the Aggies prepare for SEC action, commencing with the 79th meeting of the Southwest Classic between A&M and Arkansas. The 2022 edition will be played on Saturday, Sept. 24 at 6 p.m. at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
“It’s a great feeling, but at the end of the day, we can’t get too high on ourselves,” junior offensive lineman Layden Robinson said. “We’ve still got another game to play and that’s the Arkansas Razorbacks. My mind is there right now.”

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About the Contributor
Luke White
Luke White, Sports Editor
Luke White is a senior telecommunication media studies major and sport management minor from Round Rock, Texas. He has served as head sports editor since May 2023.
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