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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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One step away
June 8, 2024

A&M defense closes out regular season against tough Tiger offense

Defensive+lineman+DeMarvin+Leal+moves+past+the+South+Carolina+offensive+line+towards+quarterback+Dakereon+Joyner.
Photo by Photo by Meredith Seaver

Defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal moves past the South Carolina offensive line towards quarterback Dakereon Joyner.

Against the 33rd-ranked rushing offense, the Texas A&M defense kept the Georgia running attack in check on Saturday, holding the Bulldogs to a season-low 97 rushing yards.
They also limited scoring opportunities for Georgia, only surrendering 19 points total, holding the Bulldogs to two field goals in the second half.
A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said his defense remained physical on defense throughout the game.
“I thought we were very physical up front and really disrupted the run game,” Fisher said. “We played the pass pretty well, and pressured the passer at times very well.”
Against Georgia, the A&M pass defense frustrated quarterback Jake Fromm for most of the afternoon. Fromm completed less than 50 percent of his passes for the third consecutive game, and was sacked twice.
A&M junior linebacker Buddy Johnson said the Aggies’ defensive success came down to executing the game plan.
“I think the defense is playing really well, and is on the same page,” Johnson said. “That’s because we’re communicating and staying locked in on our assignments and executing.”
The Aggies have held their last three opponents to under 100 yards rushing, including 45 rushing yards to South Carolina and a season-low for Georgia. Fisher praised the defense for being able to keep the team competitive in games.
“I love the way we’re competing in games,” Fisher said. “I think defensively we’ve played much better in stopping the run on defense. We’ve gotten more efficient all throughout all phases of the game. Sometimes it doesn’t always show in wins and losses, but I think it is.”
A&M will close out their season facing their strongest offensive opponent of the season in No. 1 LSU. Unlike Georgia’s methodical run-heavy attack, the Tigers have built themselves into a powerhouse this season thanks to a fast-paced passing offense. The LSU passing offense is ranked second nationally in passing yards, averaging 387 yards through the air, and is tied for second in scoring offense, averaging 48.5 points per game.
Leading the way for LSU on offense is Heisman frontrunner Joe Burrow. This season, Burrow has thrown for 4,014 yards and 41 touchdown passes while completing over 78 percent of his passes. With Burrow under center, the Tigers have made an offense that has dominated their defensive opponents, throwing for 300 yards against top 30 passing defenses in Auburn and Alabama.
Fisher said he is impressed with Burrow’s improved performance this season.
“Burrow’s a heck of a player,” Fisher said. “He’s playing as good as any quarterback in a long time. I mean, 78 percent completion percentage? That’s amazing.”
Catching passes from Burrow is one of the best receiver tandems in the SEC in juniors Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson. Chase leads the nation in receiving touchdowns and receiving yards per game, while Jefferson is in the top 10 in both receptions and touchdowns on the season.
“[LSU’s] receiving corps, from watching the tape, they make plays,” junior defensive back Keldrick Carper said. “They’re dynamic, and have fun when they play. They’re a good group.”
LSU also possesses a dynamic tailback in Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Edwards-Helaire is second in the SEC in rushing yards, totaling 1,146 yards on the ground, while leading the SEC in rushing touchdowns with 15. He is also a presence in the passing game, catching 39 receptions for 289 yards and a touchdown this season, including nine receptions for 77 yards against Alabama.
“They have an excellent back who can run and catch the ball,” Fisher said. “You say, ‘Does he run it better or does he catch it better?’ Yes.”
Kickoff between A&M and LSU is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.

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