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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

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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A fighter jet squadron flies over during the National Anthem before Texas A&M’s game against Arkansas at Olsen Field on Saturday, May 18, 2024. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
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Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

A&M defense takes on passing game of Mississippi State

Photo by Photo by Angelina Alcantar

Senior linebacker Buddy Johnson has totaled 74 total tackles so far this season.

How a team handles success is just as important as how it handles a loss.
Following its win over Florida, the Texas A&M defense is looking to capitalize on its next opportunity against Mississippi State. The Aggies are on the road this week in Starkville, Miss., but A&M’s defense is going to have to step up if it expects to continue the team’s momentum.
Against Florida, the A&M defense limited the Gators’ run game to 90 yards. However, the Aggies struggled to control Florida’s passing game that put up over 300 total yards.
Leading the way for the A&M defense is senior linebacker Buddy Johnson, who has had 30 total tackles, half of which are solo, in the past three games. He was responsible for the game-changing forced fumble against Florida, which led to A&M’s victory.
Also noteworthy is sophomore defensive end DeMarvin Leal. Leal had an interception against Alabama and has become quite the troublesome player for the opposing team’s offense with two turnovers so far.
The No. 11 Aggies just jumped 10 places in the rankings. If they want to jump even further, their defense is going to have to improve.
Leal said the defensive line is close to having a major breakthrough.
“We’re right there, we’re getting real close to having a break out as a whole,” Leal said. “Just keep coming together every week and keep focusing on what we need to focus on. Everybody watches a lot of film. The more we continue to do that, the better we get.”
Even with the Bulldogs’ losing their two most recent games, the Aggies are going to have to shut down Mississippi State’s passing offense. In this game, A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said the team will have to be ready for everything.
“[Mississippi State coach] Mike [Leach] has always thrown the football around, and he is very sneaky with how he plays the running game,” Fisher said. “You’re going to have to play disciplined, hard, tough football. You’re going to have to contain guys. Everybody is going to have to do their job.”
Offensively, Mississippi State had an amazing start to the season when it beat reigning national champion LSU by 10 points and with 623 total passing yards.
However, the Bulldogs’ offensive magic stopped there. In the following game against Arkansas, Mississippi State was favored by over 17 points following its huge upset. Yet they were unable to pull out a victory. They are also coming off of a 22-point loss to Kentucky last week.
This will be Leach’s fourth game as head coach for Mississippi State. He is famous for shaking things up with his air raid offense, and the Bulldogs have posted 1,211 total passing yards this season.
However, the Bulldogs have a total of 92 rushing yards going into their fourth game of the season.
Leach said his team is going to have to compete and improve its execution.
“We’re going to have competition at nearly every position out there because we need to get the most cohesive group,” Leach said. “I think as far as being purely competitive out there at every position, I think that’s what we need to do. I don’t think we’re seeing the field very well and I don’t think we’re catching very well or running routes very well.”
A&M’s defense is going to have to focus on shutting down senior quarterback K.J. Costello. Costello formerly played for Stanford, but he transferred due to his desire to play in a strong passing offense. So far during his first three games with Mississippi State, the shot caller has put up 1,169 passing yards.
Fisher said the Aggies need to be powerful in all aspects.
“You have to be talented, you have to be diverse,” Fisher said. “Offensively, they broke an SEC record the first week, almost 700 yards against a good LSU team.They can throw it all over [and] multiple people can catch the ball. This is a very good football team, we’re going to have to go on the road, play a complete football game.”

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